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Annobón (or Annabon or Anabon; from Ano bom Portuguese for Good Year) is an island south of São Tomé Island (São Tomé and Príncipe), in the Gulf of Guinea, 1°24′S 5°35′E, belonging to Equatorial Guinea. It is 110 miles southwest of St Thomas. Its length is about 4 miles, its breadth 2, and its area 6-¾ square miles. The island is an extinct volcano of which just the 650 metre peak rises above sea level. It presents a succession of beautiful valleys and steep mountains, covered with rich woods and luxuriant vegetation. It has a central crater lake and has a population of around 2,500 people. The island's main industries are fishing and timber.

The island constitutes the small Annobón Province, its capital the northern village of San Antonio de Palé, the island's other main settlement being the similarly-named San Antonio. The roadstead is tolerably safe, and passing vessels take advantage of it in order to obtain water and fresh provisions, of which Annobon contains an abundant supply. However, there is no regular shipping service with the rest of Equatorial Guinea; ships may only come evry few months.

Image:Annobón Bioko.PNG
Detailed map of Annobón (left)


[edit] History

The island was discovered by the Portuguese on January 1, 1473, from which circumstance it received its name. Apparently uninhabited until colonised by the Portuguese in 1474, primarily by Africans from Angola via São Tomé Island. The island was passed with Fernando Po and the Guinea coast (modern Equatorial Guinea) to Spain in 1778, as part of an exchange where Portugal received Uruguay. Spain wished to acquire territory in Africa, while Portugal wished to further enlarge the territory that they saw as the "New Portugal" (Brazil). Nevertheless, the populace of Ano Bom was against the shift and was hostile toward the Spaniards.

The islanders revolted against their new masters and a state of anarchy ensued, leading, it is averred, to an arrangement by which the island was administered by a body of five natives, each of whom held the office of governor during the period that elapsed till ten ships touched at the island. In the latter part of the 19th century the authority of Spain was re-established. Today, Spanish is the official language, and its inhabitants are of mixed Portuguese, Spanish, and Angolan descent.

Nevertheless, the early anti-Spanish sentiment combined with the isolation of mainland Equatorial Guinea and the proximity of São Tomé and Príncipe — just 400 km from the island — has helped preserve the island's cultural ties with Portugal.

The island briefly became part of the Elobey, Annobón, and Corisco colony until 1909.

During the final years of the reign of Francisco Macías Nguema, the island was called Pigalu or Pagalu, which is the name by which it is know in Portuguese.

[edit] Language

The island's main language is the Annobonese language (Fá d'Ambô), a Portuguese creole.

[edit] Oil reserves

Annobon represents strategic importance to Equatorial Guinea. The existence of Annobon allows the Equaotguinean government to lay claim to extensive maritime boundaries beneath its southernly neighbour, São Tomé and Príncipe. Oil in the Gulf of Guinea represents more than 80% of Equatorial Guinea's economy, and supplies from current reserves are predicted by some sources to run out in just ten years. Although no drilling currently takes place in São Tomé, there are estimated to be 34,000,000,000 barrels of oil within the marine borders. Equatorial Guinea has claimed drilling rights to a huge field of sea surrounding Annobón that stretches from 1°N to almost 5°S, and from 2°E to 7°E; an area larger than the entire land and sea borders of the rest of Equatorial Guinea.

[edit] Waste dumping

In the german Edition of DER SPIEGEL from the 28th of August 2006 it is claimed that the regime of Equatorial Guinea uses the island of Annobón to bury radioactive trash.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Provinces of Equatorial Guinea
Image:Flag of Equatorial Guinea.svg
Annobón | Bioko Norte | Bioko Sur | Centro Sur | Kié-Ntem | Litoral | Wele-Nzas

et:Annobón es:Annobón nl:Annobon ja:アンノボン島 pl:Pagalu pt:Ano Bom fi:Annobón


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