Independence from Spain was achieved in 1968. The country was ruled for the first 11 years by a man named Nguema. In 1979, his nephew staged a military coup, killed his uncle, and has ruled ever since.
Oil was discovered in 1996 and today the country is the third-largest producer of oil in sub-Saharan Africa. Of course, all this money is creating political tensions, including a failed coup attempt in 2004 reportedly backed financially by Mark Thatcher, son of the former British Prime Minister.