Annobonese people

Annobonese creole


Annobonese Creole is a Portuguese creole known to its speakers as Fa d'Ambu or Fá d'Ambô (Portuguese: Fala de Ano-Bom). It is spoken on the Annobón and Bioko Islands off the coast of Equatorial Guinea, mostly by people of mixed African, Portuguese and Spanish descent. It is called annobonense or annobonés in Spanish. The Annobonese of Equatorial Guinea are numbering 10,500 (, 2022)

The attitude in the country towards this language is positive. It is taught in special courses in the capital of Equatorial Guinea, Malabo

Annobonese people


The creole language was spoken originally by the descendants of intermixing between Portuguese men and African women slaves imported from other places, especially from São Tomé and Angola, and therefore descends from Portuguese and Forro, the creole of the freed slaves of São Tomé. The government of Equatorial Guinea financed an Instituto Internacional da Língua Portuguesa (IILP) sociolinguistic study in Annobón, which noticed strong links with the Portuguese creole populations in São Tomé and Príncipe, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau.



Annobonese is analogous to Forro. In fact, it may be derived from Forro as it shares the same structure and 82% of its lexicon. After Annobón passed to Spain, the language incorporated some words of Spanish origin (10% of its lexicon), but it is often difficult to say from which language the word derive, given the similarity between Spanish and Portuguese. Today, the Spanish language is the official language of the island, although it is not much spoken and the Portuguese creole has vigorous use in the island and in the capital Malabo and with some speakers in Equatorial Guinea's mainland. Noncreolized Portuguese is used as liturgical language. Portuguese has been declared an official language in Equatorial Guinea, but so far is rarely used in Bioko and Río Muni.


Culture and society

Very little information is available on Annobon culture and society. Even the date of discovery of the island is obscure, though 1472 seems to be the likely year. At the time of its discovery, the island of Annob6n was uninhabited. Colonization was by freed slaves originating from what is now Namibia, Angola and Sao Tome; these ex-slaves worked in timber cutting and in the intensive cultivation of cotton and sugar cane (Cu HA MATOS, 1835). The Annobon (descendants of these freed slaves) have developed a language (Fandambo) that combines Portuguese (the language of the first European eo Ionizers) and their own native languages. They have also developed a culture of their own, attributable to the peculiar population of the island (with heterogeneous groups) and to the isolation and abandonment to which they were subjected in the past.
The population of the island of Annobon has barely increased since its early days. When the first missionaries arrived in 1885, there were a total of 1150 inhabitants (COL, 1899; BARRE A, 1985). This figure rose to 1200 in 1912 (RAMOS, 1912), while the 1924 census in turn
reflected the presence of 1400 inhabitants. The 1950 census indicated 1403 inhabitants. At present, the population is estimated at no more than 2000. Polygyny is observed among the Annobon; however, this practice is presently rather restricted, due to the current economical
difficulties of the island. As to the sociopolitical organization of these people, ZAMORA (1962) reports that in the past there were three casts, among which certain families stood out in hierarchical terms. These families even had slaves of their own. The maximum authority
was elected in these families. The election took place in so-called «viyil», i.e., the place where the council of elders and the most important people of the village met to establish major decisions. Such activities continue to this day.