/gin"ee bi sow"/, n.
a republic on the W coast of Africa, between Guinea and Senegal: formerly a Portuguese overseas province; gained independence in 1974. 1,178,584; 13,948 sq. mi. (36,125 sq. km). Cap.: Bissau. Formerly, Portuguese Guinea.

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Introduction Guinea-Bissau
Background: In 1994, 20 years after independence from Portugal, the country's first multiparty legislative and presidential elections were held. An army uprising that triggered a bloody civil war in 1998, created hundreds of thousands of displaced persons. The president was ousted by a military junta in May 1999. An interim government turned over power in February 2000 when opposition leader Kumba YALA took office following two rounds of transparent presidential elections. Guinea- Bissau's transition back to democracy will be complicated by its crippled economy devastated in the civil war. Geography Guinea-Bissau -
Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Senegal
Geographic coordinates: 12 00 N, 15 00 W
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 36,120 sq km water: 8,120 sq km land: 28,000 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly less than three times the size of Connecticut
Land boundaries: total: 724 km border countries: Guinea 386 km, Senegal 338 km
Coastline: 350 km
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate: tropical; generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds
Terrain: mostly low coastal plain rising to savanna in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m highest point: unnamed location in the northeast corner of the country 300 m
Natural resources: fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, unexploited deposits of petroleum
Land use: arable land: 10.67% permanent crops: 1.78% other: 87.55% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 170 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season; brush fires Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; overfishing Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: this small country is swampy along its western coast and low-lying further inland People Guinea-Bissau
Population: 1,345,479 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 41.9% (male 281,394; female 282,641) 15-64 years: 55.2% (male 353,755; female 388,968) 65 years and over: 2.9% (male 17,130; female 21,591) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.23% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 38.95 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 15.05 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.62 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/ female total population: 0.94 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 108.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 49.8 years female: 52.2 years (2002 est.) male: 47.47 years
Total fertility rate: 5.13 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 2.5% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 14,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 1,300 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Guinean (s) adjective: Guinean
Ethnic groups: African 99% (Balanta 30%, Fula 20%, Manjaca 14%, Mandinga 13%, Papel 7%), European and mulatto less than 1%
Religions: indigenous beliefs 50%, Muslim 45%, Christian 5%
Languages: Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 34% male: 50% female: 18% (2000 est.) Government Guinea-Bissau
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Guinea-Bissau conventional short form: Guinea- Bissau local short form: Guine-Bissau local long form: Republica da Guine- Bissau former: Portuguese Guinea
Government type: republic, multiparty since mid-1991
Capital: Bissau Administrative divisions: 9 regions (regioes, singular - regiao); Bafata, Biombo, Bissau, Bolama, Cacheu, Gabu, Oio, Quinara, Tombali; note - Bolama may have been renamed Bolama/Bijagos
Independence: 24 September 1973 (unilaterally declared by Guinea-Bissau); 10 September 1974 (recognized by Portugal)
National holiday: Independence Day, 24 September (1973)
Constitution: 16 May 1984, amended 4 May 1991, 4 December 1991, 26 February 1993, 9 June 1993, and 1996
Legal system: NA
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Kumba YALA (since 18 February 2000) elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 28 November 1999 and 16 January 2000 (next to be held NA 2004); prime minister appointed by the president after consultation with party leaders in the legislature election results: Kumba YALA elected president; percent of vote, second ballot - Kumba YALA (PRS) 72%, Malan Bacai SANHA (PAIGC) 28% cabinet: NA head of government: Prime Minister Alamara Intchia NHASSE (since 7 December 2001)
Legislative branch: unicameral National People's Assembly or Assembleia Nacional Popular (100 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve a maximum of four years) elections: last held 28 November 1999 (next to be held NA 2003) election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PRS 37, RGB 27, PAIGC 25, 11 remaining seats went to 5 of the remaining 10 parties that fielded candidates
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal da Justica (consists of nine justices who are appointed by the president and serve at his pleasure; final court of appeals in criminal and civil cases); Regional Courts (one in each of nine regions; first court of appeals for Sectoral Court decisions; hear all felony cases and civil cases valued at over $1,000); 24 Sectoral Courts (judges are not necessarily trained lawyers; they hear civil cases under $1,000 and misdemeanor criminal cases) Political parties and leaders: African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde or PAIGC [Francisco BENANTE]; Front for the Liberation and Independence of Guinea or FLING [Francois MENDY]; Guinea-Bissau Resistance-Ba Fata Movement or RGB-MB [Helder Vaz LOPES]; Guinean Civic Forum or FCG [Antonieta Rosa GOMES]; International League for Ecological Protection or LIPE [Alhaje Bubacar DJALO, president]; National Union for Democracy and Progress or UNDP [Abubacer BALDE, secretary general]; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Victor MANDINGA]; Social Renovation Party or PRS [Kumba YALA]; Union for Change or UM [Jorge MANDINGA, president, Dr. Anne SAAD, secretary general]; United Social Democratic Party or PUSD [Victor Sau'de MARIA] Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization ACCT, ACP, AfDB, ECA, ECOWAS, FAO,
participation: FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Henrique Adriano DA SILVA chancery: c/o P. O. Box 33813, Washington, DC 20033-3813 telephone: [1] (301) 947-3958 FAX: [1] (391) 947-3958 Diplomatic representation from the the US Embassy suspended operations
US: on 14 June 1998 in the midst of violent conflict between forces loyal to then President VIEIRA and military-led junta; for the time being, US embassy Dakar is responsible for covering Guinea- Bissau: [221] 823-4296
Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and green with a vertical red band on the hoist side; there is a black five-pointed star centered in the red band; uses the popular pan- African colors of Ethiopia Economy Guinea-Bissau -
Economy - overview: One of the 10 poorest countries in the world, Guinea-Bissau depends mainly on farming and fishing. Cashew crops have increased remarkably in recent years, and the country now ranks sixth in cashew production. Guinea-Bissau exports fish and seafood along with small amounts of peanuts, palm kernels, and timber. Rice is the major crop and staple food. However, intermittent fighting between Senegalese-backed government troops and a military junta destroyed much of the country's infrastructure and caused widespread damage to the economy in 1998; the civil war led to a 28% drop in GDP that year, with partial recovery in 1999-2001. Before the war, trade reform and price liberalization were the most successful part of the country's structural adjustment program under IMF sponsorship. The tightening of monetary policy and the development of the private sector had also begun to reinvigorate the economy. Because of high costs, the development of petroleum, phosphate, and other mineral resources is not a near-term prospect. However, unexploited offshore oil reserves could provide much-needed revenue in the long run. The inequality of income distribution is one of the most extreme in the world. The government and international donors continue to work out plans to forward economic development.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.2 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 7.2% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $900 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 54% industry: 15% services: 31% (1997 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 0.5%
percentage share: highest 10%: 42.4% (1991) Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 480,000 Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 82% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Budget: revenues: $NA expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA
Industries: agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks Industrial production growth rate: 2.6% (1997 est.) Electricity - production: 60 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 55.8 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: rice, corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish
Exports: $80 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: cashew nuts 70%, shrimp, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn lumber
Exports - partners: India 51.4%, Italy 2.7%, South Korea 2.0%, Belgium 2.0% (2000)
Imports: $55.2 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products
Imports - partners: Portugal 30%, Senegal 14.6%, Thailand 8.5%, China 5.7% (2000)
Debt - external: $931 million (1999 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $115.4 million (1995)
Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States; previously the Guinea-Bissau peso (GWP) was used
Currency code: XOF; GWP
Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 742.79 (January 2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997) note: as of 1 May 1997, Guinea- Bissau adopted the XOF franc as the national currency; since 1 January 1999, the XOF franc is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XOF francs per euro
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Guinea-Bissau Telephones - main lines in use: 10,000 (2001) Telephones - mobile cellular: NA
Telephone system: general assessment: small system domestic: combination of microwave radio relay, open-wire lines, radiotelephone, and cellular communications international: NA Radio broadcast stations: AM 1 (transmitter out of service), FM 4, shortwave 0 (2002)
Radios: 49,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: NA (1997)
Televisions: NA
Internet country code: .gw Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 2 (2002)
Internet users: 1,500 (1999) Transportation Guinea-Bissau
Railways: 0 km
Highways: total: 4,400 km paved: 453 km unpaved: 3,947 km (1996)
Waterways: several rivers are accessible to coastal shipping
Ports and harbors: Bissau, Buba, Cacheu, Farim
Merchant marine: none (2002 est.)
Airports: 28 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 3 over 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 25 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 4 under 914 m: 20 (2001) Military Guinea-Bissau
Military branches: People's Revolutionary Armed Force (FARP; includes Army, Navy, and Air Force), paramilitary force Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 313,573 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 178,404 (2002 est.)
service: Military expenditures - dollar $5.6 million (FY01)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 2.8% (FY01)
GDP: Transnational Issues Guinea-Bissau Disputes - international: Senegalese separatists disrupt legal border trade with smuggling, cattle rustling, and other illegal activities

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officially Republic of Guinea-Bissau formerly (until 1974) Portuguese Guinea

Country, western Africa.

Its territory includes the Bijagós Archipelago, off the Atlantic coast to the southwest. Area: 13,948 sq mi (36,125 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 1,3456,000. Capital: Bissau. The four major ethnic groups are the Balanta Brassa, Fulani, Malinke, and Mandyako. Language: Portuguese (official), Balante, Fula, Malinke, and Mandyako. Religion: Islam; traditional religions. Currency: CFA franc. Most of the country consists of low, marshy terrain and flat plateau. The climate is generally hot and tropical. Much of the country's wildlife is aquatic; crocodiles, snakes, and such birds as pelicans and flamingos abound. It has a developing, primarily agricultural economy; cashews and peanuts are the main cash crops. It is a multiparty republic with one legislative house; its chief of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. More than 1,000 years ago the coast of Guinea-Bissau was occupied by iron-using agriculturists. They grew irrigated and dry rice and were also the major suppliers of marine salt to the western Sudan. At about the same time, the area came under the influence of the Mali empire and became a tributary kingdom known as Gabú. After 1546 Gabú was virtually autonomous; vestiges of the kingdom lasted until 1867. The earliest overseas contacts came in the 15th century with the Portuguese, who imported slaves from the Guinea area to the offshore Cape Verde Islands. Portuguese control of Guinea-Bissau was marginal despite their claims to sovereignty there. The end of the slave trade forced the Portuguese inland in search of new profits. Their subjugation of the interior was slow and sometimes violent; it was not effectively achieved until 1915, though sporadic resistance continued until 1936. Guerrilla warfare in the 1960s led to the country's independence in 1974, but political turmoil continued and the government was overthrown by a military coup in 1980. A new constitution was adopted in 1984, and the first multiparty elections were held in 1994. A destructive civil war in 1998 was followed by a military coup in 1999, but the coup was followed by elections.

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▪ 2009

36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 1,503,000
Chief of state:
President João Bernardo Vieira
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Martinho Ndafa Kabi and, from August 6, Carlos Correia

      Guinea-Bissau experienced a measure of political stability (March 2007–July 2008), with the three leading political parties working together in a coalition government. The IMF, which had withdrawn from the country in 2001, resumed investment activities in January 2008, and in July it released almost $3 million in emergency assistance. The legislative election due to be held in March was postponed until November. The African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) captured 67 of the 100 seats in the National Assembly. Voter turnout was strong at 82%, and international observers described the election as largely peaceful and orderly.

      In late July the country was plunged into political instability when the PAIGC withdrew from the government after Prime Minister Martinho Ndafa Kabi sacked four high-ranking officials. Pres. João Bernardo Vieira dissolved the parliament and replaced Kabi with veteran politician Carlos Correia, who had served as prime minister in the 1990s. A failed coup followed, and its alleged leader, the head of the country's navy, escaped by sea but was soon arrested in The Gambia. Another apparent coup attempt followed the November legislative election, with Vieira surviving an attack at his home by mutinous soldiers.

      Guinea-Bissau was again in the grip of a cholera epidemic, and most of the population was still without access to clean water, adequate sanitation, or electricity. The country had also become a major hub for the transshipment of cocaine from South America to Europe.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2008

36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 1,472,000
Chief of state:
President João Bernardo Vieira
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Aristides Gomes and, from April 13, Martinho Ndafa Kabi

      Guinea-Bissau, one of the world's 10 poorest countries, continued to suffer the effects in 2007 of a sharp price rise set by the government in 2006 for cashews, the country's main export. The increase was so steep that traders would not buy them, and exports suffered.

      Underscoring the instability in the country, a leader of the junta that ruled the country after the civil war of 1998–99 was assassinated on January 4. When former prime minister Carlos Gomes Júnior alleged that Pres. João Bernardo Vieira was involved in the assassination, the government issued an arrest warrant, and Gomes Júnior sought refuge in the UN building in Bissau. As Vieira's supporters in the parliament began defecting to other parties, and street demonstrators called for a new government, the National People's Assembly passed a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Aristides Gomes, a Vieira ally. Vieira's appointment in April of a new prime minister, Martinho Ndafa Kabi, restored a measure of stability. Kabi, who promised to work for fiscal discipline, reduced the price of cashews and called for a “relentless” fight against drug trafficking. The UN's 2007 World Drug Report named Guinea-Bissau as a key staging post for cocaine moving from Latin America to Europe.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2007

36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 1,442,000
Chief of state:
President João Bernardo Vieira
Head of government:
Prime Minister Aristides Gomes

      Guinea-Bissau continued to struggle to emerge from years of instability and economic distress in 2006. After the 2005 presidential election returned Pres. João Bernardo Vieira to office, 14 members of the largest party in the parliament, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), switched their support in October to Vieira, who then by decree appointed Aristides Gomes as prime minister, in place of PAIGC leader Carlos Gomes. The PAIGC denounced this as unconstitutional, but in January 2006 the Supreme Court upheld the president's action.

      In March 20,000 people were left destitute when fighting broke out in the north after Senegalese separatists crossed into Guinea-Bissau and had to be dislodged by the army. When the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) met in July in Bissau, now free of land mines for the first time since the 1998–99 civil war, President Vieira was elected CPLP chair.

      In August some 500 schoolteachers protested in the capital against the nonpayment of their salaries. Though most people in the rural areas depended on selling cashew nuts, large stocks went unsold owing to the price set by the government. Many could not afford to buy the staple food, rice, most of which had to be imported; 85% of the country's rice paddies had been ruined in 2005 by flooding.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2006

36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 1,413,000
Chief of state:
Presidents Henrique Pereira Rosa (acting) and, from October 1, João Bernardo Vieira
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Carlos Gomes Júnior and, from November 2, Aristides Gomes

 Familiar faces dominated the Guinea-Bissau presidential elections in 2005. The first presidential election since the 2003 coup was due to take place in March 2005 but was postponed to June. For a time it seemed that neither deposed former president Kumba Ialá, now leader of the main opposition Social Renovation Party, nor João Bernardo (“Nino”) Vieira—>, who had held power from 1980 to 1999 and was facing murder charges, would be allowed to stand, but they were both eventually admitted. The other main contender for the five-year presidential term was Malam Bacai Sanhá, who had headed the interim administration after Vieira's ouster. The leader whom the military installed after the coup, Henrique Rosa, did not stand.

      In the election Sanhá won 35.3% of the vote, Vieira 28.5%, and Ialá 25.7%. International monitors found the election free, fair, and well-organized. The runoff on July 24 went smoothly, and this time Vieira emerged as the victor. Sanhá's supporters claimed electoral fraud and lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court, but that was dismissed. Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior then stated that he would not recognize the new president, and Ialá's supporters also remained disaffected. In October Vieira dismissed Gomes's government and later named Aristides Gomes prime minister. A new government was installed in November. Political stability remained fragile, however, which did not bode well for the large-scale financial aid that this very poor country needed to rebuild its infrastructure and economy.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2005

36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 1,388,000
Chief of state:
President Henrique Pereira Rosa (acting).
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Antonio Artur Sanhá and, from May 10, Carlos Gomes Júnior

      In March 2004 more than 100 international observers watched as 12 political parties and three coalitions contested 102 seats in the National People's Assembly of Guinea-Bissau, fulfilling a promise—made when armed forces chief Verissimo Correia Seabra led a bloodless coup in September 2003—to hold parliamentary elections within six months. The vote was a key step toward the restoration of civilian rule, for the winning party was to replace the interim government. The caretaker president, Henrique Pereira Rosa, would remain in power, however, until presidential elections were held in 2005.

      The African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, which led the country for a quarter century after independence, gained the most seats, with former president Kumba Ialá's Social Renewal Party finishing second. The National Transitional Council, which would be disbanded when the results of the March poll were announced, had meanwhile approved an amnesty for those who staged the September 2003 coup.

      In June defense ministers from the countries of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries met in Bissau to discuss matters of common concern, including the possible creation of a joint peacekeeping force.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2004

36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 1,361,000
Chief of state:
Presidents Kumba Ialá (Yalla), Gen. Verissimo Correia Seabra (acting) from September 14, and, from September 28, Henrique Pereira Rosa (acting).
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Mario Pires and, from September 28, Antonio Artur Sanhá

      Guinea-Bissau remained one of the poorest countries in the world and was beset with political upheaval in 2003. Alleging various coup plots against him, Pres. Kumba Ialá frequently dismissed ministers, resorted to attacks on the judiciary and the independent media, and summarily arrested opponents. In November 2002, after the parliament passed a motion of no confidence in him, he dissolved it and called for a legislative election within 90 days.

      The election was postponed three times in 2003, but before it could take place, on September 14 Ialá was deposed in a coup led by Gen. Verissimo Correia Seabra and placed under house arrest. Other African countries condemned the coup, but most political and civic leaders in Guinea-Bissau welcomed it. The junta's choice of businessman Henrique Pereira Rosa as interim president met general acceptance, but most political leaders were unhappy with its installation of Antonio Artur Sanhá, the secretary-general of the Social Renovation Party, as prime minister of an interim government. At the end of September the military junta signed an agreement with political and civil groups to form a National Transition Council, which met under Seabra's chairmanship, to act in place of parliament until legislative elections could be held.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2003

36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 1,345,000
Chief of state:
President Kumba Ialá (Yalla)
Head of government:
Prime Minister Alamara Nhassé

      Guinea-Bissau remained tense in 2002 after the failed coup attempt against Pres. Kumba Ialá in December 2001. In May the government claimed that there had been another coup attempt from within the military. Under pressure from the UN, President Ialá in June made a gesture of national reconciliation by proposing an amnesty for soldiers who had been involved in the coup attempts, but he also threatened to invade The Gambia, accusing it of supporting those plotting against him. After mediation by a UN envoy, The Gambia handed over three alleged coup plotters, and relations between the two countries began to calm. In October Ialá visited The Gambia and declared that relations were cordial.

      In July the UN Security Council called on Ialá to speed up the demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, and by October the process of demobilization had been declared complete. The UN also appealed to the executive and legislative branches to agree to compromise on the issue of separation of powers. New tensions between Ialá and Prime Minister Alamara Nhassé arose after the president dismissed a number of cabinet ministers.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2002

36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 1,316,000
Chief of state:
President Kumba Ialá (Yalla)
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Caetano N'Tchama, Faustino Imbali from March 21, and, from December 9, Alamara Nhassé

      In January 2001 the coalition between the Guinea-Bissau Resistance–Bah Fatah Movement and the Party for Social Renewal collapsed. A period of uncertainty followed until Pres. Kumba Ialá appointed Faustino Imbali the new prime minister. The new government soon ran into trouble, however, when $15 million disappeared from the treasury, and the opposition called for its resignation.After inquiries into the matter by Imbali and the National People's Assembly proved fruitless and the arrest of two Ministry of Finance employees by the attorney general's office outraged a parliamentary commission—which charged that the arrests would protect the government by preventing officials with information from appearing before the commission—calls for the government's resignation mounted, and its credibility eroded. On December 9 Imbali was fired, and the following day Interior Minister Alamara Nhassé was appointed the new prime minister.

      President Ialá was roundly criticized for suspending the activities of the Ahmadiyya Islamic group and deporting its leaders. He claimed that the Ahmadiyya was destabilizing the country's Muslim community, almost half the population. A Bissau court declared his decision unconstitutional, and both the judiciary and the parliament declared unconstitutional Ialá's dismissal of four Supreme Court judges and its president and the appointment of new ones.In August President Ialá dismissed Attorney General Rui Sanha and replaced him with former prime minister Caetano N'Tchama, who began threatening journalists from a private radio station. Meanwhile, public servants' salaries were not paid. An opposition forum warned that stability was threatened and demanded that municipal elections be held by March 2002. A rumour that Ialá wanted to replace Armed Forces Chief of Staff Verissimo Correia Seabra with Umberto Gomis led some officers to threaten war if Ialá carried out this plan.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2001

36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 1,286,000
Chief of state:
Acting President Malam Bacai Sanhá and, from February 17, President Kumba Ialá (Yalla)
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Francisco José Fadul and, from February 19, Caetano N'Tchama

      In national elections in November 1999, the Party for Social Renewal (PRS) defeated the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which had been in power since independence. With the aid of the Guinea-Bissau Resistance–Bah Fatah Movement, the PRS secured a majority in the National People's Assembly. In a runoff presidential election in January 2000, Kumba Ialá of the PRS defeated the incumbent, Malam Bacai Sanhá, by 72% to 28% of the votes cast, and he began a five-year term on February 17. His council of ministers included no members of the PAIGC; the post of prime minister went to Caetano N'Tchama of the PRS, previously minister of the interior. In late November junta leader Gen. Ansumane Mane staged an unsuccessful uprising against the government; he was shot dead in a scuffle with loyalist soldiers on November 30.

      The international community welcomed the return to democracy and a constitutional order and the peaceful transfer of power. The arrest and detention in harsh conditions in May of two journalists and the most outspoken political critic of the new government led to much criticism, however, not only by Amnesty International and others outside the country but also by members of the National People's Assembly, who accused the prime minister of acting illegally and condoning gross abuse of human rights.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2000

36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 1,206,000
Chief of state:
President João Bernardo Vieira to May 7, Gen. Ansumane Mane from May 7 to 14, and, from May 14, acting president Malam Bacai Sanhá
Head of government:
Prime Minister Francisco José Fadul

      The sacking in June 1998 of Gen. Ansumane Mane by Pres. João Bernardo Vieira for allegedly trading arms to the separatists in Senegal's Casamance province had sparked civil war in Guinea-Bissau. By November 1998 the war was over, but the country was left ravaged. That month the National People's Assembly called on Vieira to resign for calling in troops from Guinea and Senegal to help him resist the rebel attack. Then in April 1999, after these troops had been replaced by a West African ECOMOG force, Mane was cleared of the charges against him, and the assembly voted to try Vieira on the arms-trafficking charges he had leveled at Mane. Vieira spoke of holding elections in July, but in May he was overthrown in a coup, and the military under Mane took over. Vieira's ousting, much criticized internationally, took place just after a donors' conference held in Geneva and sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme had pledged $200 million for reconstruction.

      Vieira took refuge in the Portuguese embassy, and the president of the assembly, Malam Bacai Sanhá, leader of an anti-Vieira faction of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), became interim president. There was talk of putting Vieira on trial, but in June he was allowed to leave the country for The Gambia and then Portugal. The intense rivalry to replace Vieira as president of the PAIGC was won by Sanhá, who then stood as PAIGC candidate for president. Sanhá's opponent, the man who won the first-round balloting in December, was Kumba Ialá of the Party for Social Renewal.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 1999

      Area: 36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 1,206,000

      Capital: Bissau

      Chief of state: President João Bernardo Vieira

      Head of government: Prime Ministers Carlos Correia and, from December 8, Francisco José Fadul

      The worst crisis in Guinea-Bissau since the end of the war of national liberation in 1974 erupted on June 7, 1998, the day after Pres. João Bernardo Vieira sacked Ansumane Mane as chief of staff of the armed forces, alleging that he had been involved in arms trafficking and support for separatists in the Senegalese province of Casamance. The bulk of the army mutinied and began shelling the capital, Bissau. Vieira asked the Economic Community of West Africa to send a peacekeeping force, similar to that which had been sent to Liberia, to repel the rebel attacks. Instead, however, only Senegal and Guinea sent troops to support his government. Fighting spread from the capital to other parts of the country, and some 250,000 people were displaced, including perhaps half of the inhabitants of Bissau.

      After mediation by the seven-nation Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, a cease-fire was signed in late July. An agreement reached in September provided for a buffer corridor between Guinea-Bissau and Senegal that would be monitored, but rebels insisted that Senegalese troops be withdrawn from that area, and there was no real reconciliation between the two parties. Francisco Fadul, and adviser of Vieiera's who had sided with the rebels, was named prime minister in December amid calls to form a government of national reconciliation. The country's economy was gravely weakened by the devastation wrought by the war.


▪ 1998

      Area: 36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 1,179,000

      Capital: Bissau

      Chief of state: President João Bernardo Vieira

      Head of government: Prime Ministers Manuel Saturnino da Costa until May 27 and, from June 5, Carlos Correia

      On June 5, 1997, Pres. João Vieira replaced Prime Minister Manuel Saturnino da Costa, whom he had dismissed on May 27 because of a serious political crisis, with a former prime minister, Carlos Correia. The crisis that led to da Costa's dismissal and required the deployment of troops in the capital and other towns to quell rioting arose out of protests by government employees against nonpayment of wages and poor working conditions. The new prime minister carried out a series of Cabinet changes between June 6 and 14.

      A labour dispute broke out in August following Guinea-Bissau's entry into the Communauté Financière Africaine (CFA) franc zone, in which the nation gave up the peso for the CFA franc in order to improve its regional trade position. After talks with the government had failed, the nation's main trade union staged a three-day strike of government workers. The union wanted salaries to be aligned with those in the CFA franc zone in order to compensate for the sharp rise in food prices and the reduced purchasing power of workers that had resulted from the country's entry into the zone.

      This article updates Guinea-Bissau, history of (Guinea-Bissau).

▪ 1997

      A republic of West Africa, Guinea-Bissau lies on the Atlantic Ocean. Area: 36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 1,096,000. Cap.: Bissau. Monetary unit: Guinea-Bissau peso, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of 18,036 pesos to U.S. $1 (28,412 pesos = £1 sterling). President in 1996, João Bernardo Vieira; prime minister, Manuel Saturnino da Costa.

      A major government reshuffle was carried out in mid-January 1996 by Prime Minister Manuel Saturnino da Costa, who was responding to the president's request for greater government efficiency. In August demonstrations against the government took place in Bissau following a government decision to accept 44 illegal immigrants from a number of African countries after they had been expelled from Spain. The Guinea-Bissau Human Rights League protested that the government had accepted money from Spain as the price of its action.

      At the end of 1995, Guinea-Bissau ratified a 1993 agreement with its neighbour Senegal. It defined their maritime border and provided for the joint exploration of that area, which was believed to be rich in oil. (GUY ARNOLD)

      This article updates Guinea-Bissau, history of (Guinea-Bissau).

▪ 1996

      A republic of West Africa, Guinea-Bissau lies on the Atlantic Ocean. Area: 36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 1,073,000. Cap.: Bissau. Monetary unit: Guinea-Bissau peso, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of 16,036 pesos to U.S. $1 (28,513 pesos = £1 sterling). President in 1995, João Bernardo Vieira; prime minister, Manuel Saturnino da Costa.

      In mid-January 1995 the International Monetary Fund approved a number of loans equivalent to $14 million to Guinea-Bissau to extend over a three-year period in support of the government's economic reform program. The first loan of $5 million was to be disbursed in semiannual installments. On October 10 negotiations between the government and the country's principal trade union resulted in a 50% increase in the minimum salary for the public sector.

      On June 12 Pres. Abdou Diouf of Senegal visited Guinea-Bissau to bring to an end a period of mutual hostility between the two countries. Pres. João Bernardo Vieira and Diouf issued a statement promising better economic relations between the two countries and signed an accord to share equally the offshore mineral and energy resources on their joint continental shelf. The two nations agreed to joint exploitation of an offshore oilfield that straddles their territorial waters. They also reaffirmed a 20-year agreement that committed them to joint management and exploitation of their maritime zones.

      In August, Kumba Iala, the defeated candidate in the 1994 presidential elections, denounced the government for entering into preferential relations with France. He also accused the government of causing an increase in prices, especially for rice, and denounced its record on human rights.

      (GUY ARNOLD)

      This updates the article Guinea-Bissau, history of (Guinea-Bissau).

▪ 1995

      A republic of West Africa, Guinea-Bissau lies on the Atlantic Ocean. Area: 36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 1,050,000. Cap.: Bissau. Monetary unit: Guinea-Bissau peso, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 12,484 pesos to U.S. $1 (19,856 pesos = £1 sterling). President in 1994, João Bernardo Vieira; prime minister, Carlos Correia.

      On March 21, 1994, Pres. João Bernardo Vieira postponed the first multiparty presidential and legislative elections because of lack of money and delays in the registration of voters; later they were rescheduled for June 5. After further problems the elections were finally held on July 3, with 1,136 candidates vying for 100 seats in the National People's Assembly and 8 candidates, including Vieira, running for president. During the campaign the leader of the Party for Social Renovation, Kumba Iala, accused Vieira's African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) of encouraging tribalism and racism.

      Final results gave Vieira 46.2% of the vote (less than the 51% required for election) and Iala 21.88%, while the PAIGC won 64 out of the 100 seats in the Assembly. The opposition parties then decided to throw their weight behind Iala in the rerun of the presidential election. The runoff was a bitter contest between the two men; on August 20 Iala accepted defeat. According to the National Electoral Commission, Vieira polled 1,599,930 votes (52.02%), against 1,475,190 votes (47.98%) for Iala. Iala accused the PAIGC of buying votes and said that as a result he would not participate in a government of national unity.

      (GUY ARNOLD)

      This updates the article Guinea-Bissau, history of (Guinea-Bissau).

▪ 1994

      A republic of West Africa, Guinea-Bissau lies on the Atlantic Ocean. Area: 36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 1,036,000. Cap.: Bissau. Monetary unit: Guinea-Bissau peso, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of 4,964 pesos to U.S. $1 (7,520 pesos = £1 sterling). President in 1993, João Bernardo Vieira; prime minister, Carlos Correia.

      Large-scale army desertions at the end of 1992, because of appalling living conditions, served to emphasize the poor state of Guinea-Bissau's economy. Senegalese army units bombarded what they claimed were Casamance rebel bases in the São Domingos area of Guinea-Bissau in December, and two people were killed. The Guinea-Bissau government denied that it was providing assistance to the rebel Movement of Democratic Forces in Casamance (MDFC), and Senegal apologized for the incident. Diamacoune Senghor, the MDFC leader, was then expelled from Guinea-Bissau.

      On March 17, 1993, a close associate of Pres. João Vieira, Maj. Robalo de Pina (the commander of the Rapid Deployment Force), was shot dead by a subordinate. The army chief of staff said that it was an isolated incident and not a coup attempt, but the effect of the incident was to postpone the elections, which had been set for later that month. In May, however, João da Costa, the leader of the Party for Renovation and Development, was arrested and confined to a psychiatric hospital, accused of complicity in a coup plot in March. Da Costa's lawyer insisted that he was in excellent mental health and that his detention was an attempt to eliminate him from the elections; he was later released. On July 10 President Vieira announced that the elections would be held on March 27, 1994.

      (GUY ARNOLD)

      This updates the article Guinea-Bissau, history of (Guinea-Bissau).

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officially  Republic of Guinea-Bissau , Portuguese  República da Guiné-Bissau , formerly (until 1974)  Portuguese Guinea 
Guinea-Bissau, flag of country of western Africa. It is bounded by Senegal to the north, by Guinea to the east and south, and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It includes the Bijagós (Bijagós Islands) (Bissagos) Archipelago and other islands lying off the coast. The capital is Bissau.

The land


      Almost all of Guinea-Bissau is low-lying and bathed daily by tidal waters that reach as much as 62 miles (100 kilometres) inland. In the southeastern part of the country, the Fouta Djallon plateau rises approximately 600 feet (180 metres). The Boé Hills extend from the western slopes of the Fouta Djallon to the Corubal Basin and the Gabú Plain.

      The coastal area is demarcated by a dense network of drowned valleys, called rias. The Bafatá Plateau is drained by the Geba and Corubal rivers. The Gabú Plain occupies the northeastern portion of the country and is drained by the Cacheu and Geba rivers and their tributaries. The interior plains are part of the southern edge of the Sénégal River basin. The uniform elevation of the mature floodplain allows rivers to meander and renders the area susceptible to flooding during the rainy season.

      Rainfall occurs between May and October, followed by a dry season. April and May are the hottest months, with afternoon temperatures in the high 90s F (mid-30s C) at most locations. The coast has a monsoonal climate with abundant rainfall, amounting to 60 to 120 inches (1,500 to 3,000 millimetres), whereas the interior is influenced by the tropical savanna climate, with greater variation in rainfall and temperature.

Plant and animal life
      The three zones of vegetation are the coastal swamps and plains that are covered with mangrove and palm trees, the heavily forested interior plain, and the savanna found in the north.

      Guinea-Bissau has a great variety of aquatic birds, including the pelican and the flamingo. Crocodiles, snakes, gazelles, apes, parrots, hyenas, and leopards abound.

Settlement patterns
      The large majority of Guineans live in villages. In general, the ecology places severe limitations on agriculture, but Guineans have adapted to the environment in a number of complex ways. At least 19 microecologies have been identified with as many farming systems, the common feature being rice cultivation. Coastal areas specialize in saltwater varieties grown in flooded paddies.

      The Balanta Brassa, who occupy the central and southern parts of the country, are renowned as paddy rice growers. Another coastal people, the Bram (Brame), are known for their skill in farming without irrigation. The Bijagós people and the Mandyako (Manjaco) specialize in processing palm wine and palm oil, while inland Fulani (Fula) raise cattle. Fulani and Malinke (Mandinga) grow the largest volumes of peanuts (groundnuts) and cotton. Almost all peoples farm a variety of terrains, growing a number of different kinds of produce and using multicropping techniques to ensure one or more successful crops.

      The war of independence against Portugal (1963–74) uprooted many peoples. Some estimate that fully half the population was affected. The Portuguese disrupted production by superimposing a form of temporary settlement—the “strategic hamlet”—to isolate as many people as possible from the nationalist forces. In the nationalist-held territories, regroupings also took place in the forests to escape air attacks from the Portuguese. More than 100,000 people fled to Senegal or Guinea to escape the war.

The people

Ethnic and linguistic composition
      The population includes more than 20 ethnicities; the main groups are the Balanta, Fulani, Mandyako, Pepel (Papel), Bram, and Malinke. In theory, each ethnic group originally had a territory (known as chao), but conquest—first by the Malinke and then by the Fulani and their expansion toward the coast—the movement of the Balanta southward, and the war and postwar migrations have tended to complicate the settlement pattern.

      The largest and most widely spread group, the Balanta Brassa, belong to a relatively egalitarian society in which patrilineage, household, age group, and gender are important divisions. They were the most receptive to nationalist slogans of emancipation from Portuguese rule. A fiercely independent people, largely animist in belief, they constituted the most notable body of guerrilla forces during the war against Portugal. A recent grass roots movement sought renovation and change in the social structure.

      The Fulani, who may be divided into at least three subgroups, were originally pastoralists, but in the 19th century they conquered large sections of western Africa. Their society is Muslim and hierarchical. Largely impervious to Portuguese culture—but not to collaborating with the colonial administration—many of their leaders became tactical allies of the Portuguese army against the guerrillas, whom they saw as a threat to their religion, society, and traditions. Some smaller groups, however, joined the nationalists in order to emancipate themselves from the authority of elders and lords.

      The Malinke, the ancient rulers of the Senegambia, live in stratified societies of noble families; craftsmen, traders, and other professional groups; and descendants of former captives. They also converted to Islām.

      Mandyako and Pepel in the northern coastal region were among the first peoples to establish trading relations with the Portuguese. Some intermarried with them; others worked for them, adopting European customs and dress and helping to create and spread the trading language Crioulo. The Pepel, however, fiercely defended their landlord rights against the Europeans. Some of the smaller groups, such as the Biafada, Felupe, Bayot, Nalu, Susu, and Bijagós, are coastal farmers and appear to have been little influenced by either Portuguese or Islāmic culture.

      Urbanized Guineans, formerly called assimilados and numbering only a few thousand, adapted many aspects of European culture and became chiefly civil servants or white-collar workers, professions they still occupy. A formerly significant colony of Cape (Cape Verde) Verdeans immigrated during colonial times as farmer-traders, soldiers, and administrators for the Portuguese. They played a prominent role within the nationalist leadership, seeking to unite Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, but lost most of their influence after the coup in 1980. Non-Africans include Portuguese, eastern and western European, Cuban, and Brazilian technical experts and Lebanese merchants.

      Among the African languages spoken are two categories: the first includes the Mande-tan grouping and the Mande-fu grouping. The second, the Atlantic (West Atlantic) language group, includes all other African languages spoken in Guinea-Bissau. Apart from this mixture of some 20 languages and dialects, the lingua franca is Crioulo. It exerts a unifying influence in the rural areas and, along with Portuguese, is used in schools. Portuguese is the official language. Some Arabic is known by Muslim scholars.

      Traditional animist beliefs have remained strong, even among those who have formally adopted Christianity or Islām. Christianity made only a few inroads during the Portuguese colonial period. There remain a small number of Roman Catholics and a few Protestants.

      Most adherents of Islām belong to the Qādirīyah or Tijānīyah orders. Portugal supported the expansion of Islām to help counteract the influence of nationalist leaders. Since independence, the government of Guinea-Bissau has joined the Islāmic Conference and receives aid from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The Libyan government, moreover, supports the spread of Islām in a variety of ways.

Demographic trends
      The population is growing at a comparatively moderate rate for sub-Saharan Africa. It is young, with 40 percent of Guineans less than 15 years of age, portending a higher rate of growth in the near future. The average life expectancy is low, owing largely to a high infant mortality rate. About half the population is active in the work force; only about one-fourth is urban. There is a significant seasonal and permanent migration, mainly to Senegal, The Gambia, and France.

René Pélissier Rosemary Elizabeth Galli

The economy

      There has not been a comprehensive survey of mineral resources, but large deposits of bauxite in the east along the Guinean border and phosphates in the centre and northwest have been found. A lack of infrastructure has slowed mining. There is offshore prospecting for petroleum. The Corubal River has immense hydroelectric potential, and a project is planned on the Corubal at Saltinho.

Agriculture, fishing, and forestry
      The economy is largely agricultural, with good prospects for forestry and fishery development. Rice is the main staple, and export crops include peanuts, cashews, palm products, timber, and seafood. Indigenous hardwoods are the predominant forestry export. Fishing potential is estimated at nearly 250,000 metric tons per year. Most of the fishing is done by foreign vessels under license.

      Restoration of prewar levels of production has been hampered by government neglect of rural development and by trade policies that primarily benefit urban areas. Less than half the arable land is in use. Urban areas in particular have suffered food shortages, and scarce foreign exchange is used to import food.

      The amount of industry is small. Most factories produce light consumer goods.

Finance and trade
      The banking system is rudimentary but in the process of change. The Banco Nacional da Guiné-Bissau controls the money supply and has financed government deficits by expanding the supply. There are plans to restructure the system to include a central bank, a private commercial bank, and an agricultural credit bank. External financing of the national budget has been at the rate of nearly one-half the gross domestic product, and in the mid-1980s Guinea-Bissau went into arrears in servicing its national debt. Balance-of-payments difficulties increased along with the external debt. Since 1983 the government has made an effort to reorient investment priorities, reduce public spending, privatize the market, and raise producer prices. In 1987 it began a structural adjustment program under the supervision of the International Monetary Fund. Portugal has agreed to finance limited convertibility of the country's currency, the peso, and the government has applied to join the Franc Zone.

      River transport accounts for most of the commerce in the south, whereas northern and eastern areas are served mainly by roads. Both networks centre on Bissau and need upgrading. There are few paved roads and no rail lines. Bissau is the only port for oceangoing vessels, but several other coastal and river ports are regularly served by barges. The airport at Bissalanca (near Bissau) handles international air traffic, while several smaller airports and landing strips serve the interior.

Administration and social conditions

      Guinea-Bissau's constitution, promulgated in 1984, has been amended several times. Under the constitution, Guinea-Bissau is a republic. Executive power is vested in the president, who serves as the chief of state; the prime minister, who serves as the head of government; and the Council of Ministers. The president is popularly elected to serve a five-year term and appoints the prime minister. The legislative branch of government consists of the unicameral National People's Assembly; members are popularly elected to four-year terms. The judicial system comprises the Supreme Court, Regional Courts, and Sectoral Courts. For administrative purposes, Guinea-Bissau is divided into eight regiões (regions) and the autonomous sector of Bissau; the regions are further divided into sectores (sectors).

      Guinea-Bissau became a multiparty state in 1991. It had previously been a single-party state, led since independence by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). In addition to the PAIGC, other political parties active in the country include the Party for Social Renovation (PRS), the United Social Democratic Party (PUSD), the Electoral Union (UE), and the United Popular Alliance (APU).

      The government has concerned itself with providing a compulsory universal basic education consisting of six years. For those children who show scholastic promise there are five years of secondary education. Amílcar Cabral University and the University of Colinas de Boe, both founded in 2003 and based in Bissau, provide opportunities for higher education. There are also schools for teacher training, nursing, and vocational training. Only some two-fifths of school-age children attend school, however, and adult illiteracy remains high.

Health and welfare
      The state of health in Guinea-Bissau is poor. The health care system aims at providing basic medical care for all citizens and is engaged in training health workers in every village. The goal is a health post in each section, a sectoral referral system, and a regional hospital within the reach of every citizen. There are two national hospitals and one centre for psychiatric care in Bissau. The financing of the health care system is heavily dependent upon foreign assistance.

Cultural life
      Cultural life in Guinea-Bissau is mainly organized by the government. A state radio station exists, and an experimental television program is run in conjunction with the Portuguese broadcasting system. The government publishes its own newspaper, Nô Pintcha. The National Institute of Studies and Research (INEP) sponsors social and scientific investigation and publishes Soronda, a journal of Guinean studies. The national arts institute maintains a school of music and dance and sponsors frequent concerts. There is a public library and museum.

Rosemary Elizabeth Galli


Early history
      For more than a thousand years the coast of Guinea-Bissau has been occupied by iron-using agriculturists. They were particularly skilled in the production of irrigated and dry rice and were suppliers of marine salt to adjacent areas of the western Sudan. From the 13th century, coastal farmers came increasingly into contact with the outside world, first from the landward side and later from the seaward portion. The earliest recorded influences are associated with the dissolution of the Ghana empire when displaced peoples sought refuge near the coast. Later the region was loosely drawn into the sphere of the Mali empire, and regional governors called farims were appointed to impose some form of allegiance to the great Mande ruler.

      Overseas contacts with the Guinea Coast were opened by the Portuguese, starting in the 1440s. Guinea played an important role in the colonization of the Cape Verde Islands from this period. Slave labour was first used to establish plantations of cotton and indigo, and then skilled Guinea craftsmen were introduced to establish a weaving and dyeing industry. Much of the cloth was sent back to the mainland for the purchase of slaves destined for the Americas. The transatlantic slave trade was facilitated by Portuguese and lançados (people of mixed descent) who acted as intermediaries between the Guinean rulers and the visiting slave ships. In the 16th century the expansion of Mande-speaking peoples into the upper Guinea Coast area caused wars that greatly increased the number of prisoners available for export as slaves. In addition to the slave trade the country conducted some trade in salt, kola nuts, and food to the interior and ivory, wax, dyewood, and hides overseas. The main overseas buyers came from Portugal, Britain, Holland, and France.

      During the next four centuries, when the slave trade was the main economic activity of the country, the people of Guinea had little difficulty in preventing or restricting the attempts of foreign powers to establish territorial claims. A post established at Cacheu by Cape Verde traders in 1588 was given periodic support by the Lisbon government during the 17th century but did not expand. In 1687 a Portuguese post was established at Bissau in an attempt to limit French commercial competition by political, diplomatic, and military means, but that, too, failed to survive. In 1792 the English briefly and disastrously held a settlement at Bolama. Meanwhile the Portuguese had reestablished a base at Bissau and during the 19th century increasingly came to regard the coast on either side as sovereign territory.

The colonial era
      The Portuguese territorial claim in Guinea was disputed by both the British and the French. Periodic negotiation first excluded the British (1870) and then settled the boundaries with the French-claimed territories (1886 and 1902–05). These frontier agreements were followed by the slow and sometimes violent imposition of Portuguese colonial rule. The final “pacification” campaigns were fought by João Teixeira Pinto in 1913–15. These wars were followed by nearly half a century of predominantly peaceful Portuguese administration. But as African nationalism rose after World War II and neighbouring territories gained independence, Guineans again began to challenge their colonial rulers. Nationalist attacks on Portuguese administrative and military posts were instigated in July 1961 by guerrillas of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), led by Amílcar Cabral (Cabral, Amílcar). In August Cabral declared at Conakry, capital of the French-speaking Republic of Guinea, that political endeavours to obtain the liberation of Portuguese Guinea and the Cape Verde Islands from Portuguese domination would be replaced by armed struggle.

      Bitter guerrilla warfare ensued between the PAIGC National Liberation Army (about 10,000 strong) and the Portuguese armed forces (about 30,000 troops). The guerrillas were unable to occupy the coastal towns and river ports, but by 1971 they were firmly established in the interior, especially in the areas adjacent to the republics of Senegal and Guinea. In early 1973 Cabral was assassinated, and Aristides Pereira assumed PAIGC leadership.

Independent Guinea-Bissau
      By 1974, a military stalemate divided the African-ruled provinces of Guinea from the European-ruled towns. The disillusioned Portuguese army overthrew the civilian dictatorship in Lisbon and chose the former military commander in Guinea, General António Ribeiro de Spínola, to govern Portugal and negotiate independence for the African colonies. Guinea-Bissau was granted independence on September 10, 1974, and Cabral's Cape Verdean half-brother, Luís de Almeida Cabral, became president of the country. However, relations between the creolized middle class from Cape Verde and the poorer, less educated indigenous population of the coast created rising political tension, and in November 1980 a coup d'état overthrew the government of Luís Cabral and severed the PAIGC party links between mainland and islands.

David Birmingham
      Foreign and domestic affairs under the new head of state, João Bernardo Vieira, were turbulent. Despite several coup attempts in the 1980s and early '90s, some progress was made: the country's first free elections were held in 1994; a 1995 agreement with Senegal confirmed the maritime borders between the two countries; and in 1997 Guinea-Bissau joined the Communauté Financière Africaine (CFA). However, fiscal volatility caused in part by CFA membership contributed to political unrest. A brief civil war ensued, which was followed by another coup in 1999 that unseated Vieira. Subsequent elections, deemed free and fair by international observers, brought to power the nation's first non-PAIGC government, under President Kumba Ialá.

      Despite the democratic beginning, Ialá's rule became increasingly repressive. Widespread discontent with the deteriorating economic and political climate lead to his removal in a bloodless coup in September 2003. Soon after, Henrique Rosa, a businessman and virtual political newcomer, was sworn in as interim president. Under Rosa's transitional government, legislative elections were held in 2004, moving Guinea-Bissau on course toward a stable, constitutional government. While forging political peace, Rosa was faced with the task of rebuilding the country's infrastructure and improving the economy, both severely damaged from the civil war and years of political strife.


Additional Reading
For contemporary settlement and production patterns, Anne-Marie Hochet, Paysanneries en attente (1983), is unequaled. Economic and political studies include Rosemary E. Galli, “The Political Economy of Guinea-Bissau,” Africa, 59(3):371–380 (1989); and Carlos Lopes, Guinea-Bissau (1987). Works on the war for national independence include Luís Cabral, Crónica da libertação (1984); Lars Rudebeck, Guinea-Bissau: A Study of Political Mobilization (1974); and Stephanie Urdang, Fighting Two Colonialisms: Women in Guinea-Bissau (1979). Richard Lobban and Joshua Forrest, Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, 2nd ed. (1988), is a useful introduction. A comprehensive historical and contemporary survey through 1986 is Rosemary E. Galli and Jocelyn Jones, Guinea-Bissau (1987). A. Teixeira Da Mota, Guiné Portuguesa, 2 vol. (1954), is the standard work on the colonial period, with English and French summaries at the end of both volumes. Other histories include João Barreto, História da Guiné, 1418–1918 (1938); and Walter Rodney, A History of the Upper Guinea Coast, 1545–1800 (1970, reprinted 1982). See also Rosemary E. Galli, Guinea-Bissau (1990), an annotated bibliography.Rosemary Elizabeth Galli David Birmingham

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