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first President of Equatorial Guinea
Macías Nguema Biyogo Masie was born in Nsegayong, Rio Muni, in 1924. Little else about his early life is known.
Nguema began his rise through the political ranks as a civil employee for the Spanish colonial government through the 1950's and early 1960's. Most important of his positions during this period were a stint as Mayor of the City of Mongamo and as a member of the Provincial Parliament. In 1964 he was elected Vice-President of the local government of Equatorial Guinea.
In March 1968 the Spanish government announced that Equatorial Guinea would be granted full independence upon ratification of a constitution, which occured on August 11, 1968. Nguema, representing the left-wing, ran for President against Bonifacio Ondo Edu, who had been President under Spanish administration from 1964 to 1968; he won the election and, in October 1968, became the first President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
The early stages of Nguema's presidency were marked by increasingly worsened relations with Spain. He accused Spanish businessmen of a variety of crimes against the government and waged a campaign of intimidation against the 70,000 Spanish nationals living in the country. This escalated into the eventual expulsion of the Spanish ambassador, which in turn resulted in the mobilization of the Spanish Army in the area. At this point, Nguema declared a state of emergency.
By July 1970, Nguema had created a single party state, by May 1971 parts of the Constitution had been eliminated, and by 1972 Nguema had declared himself "President for Life." His rule only got worse from there. All government social services were eliminated in favor of internal security. Roads, water supplies, basic health care, electricity transmission, and even public eduation all suffered from lack of funding. Nguema's paranoia led to extensive purges that allowed him to install many friends and family members into government positions, as well as to the death or expulsion of one third of the country's population. Conditions got so bad that, in 1976, Nguema's wife even fled the country.
It was about this same time that Nguema Africanised his name to Masie Nguema Biyogo Ñegue Ndong.
On August 3, 1979, Nguema's nephew, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, led a military coup d'etat against him. Nguema was located in a jungle hideout a couple of weeks later and was subsequently arrested and charged with genocide. He was executed on September 29, 1979.
This page was last updated on 02/17/2017.