Guinea Bissau is a West African country. It is bathed by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and is bordered by Senegal to the north and Guinea to the east and south. Its surface is 36 120 km2 , including the archipelago of Bijagós. The main cities are Bissau, the capital, with 388 000 residents (2009), Bafatá (22 521 residents), Gabú (14 430 residents), Mansôa (7821 residents) And Catió (9898 residents). The relief of the country is predominantly flat, with the coast deeply cut by wide estuaries. The Bijagós archipelago is a string of islands scattered off the coast.
In the coastal lowlands, the climate is humid tropical, with high rainfall. Inland, the climate is dry tropical, with a shorter rainy season.
The country’s main economic activity is agriculture. The crops for export are acaju nut and peanut while rice, sweet potato, cassava, corn, sorghum and sugarcane support the domestic market.
The industry is also in a state of underutilization, based on small industries of food products (such as frozen fish and preserves), palm oil, shelled peanuts, textiles and drinks.
On the other hand, sectors such as fishing and forestry have excellent prospects for development. Guinea-Bissau’s main trading partners are Portugal, India, the Netherlands and China.
Environmental indicator: the value of carbon dioxide emissions, per capita (metric tons, 1999), is 0.2.
The population was, in 2009, 1 449 230 residents, which is equivalent to a population density of 39.2 residents/km2. The birth and death rates are, respectively, 37.22% and 16.53%. Average life expectancy is 46.87 years. The value of the Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.373 and the value of the Gender-adjusted Development Index (IDG) is 0.353 (2001). It is estimated that, in 2025, the population will be 2 200 000 residents. The main ethnic groups in Guinea-Bissau are the Balantas (27%), the Fulas (23%), the Mandingas (12%), the Manjacos (11%) and the Papers (10%). Traditional beliefs are followed by 54% of the population, while Muslims account for 38% and Christians account for 8%. The official language is Portuguese.
In fact, and even though the origin of this country goes back more than 1000 years ago (when the Guinean coastal zone was occupied by farmers specialized in rice culture and salt production, later forming the Gabu kingdom, under the influence of the Mali empire), the Portuguese are due to explore this territory. In 1446, Diogo Gomes and Luís de Cadamosto arrived at the great rivers of present-day Guinea-Bissau, but it was only 20 years later that the Portuguese Crown formalized its sovereignty over the then “Guinea of Cape Verde”, in order to ensure trade in slaves, first to the Cape Verde islands, later to Brazil. However, Portugal had to fight against the interests of France and England over the territory, two powers that frequently boycotted Portuguese activities, as happened in the exploration of the factories of Cacheu (1588) and Bissau (1687). The first negotiations took place in 1870, but only between Portugal and France, coming to fruition only in 1905. However, Portugal was imposing its territorial ambitions, often through force, managing, in 1915, to define the current Guinean borders. For Guinea-Bissau democracy and rights, please check getzipcodes.
The widespread peace experienced over the next five decades was interrupted when, in 1961, the first attacks by nationalist guerrillas against the Portuguese administration took place. This movement, led by Amílcar Cabral, founder of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), was inspired by the growth of African nationalism and the consequent independence of neighboring countries, such as Ghana and French Guinea. It was, moreover, in the capital of this country (Conakri) that Amílcar Cabral, in August 1961, declared an armed struggle against the colonizing power. And until 1974 (one year after Cabral’s assassination), there was a war in the territory, which would lead to independence on September 10 of that year, a fact related, above all, to the overthrow of the dictatorial regime that lived in Portugal. Luís de Almeida Cabral, Cape Verdean and half brother of Amílcar Cabral, became the first president of Guinea-Bissau, but in 1980, Guinean João Bernardo Vieira led a coup that broke with the Cape Verde / Guinea Bissau. The new president of the Council of State, commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and secretary-general of the PAIGC, was concerned, from then on, to reestablish cultural and political ties with Portugal, as a means of economic restructuring of the country.
Until 1991, a Constitution was in force that allowed only the existence of the PAIGC; this situation has changed in order to avoid dissatisfaction on the part of the four main ethnic groups, the Balantas Bassa, the Fulas, the Mandingas and the Manjacos, although the formation of parties with tribal, regional or even religious roots was not authorized.
On March 21, 1994, Vieira postponed the first multiparty presidential and legislative elections, arguing with insufficient logistical and economic conditions. The elections ended on July 3 of that year, with Vieira’s main opponent being the leader of the Social Renewal Party (PRS), Kumba Ialá. The first results gave Vieira an insufficient victory, which forced a second round to be held, the results of which, although all opposition parties supported Ialá, were favorable to Vieira, who obtained more than 52% of the votes.
Between June and August 1998, Guinea-Bissau experienced a period of civil war. A group of military personnel from the armed forces, led by Ansumane Mané, revolted against the policy of President Nino Vieira, who reacted to the attack using the support of Senegalese forces to fight the rebels.
Despite the ceasefire, signed on August 25, 1998, military offensives continued and, in May 1999, Nino Vieira applied for asylum to Portugal, which allowed him to enter the country. The Junta Militar, which then governed Guinea-Bissau, did not authorize Vieira’s departure without first going through a trial in a national court. In the January 2000 elections, the PAIGC leader lost to Kumba Ialá, one of the founders of the PRS, who became president of the country until September 2003, when he resigned after a military coup to overthrow him. In the face of the country’s economic and social crisis, the Armed Forces chief of staff claimed Kumba Ialá’s inability to resolve the most pressing problems of the Guinean people. A Military Committee for the Reposition of the Constitutional and Democratic Order (CMROCD) was created, which announced two names for the positions of interim President of the Republic and Prime Minister, Henrique Rosa and Artur Sanha (Secretary General of the PRS), respectively. In the legislative elections held in late March 2004, the winner was PAIGC, led by Carlos Gomes Júnior, who did not reach an absolute majority. After six years in exile, Nino Vieira returned to the country and decided to run for the presidential elections in July 2005, which gave him the victory, becoming once again the president of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. At the end of October of the same year, Carlos Gomes Júnior was dismissed by the head of state and replaced by Aristides Gomes as prime minister.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Guinea-Bissau, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Guinea-Bissau. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Guinea-Bissau
Check out the country, shaded relief and political maps of this Western African country, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Senegal.
Newafrica.com – Maps of Guinea-Bissau
Presents administrative, detailed and a travel map of this African country. Includes general facts about the country.
University of Texas Library – Guinea-Bissau
Check out this large and detailed political map of this African country.