A republic in central Africa, north of GABON and bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. Its capital is Malabo. Equatorial Guinea was discovered by the Portuguese in 1491 and ceded to Spain in 1778. The country gained independence in 1968. Equatorial refers to its location near the equator in the broad region long known as Guinea (from the Tuareg aginaw, black people). (From Webster’s New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, p375 & Room, Brewer’s Dictionary of Names, 1992, p173, 222).