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Guinea-Bissau Travel Forum. Guinea-Bissau Photos. Guinea-Bissau Map. Guinea-Bissau Travel Guide. Unlock the best of Tripadvisor. Save your favorite travel ideas and see them on a map.The precolonial history of Guinea-Bissau has not been fully documented in the archaeological record. The area has been occupied for at least a millennium, first by hunters and gatherers and later by decentralized animist agriculturalists who used iron implements for their rice farming.

Ethnogenesis and interethnic dynamics in the 13th century began to push some of these agriculturists closer to the coast, while others intermixed with the intrusive Mande as the Mali empire expanded into the area. Gold, slaves, and marine salt were exported from Guinea toward the interior of the empire. As Mali strengthened, it maintained local, centralized control through its secondary kingdoms and their farim s local kingswhose task was to maintain local law and order and the flow of tributary goods and soldiers as needed.

In the case of what is now Guinea-Bissau, this state was known as Kaabu, and the agriculturists often suffered in their subordinate relationship to its economic and military needs.

The Fulani entered the region as semi-nomadic herders as early as the 12th century, although it was not until the 15th century that they began to arrive in large numbers. Initially they were also subordinate to the kingdom of Kaabu, although there was something of a symbiotic relationship between the Mande farmers and traders and the Fulani herdsmen, both of whom followed a version of Africanized Islam.


Contacts with the European world began with the Portuguese explorers and traders who arrived in the first half of the 15th century. The Portuguese monopolized the exploration and trade along the Upper Guinea coast from the later 15th and early 16th centuries until the French, Spanish, and English began to compete for the wealth of Africa.

Tens of thousands of Guineans were taken as slaves to Cape Verde to develop its plantation economy of cotton, indigo, orchil and urzella dyes, rum, hides, and livestock. Weaving and dyeing slave-grown cotton made it possible to make panosunique textiles woven on a narrow loom and usually constructed of six strips stitched together, which became standard currency for regional trade in the 16th century.

Often these measures either dried up the trade to the crown or caused even more brash smuggling. In Guinea-Bissau and neighbouring territories, slaves were captured among the coastal peoples or among interior groups at war. While Kaabu was ascendant, the Fulani were common victims.

Groups of slaves were bound together in coffles and driven to the coastal barracoons temporary enclosures at CacheuBissauand Bolama by grumetes mercenaries. Cape Verde was used as a secure offshore post for the trade of goods from Africa, which included slaves, ivory, dyewoods, kola nutsbeeswax, hides, and gold, as well as goods destined for Africa, such as cheap manufactured items, firearms, cloth, and rum. Tens of thousands of slaves were exported from the coast to the islands and on to the New World, destined for major markets such as the plantations in Cuba and northeastern Brazil.

European rivalries on the Guinea coast long threatened the Portuguese position in the islands, where irregular commerce, corruption, and smuggling became routine. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries there was an English initiative to abolish or slow the slave tradeand the United States mounted a halfhearted parallel effort.

From to the U. Navy stationed the Africa Squadron, a fleet of largely ineffective sailing vessels meant to intercept American slavers, at Cape Verde and along the Guinea coast. However, political indifference, legal loopholes, and flags of convenience undermined this program. After four centuries of slaving, the Portuguese gradually abandoned the practice by the late s, although it was replaced by oppressive forced labour and meagre wages to pay colonial taxes.

Despite the five centuries of contact between Guineans and the Portuguese, one cannot truly speak of a deeply rooted colonial presence until the close of the 19th century.

The long-lasting joint administration of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau was terminated in and both became separate colonial territories: Cape Verde and Portuguese Guinea.

However, the European rivalries for control of the larger Guinea region only intensified. Long-term Anglo-Portuguese bickering over the ownership of Bolama was finally resolved when U. Ulysses S.The sovereign state of Guinea is a republic with a president who is directly elected by the people; this position is both head of state and head of government. The unicameral Guinean National Assembly is the legislative body of the country, and its members are also directly elected by the people.

The judicial branch is led by the Guinea Supreme Court, the highest and final court of appeal in the country. Guinea is a predominantly Islamic country, with Muslims representing 85 percent of the population. French, the official language of Guinea, is the main language of communication in schools, in government administration, and the media, but more than twenty-four indigenous languages are also spoken.

Guinea's economy is largely dependent on agriculture and mineral production. Human rights in Guinea remain a controversial issue.

In the United States government claimed that torture by security forces, and abuse of women and children e. Guinea is named after the Guinea region. Guinea is a traditional name for the region of Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea. It stretches north through the forested tropical regions and ends at the Sahel.

The land that is now Guinea belonged to a series of African empires until France colonized it in the s, and made it part of French West Africa. Guinea declared its independence from France on 2 October From independence until the presidential election ofGuinea was governed by a number of autocratic rulers.

What is now Guinea was on the fringes of the major West African empires. The earliest, the Ghana Empiregrew on trade but ultimately fell after repeated incursions of the Almoravids. It was in this period that Islam first arrived in the region by way of North African traders. Shortly after his reign the Mali Empire began to decline and was ultimately supplanted by its vassal states in the 15th century. The most successful of these was the Songhai Empirewhich expanded its power from about and eventually surpassed the Mali Empire in both territory and wealth.

It continued to prosper until a civil war over succession followed the death of Askia Daoud in The weakened empire fell to invaders from Morocco at the Battle of Tondibi just three years later. The Moroccans proved unable to rule the kingdom effectively, however, and it split into many small kingdoms. After the fall of the major West African empires, various kingdoms existed in what is now Guinea.

Fulani Muslims migrated to Futa Jallon in Central Guinea and established an Islamic state from to with a written constitution and alternate rulers.FGM severely hampers career prospects and economic opportunities for million women and girls. Africa 27 Nov GMT. Ten years after Guinea-Bissau' parliament backs truth and reconciliation commission, government is yet to probe hundreds of political assassinations. Africa 25 Nov GMT.

Guinea vs. Guinea-Bissau

Twelve candidates contest presidential election many hope will bring stability to West African country. Africa 23 Nov GMT. Incumbent President Jose Mario Vaz is running against 11 other candidates, including two of the prime ministers he fired while in office. Hundreds of thousands of voters due to cast ballots on Sunday amid hopes the poll will bring political stability.

Africa 22 Nov GMT. President Jose Mario Vaz will be first democratically-elected president of Guinea-Bissau to have completed his mandate - but his mandate has been anything but stable. Africa 29 Oct GMT. Jose Mario Vaz sacks Aristide Gomes intensifying bitter power struggle with the ruling party before next month's poll.

Africa 14 Mar GMT. After years of political crisis, the party's supporters hope the state's ability to function will finally be restored. Africa 13 Mar GMT. Police in Guinea-Bissau has seized a consignment of nearly kg of cocaine that was destined for Mali. Africa 12 Mar GMT. The future of the party that has ruled Guinea-Bissau for the last 45 years hangs in the balance.

Ahead of poll to elect new parliament, Jose Mario Vaz says 'Africa's first narco state' still a cocaine trade hub. Boat wreckage has been found, but no bodies have been recovered since the boat capsized with 60 on board on Monday.

Like the country's glacial political process, the city's historical buildings reflect roots of colonialism. Toggle navigation. Guinea-Bissau News. Health To end female genital mutilation, economically empower women FGM severely hampers career prospects and economic opportunities for million women and girls.


Africa Drug trafficking: Guinea-Bissau used as transit point. Guinea-Bissau Caution urged as Guinea-Bissau candidate claims victory. Africa 27 Nov GMT Guinea-Bissau: Investigations into political killings stalled Ten years after Guinea-Bissau' parliament backs truth and reconciliation commission, government is yet to probe hundreds of political assassinations.

Guinea-Bissau 24 Nov GMT Guinea-Bissau picks president after weeks of political unrest Twelve candidates contest presidential election many hope will bring stability to West African country. Africa 23 Nov GMT Guinea-Bissau's presidential candidates wrap up campaigns Incumbent President Jose Mario Vaz is running against 11 other candidates, including two of the prime ministers he fired while in office. Africa 22 Nov GMT Guinea-Bissau elections: Leader says he will respect results President Jose Mario Vaz will be first democratically-elected president of Guinea-Bissau to have completed his mandate - but his mandate has been anything but stable.The Portuguese Crown commissioned its navigators to explore the Atlantic coast of West Africa to find the sources of gold.


The gold trade was controlled by Moroccoand Muslim caravan routes across the Sahara also carried salt, kola, textiles, fish, grain, and slaves. The gold ultimately came from the upper reaches of the Niger River and Volta River and the Portuguese crown aimed to divert the gold trade towards the coast.

The Portuguese government instituted the Company of Guinea to deal with the trading and to fix the prices of the goods.

It is estimated that the Atlantic slave trade transported around 11 million people from Africa between andincluding 2 million from Senegambia or Upper Guinea. This area was the source of an estimatedAfrican slaves transported by the Portuguese, mainly from Upper Guinea beforesome used to grow cotton and indigo in the previously uninhabited Cape Verde islands.

However, after the main area of Portuguese interest, both for gold and slaves, was further south in the Gold Coast. Bissaufounded inbecame the centre of Portuguese control. Further British interest in the area led to a brief attempt in the s to establish a base on the island of Bolamawhere there was no evidence of any continuous Portuguese presence.

Between the retreat of the British settlers in and the official Portuguese occupation of the island inthere were several attempts to establish a European presence on the island. Even after the Portuguese had asserted their claim inAfro-Portuguese lived and worked there alongside Afro-British from Sierra Leone, since Britain did not relinquish its claim to Bolama until The abolition of the slave trade by Britain in presented the slave traders of Guinea with a virtual monopoly of the West Africa slave trade with Brazil.

Despite the Brazilian and Portuguese governments agreeing to stop this traffic in the s, it probably continued at 18th-century levels, and only declined significantly afterwhen the British government put pressure on Brazil to enforce its existing ban on the import of slaves. The last significant consignment of West African slaves reached Brazil in Britain's interest in the Upper Guinea region declined with the end of the British slave trade in and became focused on Sierra Leone after the Boloma Island settlement was abandoned.

At the start of the 19th century, the Portuguese felt reasonably secure in Bissau and regarded the neighbouring coastline as their own.

Elsewhere it was preserved, with little official assistance, by local Creole people and Cape Verde islanders, who owned small plantations pontas. The existence of French- and Senegalese-run plantations brought a risk of French claims south of the Casamance River. After the Berlin Conference of introduced the principle of Effective Occupation, negotiations with France led to the loss of the valuable Casamance region to French West Africa, in exchange for French agreement to Portuguese Guinea's boundaries.

At this time, Portugal occupied half a dozen coastal or river bases, controlling some maritime trade but few of Guinea's people. However, inPortugal made Guinea a separate military district to promote its occupation. However, Britain and Portugal agreed to international arbitration in President Ulysses S.Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Kaabuas well as part of the Mali Empire.

Parts of this kingdom persisted until the 18th century, while a few others were under some rule by the Portuguese Empire since the 16th century. In the 19th century, it was colonised as Portuguese Guinea. Upon independence, declared in and recognised inthe name of its capital, Bissauwas added to the country's name to prevent confusion with Guinea formerly French Guinea.

However, Creole is the national language and also considered the language of unity. There are diverse religions in Guinea-Bissau with no one religion having a majority.

Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Kaabupart of the Mali Empire ; parts of this kingdom persisted until the 18th century. Other parts of the territory in the current country were considered by the Portuguese as part of their empire. Although the rivers and coast of this area were among the first places colonized by the Portuguese, who set up trading posts in the 16th century, they did not explore the interior until the 19th century.

The local African rulers in Guinea, some of whom prospered greatly from the slave tradecontrolled the inland trade and did not allow the Europeans into the interior. They kept them in the fortified coastal settlements where the trading took place. The Portuguese in Guinea were largely restricted to the ports of Bissau and Cacheu. A small number of European settlers established isolated farms along Bissau's inland rivers.

Geography Now! Guinea Bissau

For a brief period in the s, the British tried to establish a rival foothold on an offshore island, at Bolama. Independence was unilaterally declared on 24 Septemberwhich is now celebrated as the country's Independence Day, a public holiday. Some escaped to settle in Portugal or other African nations. The country was controlled by a revolutionary council until The first multi-party elections were held in In Septembera military coup was conducted.

A mutiny of military factions in October resulted in the death of the head of the armed forces and caused widespread unrest. Despite reports of arms entering the country prior to the election and some "disturbances during campaigning", including attacks on government offices by unidentified gunmen, foreign election monitors described the election overall as "calm and organized".

Three years later, PAIGC won a strong parliamentary majority, with 67 of seats, in the parliamentary election held in November On 2 Marchhowever, Vieira was assassinated by what preliminary reports indicated to be a group of soldiers avenging the death of the head of joint chiefs of staff, General Batista Tagme Na Waiwho had been killed in an explosion the day before.

National Assembly Speaker Raimundo Pereira was appointed as an interim president until a nationwide election on 28 June Guinea-Bissau is a republic. In the past, the government had been highly centralized. Multi-party governance was not established until mid The president is the head of state and the prime minister is the head of government.

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