General issues: Spanish Equatorial Region, province 1960-1963, Spanish Equatorial Guinea, province 1963-1968
Country name on general issues: Rio Muni
Currency: 1 Peseta = 100 Centimos 1960-1968
Population: 183 000 in 1960
Political history Rio Muni
Rio Muni is located on the Gulf of Guinea in central Africa. The indigenous people are the Fang – a Bantu people who also live in neighboring Cameroon and Gabon. Rio Muni is a territory claimed by and awarded to Spain at the Berlin conference in 1885 where the colonial powers divided their respective spheres of interest in Africa. Extended negotiations with the French led to finalization of the borders in 1900, upon which the territory became the colony of Spanish Guinea. Spanish Guinea was brought under effective Spanish control in the first part of the 20th century – a process that would take until 1926. As Spanish colonial administration was more and more established, the colony was also developed economically, mainly through the setup of cocoa plantations.
In 1909, Spanish Guinea becomes part of the Spanish Territories in the Gulf of Guinea, together with the colonies of Fernando Poo and Elobey, Annobón & Corisco, that the Spanish have established in the Gulf of Guinea. In 1926, the separate colonies are de jure integrated into one colony also called Spanish Guinea.
The call for independence in the 1950’s, leads to a series of rapid changes in the administration of the Spanish possessions in the Gulf of Guinea. In 1956, Spanish Guinea gains the status of a province as the Spanish Gulf of Guinea province. In 1959, the Spanish Equatorial Region is formed, now split up in two provinces: Fernando Poo and Rio Muni. In 1963, self government is gained as Spanish Equatorial Guinea – still consisting of the two provinces of Fernando Poo and Rio Muni. Finally, in 1968, full independence is achieved as the republic of Equatorial Guinea. Currently Rio Muni is called Mbindi and contains four provinces of Equatorial Guinea.
Postal history Rio Muni
When in 1959 the provinces of Fernando Poo and Rio Muni are created, the postal administration is also organized on a provincial level. Thus, the provinces of Fernando Poo and Rio Muni have issued stamps from 1960. Provincial issues continue when self government is gained in 1963. The issues resemble the contemporary issues from Spain. Most are inscribed ‘España’ in a large font and ‘Rio Muni’ in a small font. When we compare the Rio Muni issues with the Fernando Poo issues, we find that many are issued on the same occasions and that they are very similar in style, but all of a different design. The provincial issues are, from 1968, superseded by the issues of the republic of Equatorial Guinea.