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The Bubis indigenous to the island called it "Ripotó (place of the foreigners).The population of the capital was increased by the arrival of slaves freed by the British.Its present name was given to the town in 1973 as part of the campaign of President Macías Nguema to replace place names of European origin with African names, in this case honoring Malabo Lopelo Melaka, the last Bubi king.Malabo, the son of King Moka, surrendered to the Spaniards.Spain again took control of the island in 1855 and the capital, Port Clarence, was renamed Santa Isabel, in honor of Queen Isabel II.The capital of the island of Fernando Pó became the capital of Equatorial Guinea.At the beginning of the 16th century, specifically in 1507, the Portuguese Ramos de Esquivel made a first attempt at colonization on the island of Fernando Pó.
The city has a population of approximately 187,302 inhabitants.Oyala is a planned city currently under construction in mainland Equatorial Guinea which was designed to replace Malabo as the capital.The institutions of governance of Equatorial Guinea began the process of locating to Oyala in February 2017.The capital already had more dynamic and Protestant religious missions which were very successful.Both factors helped to change the attitude of Spain, in addition to internal reasons already alluded.
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With the treaties of San Ildefonso in 1777 and El Pardo in 1778, during the reign of the Spanish King Carlos III the Portuguese gave to the Spanish island of Fernando Pó, Annobón and the right to conduct trade in the mainland, an area of influence approximately of 800 000 km in Africa, in exchange for the Colonia del Sacramento in the River Plate and the Santa Catalina Island off the Brazilian coast (occupied by the Spaniards).