Equatorial Guinea was one of the few Spanish colonies in Africa. It achieved independence in 1968. Until 1979, the country was ruled by a dictatorial regime that plundered its resources and oppressed the population. The Christians and the churches were harassed, atheism was actively promoted, and freedom of worship
was restricted. A coup d'état brought an end to this period. Since then, Equatorial Guinea has had the same president, who has established an authoritarian system of government. Offshore oil reserves have made Equatorial Guinea a major oil producer, but for the majority of the population agriculture remains the main source of livelihood, and there has been little improvement in living standards. Christianity was brought to the area at the time of Spanish colonization, and the Catholic Church is the majority church. There are a few small Protestant churches, which have formed a council. Since the 1980s, there has been an influx of Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Evangelical groups. They constitute about 5 percent of the population and form, together with the Protestants, about 10 percent of the total number of Christians.