Introduction / History The Criollos, Krio or Pidginglis speakers of Bioko Island, represent a small percentage of the population of Equatorial Guineans (EG), in West Africa. Although their language, an English-based Creole, is spoken by tens of thousands of EG as a trade language, this People Profile is focusing on the mother tongue speakers of Pidginglis (Krio) as a distinct people group.
In 1827 the British established the city of Clarence (later called Santa Isabel by the Spaniards and Malabo by the Equatorial Guineans).
The city was settled by English colonialists, 30 Sierraleonese, and 100 krumanes from Cabo Palmas. The majority of these African settlers had been liberated from slaving ships, and they were already speaking the English Creole of Freetown. At that time the island of Bioko was called Fernando Po, (named after its Portuguese explorer),and thus these new residents came to be called Fernandinos, or Criollos because of their Creole language.
As a result of Spanish colonization, the majority of Criollos are at least nominally Roman Catholic. There are about 20 evangelical believers, but there are no Pidginglis churches, and there are no missionaries dedicated to reaching the Criollos within their language and culture.