Various peoples lived in the area of today’s Guinea even before our era. Around 900 peoples of the Mande languages came to Guinea from the northeast. The Susu settled in Lower Guinea, in the coastal region. Mandinka settled in Upper Guinea, in the east. This distribution still exists today.
West African Empires: Susu, Mali and Songhai
In Fouta Djallon, the Guinean highlands in the center of the country, the Susu empire came into being in the 12th century. In the 13th century, in 1235, the northeastern part of Guinea came under the rule of the great Mali Empire. His successor, the Songhai Empire, also comprised the northeast of what is now Guinea.
The Fulbe in Fouta Djallon
The Susu were driven back west from the center of the country by Fulbe in the 18th century. Unlike most Fulbe, the Fulbe settled in Guinea and still live today in the highlands of Fouta Djallon. The Fulbe founded an Islamic state. There were two capital cities: Labé and Timbo. The king of Labé, Alpha Yaya, allowed the colonization by the French and in return was allowed to remain ruler of Labé. When France ceded part of its territory to Portugal, Alpha Yaya wanted to defend itself against it. Then he was taken out of the country by the French in 1905. That was the end of the empire of Fouta Djallon.
Europeans in West Africa
Portuguese were the first Europeans to come to West Africa and were soon trading briskly. But that happened further north, in today’s Senegal and Gambia. From 1850, more and more French people came to Guinea. France wanted to secure a stretch of coast between the Portuguese areas in the north and the British areas in the south.
The French then advanced inland from the coast. But in the east they met fierce opposition. Samory Touré had built an empire for himself in 1878, the Wassoulou Empire. Fierce fighting broke out between 1880 and 1893, which finally ended with the victory of France.
French colony: French Guinea
As early as 1885 France had a governor take his seat in Conakry. In 1891 Guinea finally became a French colony. The country became part of French West Africa as French Guinea.
History of Guinea from independence until today
In 1958 Charles de Gaulle became President of France. The colonies were given the choice of continuing to bind themselves closely to France or of becoming independent immediately and foregoing support from France. Guinea decided in a referendum for immediate independence – as the only one of the French colonies.
Ahmed Sékou Touré – President 1958-1984
Ahmed Sékou Touré was the great-grandson of Samory Touré. He had been politically active since the 1940s. In 1956 he became a member of the French National Assembly for Guinea. On October 2, 1958, Touré became the first President of Guinea. There was a break with France. Touré built a socialist state, his PDG (Democratic Party of Guinea) became a unity party. Political opponents were persecuted, tortured and killed under Touré’s dictatorial rule. Many Guineans fled the country. Touré died in 1984.
Lansana Conté – reign 1984-2008
Prime Minister Béavogui succeeded Touré in office, but a few days later a military coup took place that brought Lansana Conté to power. The colonel turned away from socialism. In 1991 a new constitution came into force. Further parties have now been admitted. In 1993 elections were held and Conté won. This and the coming elections were not considered free and democratic.
During the civil war in the neighboring countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia, both rebels and refugees came to Guinea in large numbers. Economically and politically, Guinea was on the brink. Corruption spread and extreme price increases took place. The resistance against Conté in the country grew steadily. There were numerous strikes. Conté died in 2008.
The military now took power in Guinea. Several changes of power followed. Elections took place in June 2010, for the first time in a really democratic way. Alpha Condé, a longtime opposition leader, became president. Parliamentary elections were held in September 2013.
2014 broke one in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia Ebola – epidemic of. It began in southeast Guinea, a country located in Africa according to naturegnosis. Several thousand people died from the disease.