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Corisco Island & Elobey Islands

Corisco, or Mandj, is a small island of Equatorial Guinea, located 29 km southwest of the Rio Muni estuary that defines the border with Gabon. Corisco, whose name derives from the Portuguese word for lightning, has an area of just 14 km², and its highest point is 35 meters above the sea.

Originally settled by the Benga people, Corisco was acquired by Spain in 1843, as a result of an arrangement made by J. J. Lerena y Barry with Benga king Bonkoro I. Bonkoro I died in 1846 and was succeeded by his son Bonkoro II, but due to rivalries on the island, Bonkoro II moved to Sao Tome, and Munga I ruled in Corisco 1848 to 1858, his son Munga II taking over, and meeting the explorer Iradier in the 1870s.

In general the Spanish paid little attention to Corisco. In the early part of the 20th century it was part of the administration of Elobey, Annobon, and Corisco, and postage stamps were issued under that name. It became an integral part of Equatorial Guinea upon independence.

Corisco and the surrounding waters of Corisco Bay have become of interest in recent years for their oil prospects. A consortium of Elf Aquitaine and Petrogab began prospecting in 1981. The area is disputed with Gabon because of the perceived value of the oil. In February 2003, Gabonese Defence Minister Ali-Ben Bongo Ondimba visited the islands and re-stated Gabon's claim to them.[1]

References

  • Max Liniger-Goumaz, Small is not always beautiful: The Story of Equatorial Guinea (1989, ISBN 0-389-20861-2) p. 7, et al.

Coordinates: 0°55′N 9°19′E / 0.917°N 9.317°E / 0.917; 9.317


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CORISCO, the name of a bay and an island on the Guinea Coast, West Africa. The bay is bounded N. by Cape San Juan (1° 10' N.) and S. by Cape Esterias (o° 36' N.), and is about 31 m. across, while it extends inland some 15 m. The bay is much encumbered with sandbanks, which impair its value as a harbour. Whereas the Muni river or estuary, which enters the bay on its northern side, has a maximum depth of over loo ft., vessels entering it have to come by a channel with an average depth of six fathoms. The entrance to the southern part of the bay is obstructed by the Bana Bank, which extends for 9 m., rendering navigation dangerous. The bay encloses many small islands and islets, some hardly distinguishable from sandbanks and submerged at high water, giving rise to a native saying that "half the islands live under water." The principal islands are four, Bana, Great and Little Elobey, and Corisco, the lastnamed lying farthest to seaward and giving its name to the bay.

Corisco Island, the largest of the group, is some 3 m. long by 14 m. in breadth and has an area of about 5z sq. m. The surface of the island is very diversified. On a miniature scale it possesses mountains and valleys, rivers, lakes, forests and swamps, grassland and bushland, moorland and parkland. The forests supply ebony and logwood for export. The natives are a Bantu-Negro tribe called Benga. There are among them many converts to Roman Catholicism and a few Protestants. Corisco and the other islands named are Spanish possessions and are governed as dependencies of Fernando Po.

See Mary H. Kingsley, Travels in West Africa, ch. xvii. (London, 1897); E. L. Perea, "Guinea espanola: La isla de Corisco," in Revista de geog. colon. y mercantil (Madrid, 1906).


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