General issues: Spanish colony 1903-1909
Country name on general issues: Elobey, Annobón y Corisco
Currency: 1 Peseta = 100 Centimos 1903-1909
Population: 2 950 in 1910
Political history Elobey, Annobón & Corisco
Elobey, Annobón & Corisco are a number of islands in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of central Africa. The first Europeans to explore the Gulf of Guinea are the Portuguese in the 1470’s. The Portuguese settle on a number of islands in the Gulf and claim the rights to the coastal region on the mainland from the Niger River to the Ogooué River. By treaties in 1777 and 1778, the Portuguese trade part of the islands and the claim to the mainland with the Spanish for territories in the Americas. The Spanish, however, do not establish a permanent presence in the region until the 19th century.
As the ‘Scramble for Africa’ required the colonial powers to assert their authority over their rights – or claims – to the African continent, the Spanish took a new interest in their possessions in the Gulf of Guinea. The Spanish settle on the islands of Fernando Poo in the 1840’s and on Annobón in the 1880’s. Annobón was – and still is – inhabited by a majority creole population of mixed African and Portuguese origins – akin to the population of neighboring São Tomé & Príncipe. By 1890, the Spanish had also established themselves around the Corisco Bay, including Corisco Island and the Elobey IslandsElobey Grande and Elobey Chico or Great Elobey and Little Elobey. . Elobey Chico was, at the time, the de facto capital from which the Spanish administered their settlements around the Corisco Bay.
In 1885, the colonial powers at the Berlin conference divided their respective spheres of interest in Africa. Extended negotiations with the French led to finalization of the borders of the mainland territory in 1900. The Spanish possessions in the Gulf of Guinea thus being defined, the Spanish, in 1900, established two colonies beside the existing colony of Fernando Poo: Elobey, Annobón & Corisco and on the mainland the colony of Spanish Guinea. Elobey, Annobón & Corisco was administered by a governor general who had his seat in Santa Isabel on Fernando Poo and governors on Annobón and Elobey Chico.
In 1909, Elobey, Annobón & Corisco became part of the Spanish Territories in the Gulf of Guinea, together with the colonies of Fernando Poo and Spanish Guinea. In 1926, the separate colonies were de jure integrated into one colony also called Spanish Guinea. The Spanish possessions, in subsequent years, went through a number of administrative changes to gain independence as the republic of Equatorial Guinea in 1968. Currently, Annobón is a province of Equatorial Guinea. Corisco and the Elobey Islands are part of the Litoral province of Equatorial Guinea. Elobey Chico – in early colonial times the most important of the islands in the Corisco Bay – is nowadays uninhabited.
Postal history Elobey, Annobón & Corisco
Throughout the Spanish possessions in the Gulf of Guinea, the first stamps used were the stamps of Fernando Poo. For Elobey, Annobón & Corsico, stamps were first issued in 1903 – a set of definitives with the portrait of king Alfonso XIII. Stamps of Elobey, Annobón & Corsico were overprinted for use in Spanish Guinea in 1906.
From 1919, the stamps of Elobey, Annobón & Corsico are superseded by the issues of the Spanish Territories in the Gulf of Guinea. These were, from 1960, superseded by the issues for Fernando Poo – on Annobón – and Rio Muni – on Corisco and the Elobey Islands. Currently, in the territory, the stamps of Equatorial Guinea are used.