GUINEA-BISSAU (/ˈɡɪni bɪˈsaʊ/ (_ listen ), GI-nee-bi-SOW_ ),
officially the REPUBLIC OF GUINEA-BISSAU (Portuguese : _República da
Guiné-Bissau_, pronounced ), is a country in West
Africa . It covers
36,125 square kilometres (13,948 sq mi) with an estimated population
Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Gabu , as well as part
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 colonized
Guinea . Upon independence, declared in 1973 and
recognised in 1974, the name of its capital,
Bissau , was added to the
country's name to prevent confusion with
Guinea (formerly French
Guinea ). Guinea-
Bissau has a history of political instability since
independence, and no elected president has successfully served a full
Only 14% of the population speaks noncreolized Portuguese ,
established as both the official and national language. Portuguese
exists in creole continuum with Crioulo , a Portuguese creole spoken
by half the population (44%) and an even larger number speaks it as
second tongue, the remainder speak a variety of native African
languages. There are diverse religions in Guinea-
Bissau with no one
religion having a majority. The CIA World Factbook (2018) states there
are about 40% Muslims, 22% Christians, 15% Animists and 18%
unspecified or other. The country's per-capita gross domestic product
is one of the lowest in the world .
Bissau is a member of the
United Nations ,
African Union ,
Economic Community of West African States , Organisation of Islamic
Community of Portuguese Language Countries , La
Francophonie and the
South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone , and
was a member of the now–defunct
Latin Union .
* 1 History
* 1.1 Independence (1973)
* 1.2 Vieira years
* 2 Politics
* 2.1 Foreign relations
* 2.2 Military
* 2.3 Administrative divisions
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Climate
* 3.2 Environmental issues
* 4 Economy
* 5 Society
* 5.1 Demographics
* 5.3 Major cities
* 5.4 Languages
* 5.5 Religion
* 5.6 Health
* 5.7 Education
* 6 Culture
* 6.1 Media
* 6.2 Music
* 6.3 Cuisine
* 6.4 Film
* 6.5 Sports
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 Further reading
* 10 External links
Main articles: History of Guinea-
Bissau and Portuguese
Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Gabu , part 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 . Portuguese
Guinea was known as
Slave Coast , as it was a major area for the exportation of
African slaves by Europeans to the western hemisphere.
Early reports of Europeans reaching this area include those of the
Alvise Cadamosto 's voyage of 1455, the 1479–1480 voyage
by Flemish-French trader
Eustache de la Fosse , and
Diogo Cão . In
the 1480s this Portuguese explorer reached the
Congo River and the
Bakongo , setting up the foundations of modern
Angola , some
4200 km down the African coast from Guinea-Bissau.
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 trade , controlled 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. African communities
that fought back against slave traders also distrusted European
adventurers and would-be settlers. The Portuguese in
largely restricted to the port of
Cacheu . A small number
of European settlers established isolated farms along Bissau's inland
For a brief period in the 1790s, the British tried to establish a
rival foothold on an offshore island, at
Bolama . But by the 19th
century the Portuguese were sufficiently secure in
Bissau to regard
the neighbouring coastline as their own special territory, also up
north in part of present South Senegal.
An armed rebellion beginning in 1956 by the African Party for the
Cape Verde (PAIGC) under the leadership of
Amílcar Cabral gradually consolidated its hold on then Portuguese
Guinea . Unlike guerrilla movements in other Portuguese colonies ,
PAIGC rapidly extended its military control over large portions of
the territory, aided by the jungle-like terrain, its easily reached
borderlines with neighbouring allies, and large quantities of arms
China , the
Soviet Union , and left-leaning African
Cuba also agreed to supply artillery experts, doctors, and
PAIGC even managed to acquire a significant
anti-aircraft capability in order to defend itself against aerial
attack. By 1973, the
PAIGC was in control of many parts of Guinea,
although the movement suffered a setback in January 1973 when Cabral
PAIGC forces raise the flag of Guinea-
Bissau in 1974.
Independence was unilaterally declared on 24 September 1973.
Recognition became universal following 25 April 1974
socialist-inspired military coup in Portugal, which overthrew Lisbon's
Estado Novo regime .
Luís Cabral , brother of Amílcar and co-founder of PAIGC, was
appointed the first President of Guinea-
Bissau . Following
PAIGC killed thousands of local Guinean soldiers who
had fought along with the
Portuguese Army against guerrillas. Some
escaped to settle in
Portugal or other African nations. One of the
massacres occurred in the town of
Bissorã . In 1980 the PAIGC
acknowledged in its newspaper _Nó Pintcha_ (dated 29 November 1980)
that many Guinean soldiers had been executed and buried in unmarked
collective graves in the woods of Cumerá, Portogole, and Mansabá.
The country was controlled by a revolutionary council until 1984. The
first multi-party elections were held in 1994. An army uprising in May
1998 led to the Guinea-
Bissau Civil War and the president's ousting in
June 1999. Elections were held again in 2000, and
Kumba Ialá was
In September 2003, a military coup was conducted. The military
arrested Ialá on the charge of being "unable to solve the problems".
After being delayed several times, legislative elections were held in
March 2004. A mutiny of military factions in October 2004 resulted in
the death of the head of the armed forces and caused widespread
An abandoned tank from the 1998–1999 civil war in the capital
Bissau , 2003.
In June 2005, presidential elections were held for the first time
since the coup that deposed Ialá. Ialá returned as the candidate for
the PRS, claiming to be the legitimate president of the country, but
the election was won by former president
João Bernardo Vieira ,
deposed in the 1999 coup. Vieira beat
Malam Bacai Sanhá in a runoff
election. Sanhá initially refused to concede, claiming that tampering
and electoral fraud occurred in two constituencies including the
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 2005 election overall as "calm and organized".
Three years later,
PAIGC won a strong parliamentary majority, with 67
of 100 seats, in the parliamentary election held in November 2008. In
November 2008, President Vieira's official residence was attacked by
members of the armed forces, killing a guard but leaving the president
On 2 March 2009, however, 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 Wai , who had
been killed in an explosion the day before. Vieira's death did not
trigger widespread violence, but there were signs of turmoil in the
country, according to the advocacy group
Swisspeace . Military
leaders in the country pledged to respect the constitutional order of
succession. National Assembly Speaker
Raimundo Pereira was appointed
as an interim president until a nationwide election on 28 June 2009.
It was won by
Malam Bacai Sanhá of the PAIGC, against
Kumba Ialá as
the presidential candidate of the PRS.
On 9 January 2012, President Sanhá died of complications from
diabetes, and Pereira was again appointed as an interim president. On
the evening of 12 April 2012, members of the country's military staged
a coup d\'état and arrested the interim president and a leading
presidential candidate. Former vice chief of staff, General Mamadu
Ture Kuruma , assumed control of the country in the transitional
period and started negotiations with opposition parties.
Main article: Politics of Guinea-
Bissau The National People\'s
Assembly of Guinea-
Bissau is a republic . In the past, the government had been
highly centralized. Multi-party governance was not established until
mid-1991. The president is the head of state and the prime minister is
the head of government. Since 1974, no president has successfully
served a full five-year term.
At the legislative level, a unicameral _Assembleia Nacional Popular_
(National People\'s Assembly ) is made up of 100 members. They are
popularly elected from multi-member constituencies to serve a
four-year term. The judicial system is headed by a _Tribunal Supremo
da Justiça_ (Supreme Court), made up of nine justices appointed by
the president; they serve at the pleasure of the president.
The two main political parties are the
PAIGC (African Party for the
Cape Verde ) and the PRS (Party for Social
Renewal ). There are more than 20 minor parties.
Further information: Foreign relations of Guinea-
Bissau follows a nonaligned foreign policy and seeks friendly
and cooperative relations with a wide variety of states and
Further information: Military of Guinea-
A 2008 estimate put the size of the Guinea-
Bissau Armed Forces at
around 4,000 personnel.
Main articles: Regions of Guinea-
Bissau and Sectors of Guinea-
Bissau is divided into eight regions (_regiões_) and one
autonomous sector (_sector autónomo_). These, in turn, are subdivided
into 37 Sectors . The regions are:
a Autonomous sector.
Main article: Geography of Guinea-
Bissau A map of Guinea
Bissau. Bissau-Guinean landscape. Typical scenery in
Bissau is bordered by
Senegal to the north and
Guinea to the
south and east, with the
Atlantic Ocean to its west. It lies mostly
between latitudes 11° and 13°N (a small area is south of 11°), and
longitudes 13° and 17°W .
At 36,125 square kilometres (13,948 sq mi), the country is larger in
Belgium . It lies at a low altitude; its highest
point is 300 metres (984 ft). The terrain of is mostly low coastal
plain with swamps of
Guinean mangroves rising to Guinean
forest-savanna mosaic in the east. Its monsoon -like rainy season
alternates with periods of hot, dry harmattan winds blowing from the
Sahara . The
Bijagos Archipelago lies off of the mainland.
Main article: Climate of Guinea-
Bissau is warm all year around and there is little temperature
fluctuation; it averages 26.3 °C (79.3 °F). The average rainfall for
Bissau is 2,024 millimetres (79.7 in) although this is almost entirely
accounted for during the rainy season which falls between June and
September/October. From December through April, the country
Severe environmental issues include deforestation ; soil erosion;
overgrazing and overfishing.
Main articles: Economy of Guinea-
Bissau and Mining industry of
Bissau A neighborhood in Bissau.
GDP per capita
GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world ,
Human Development Index
Human Development Index is one of the lowest on earth . More
than two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line. The
economy depends mainly on agriculture; fish, cashew nuts and ground
nuts are its major exports.
A long period of political instability has resulted in depressed
economic activity, deteriorating social conditions, and increased
macroeconomic imbalances. It takes longer on average to register a new
business in Guinea-
Bissau (233 days or about 33 weeks) than in any
other country in the world except
Bissau has started to show some economic advances after a pact
of stability was signed by the main political parties of the country,
leading to an
IMF -backed structural reform program. The key
challenges for the country in the period ahead are to achieve fiscal
discipline, rebuild public administration, improve the economic
climate for private investment, and promote economic diversification.
After the country became independent from
Portugal in 1974 due to the
Portuguese Colonial War and the
Carnation Revolution , the rapid
exodus of the Portuguese civilian, military, and political authorities
resulted in considerable damage to the country's economic
infrastructure, social order , and standard of living .
After several years of economic downturn and political instability,
in 1997, Guinea-
Bissau entered the
CFA franc monetary system, bringing
about some internal monetary stability. The civil war that took place
in 1998 and 1999, and a military coup in September 2003 again
disrupted economic activity, leaving a substantial part of the
economic and social infrastructure in ruins and intensifying the
already widespread poverty. Following the parliamentary elections in
March 2004 and presidential elections in July 2005, the country is
trying to recover from the long period of instability, despite a
still-fragile political situation.
Beginning around 2005, drug traffickers based in Latin America began
to use Guinea-Bissau, along with several neighboring West African
nations, as a transshipment point to Europe for cocaine . The nation
was described by a
United Nations official as being at risk for
becoming a "narco-state ". The government and the military have done
little to stop drug trafficking, which increased after the 2012 coup
Bissau is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization
of Business Law in
Main article: Demographics of Guinea-
Guinea-Bissau's population between 1961 and 2003. (Right)
Guinea-Bissau's population pyramid , 2005. In 2010, 41.3% of
Guinea-Bissau's population were aged under 15.
According to the 2010 revision of the UN _World Population
Prospects_, Guinea-Bissau's population was 1,515,000 in 2010, compared
to 518,000 in 1950. The proportion of the population below the age of
15 in 2010 was 41.3%, 55.4% were aged between 15 and 65 years of age,
while 3.3% were aged 65 years or older.
Bissau present-day settlement pattern of the ethnic
The population of Guinea-
Bissau is ethnically diverse and has many
distinct languages, customs, and social structures.
Bissau-Guineans can be divided into the following ethnic groups:
* Fula and the Mandinka -speaking people, who comprise the largest
portion of the population and are concentrated in the north and
Balanta and Papel people, who live in the southern coastal
Manjaco and Mancanha, who occupy the central and northern coastal
Most of the remainder are _mestiços _ of mixed Portuguese and
African descent, including a Cape Verdean minority.
Portuguese natives comprise a very small percentage of
Bissau-Guineans. After Guinea-
Bissau gained independence, most of the
Portuguese nationals left the country. The country has a tiny Chinese
population. These include traders and merchants of mixed Portuguese
and Chinese ancestry from
Macau , a former Asian Portuguese colony.
Guinea-Bissau's third largest city,
Main cities in Guinea-
Main article: Languages of Guinea-
Despite being a small country Guinea-
Bissau has several ethnic groups
which are very distinct from each-other, with their own cultures and
languages. This is due that Guinea-
Bissau was a refugee territory due
to migrations within Africa. Colonization and miscegenation brought
Portuguese and the Portuguese creole, the Kriol or _crioulo_.
Although perceived as one of the national languages of Guinea-Bissau
since independence, Standard Portuguese is spoken mostly as a second
language, with few native speakers and often confined to the
intellectual and political elites. It is the language of government
and national communication as a legacy of colonial rule. Portuguese is
the only language with official status; schooling from primary to
university levels is conducted in Portugese although only 67% of
children have access to any formal education. Data suggested the
number of Portuguese speakers ranges from 11 to 15%. The Portuguese
creole is spoken by 44% which is effectively the national language of
communication among distinct groups for most of the population. The
Creole is still expanding, and it is understood by the vast majority
of the population. However, decreolization processes are occurring,
due to undergoing interference from Standard Portuguese and the creole
forms a continuum of varieties with the standard language, the most
distant are basilects and the closer ones, acrolects . A Post-creole
continuum exists in Guinea-
Bissau and Crioulo 'leve' ('soft' Creole)
variety being closer to the Portuguese-language norm.
The remaining rural population speaks a variety of native African
languages unique to each ethnicity: Fula (16%),
Manjaco (5%), Papel (3%), Felupe (1%), Beafada (0.7%),
Bijagó (0.3%), Nalu (0.1%) which form the ethnic African languages
spoken by the population. Most Portuguese and Mestiços speakers
also have one of the African languages and Kriol as additional
languages. Ethnic African languages are not discouraged, in any
situation, despite their lower prestige. These languages are the link
between individuals of the same ethnic background and daily used in
villages, between neighbors or friends, traditional and religious
ceremonies, and also used in contact between the urban and rural
populations. However, none of these languages are dominant in
Guinea-Bissau. French is taught as a foreign language in schools
Bissau is surrounded by French-speaking nations.
Bissau is a full member of the
RELIGION IN GUINEA-BISSAU, 2010
Folk religion or Unaffiliated
Men in Islamic garb,
Bafatá , Guinea-Bissau.
Throughout the 20th century, most Bissau-Guineans practiced some form
Animism . In the early 21st century, many have adopted Islam or
As of 2017, Islam is practiced by 45% of the country's population.
Most of Guinea-Bissau's Muslims are of the Sunni denomination with
approximately 2% belonging to the
Approximately 22% of the country's population belong to the Christian
community and 31% continue to hold Indigenous beliefs. However, many
residents practice syncretic forms of Islamic and Christian faiths,
combining their practices with traditional African beliefs. But
generally speaking there are diverse religions in Guinea-
no one religion having a clear majority. Muslims dominate the north
and east, while Christians dominate the south and coastal regions. The
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church claims most of Christian community.
The WHO estimates there are fewer than 5 physicians per 100,000
persons in the country, down from 12 per 100,000 in 2007.
The prevalence of HIV-infection among the adult population is 1.8%.
Only 20% of infected pregnant women receive anti retroviral coverage
to prevent transmission to newborns.
Malaria kills more residents; 9% of the population have reported
infection, It causes three times as many deaths as AIDS. In 2008,
fewer than half of children younger than five slept under antimalaria
nets or had access to antimalarial drugs .
The WHO 's estimate of life expectancy for a female child born in
2008 was 49 years, and 47 years for a boy.
Despite lowering rates in surrounding countries, cholera rates were
reported in November 2012 to be on the rise, with 1,500 cases reported
and nine deaths. A 2008 cholera epidemic in Guinea-
14,222 people and killed 225.
The 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for
was 1000. This compares with 804.3 in 2008 and 966 in 1990. The under
5 mortality rate, per 1,000 births, was 195 and the neonatal mortality
as a percentage of under 5's mortality was 24. The number of midwives
per 1,000 live births was 3; one out of eighteen pregnant women die as
a result of pregnancy. According to a 2013 UNICEF report, 50% of
Bissau had undergone female genital mutilation . In
Bissau had the 7th highest maternal mortality rate in the
Main article: Education in Guinea-
Education is compulsory from the age of 7 to 13. Pre-school education
for children between three and six years of age is optional and in its
early stages. There are five levels of education: pre-school,
elemental and complementary basic education, general and complementary
secondary education, general secondary education, technical and
professional teaching, and higher education (university and
non-universities). Basic education is under reform, and now forms a
single cycle, comprising 6 years of education. Secondary education is
widely available and there are two cycles (7th to 9th _classe_ and
10th to 11th _classe_). Professional education in public institutions
is nonoperational, however private school offerings opened, including
the _Centro de Formação São João Bosco_ (since 2004) and the
_Centro de Formação Luís Inácio Lula da Silva_ (since 2011).
Higher education is limited and most prefer to be educated abroad,
with students preferring to enroll in Portugal. A number of
universities , to which an institutionally autonomous Faculty of Law
as well as a Faculty of Medicine
Child labor is very common. The enrollment of boys is higher than
that of girls. In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 53.5%,
with higher enrollment ratio for males (67.7%) compared to females
Non-formal education is centered around community schools and the
teaching of adults. In 2011 the literacy rate was estimated at 55.3%
(68.9% male, and 42.1% female).
Carnival in Bissau.
Main article: Media of Guinea-
Main article: Music of Guinea-
The music of Guinea-
Bissau is usually associated with the
polyrhythmic gumbe genre , the country's primary musical export.
However, civil unrest and other factors have combined over the years
to keep gumbe, and other genres, out of mainstream audiences, even in
generally syncretist African countries.
The calabash is the primary musical instrument of Guinea-Bissau, and
is used in extremely swift and rhythmically complex dance music .
Lyrics are almost always in Guinea-
Bissau Creole , a Portuguese -based
creole language , and are often humorous and topical, revolving around
current events and controversies.
The word _gumbe_ is sometimes used generically, to refer to any music
of the country, although it most specifically refers to a unique style
that fuses about ten of the country's folk music traditions. Tina and
tinga are other popular genres, while extent folk traditions include
ceremonial music used in funerals, initiations and other rituals, as
Balanta brosca and kussundé, Mandinga djambadon, and the
kundere sound of the
Bissagos Islands .
Further information: Cuisine of Guinea-
Rice is a staple in the diet of residents near the coast and millet a
staple in the interior. Fruits and vegetables are commonly eaten along
with cereal grains . The Portuguese encouraged peanut production.
Vigna subterranea (Bambara groundnut) and
Macrotyloma geocarpum (Hausa
groundnut) are also grown. Black-eyed peas are also part of the diet.
Palm oil is harvested.
Common dishes include soups and stews . Common ingredients include
yams , sweet potato , cassava , onion, tomato and plantain . Spices,
peppers and chilis are used in cooking, including Aframomum melegueta
Flora Gomes is an internationally renowned film director; his most
famous film is _Nha Fala_ (English: My Voice). Gomes's _
Mortu Nega _
(_Death Denied_) (1988) was the first fiction film and the second
feature film ever made in Guinea-Bissau. (The first feature film was
_N’tturudu_, by director Umban u’Kest in 1987.) At
_Mortu Nega_ won the prestigious Oumarou Ganda Prize. _
Mortu Nega _ is
in Creole with English subtitles. In 1992, Gomes directed _Udju Azul
di Yonta_, which was screened in the
Un Certain Regard section at the
1992 Cannes Film Festival . Gomes has also served on the boards of
many Africa-centric film festivals.
Football is the most popular sport in Guinea-Bissau. The
Bissau national football team is the national team of
Bissau and is controlled by the Football Federation of
Bissau . They are a member of the Confederation of African
* Geography portal
* Outline of Guinea-
Index of Guinea-Bissau-related articles
* Transport in Guinea-
* 2010 Guinea-
Bissau military unrest
List of Bissau-Guineans
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Retrieved 22 June 2013.
* ^ China-Guinea-Bissau. China.org.cn. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Língua e Desenvolvimento: O caso
Bissau José Barbosa – Universidade de Lisboa.
* ^ Crioulo, Upper Guinea. Ethnologue.org. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
* ^ WELCOME TO THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION OF LA FRANCOPHONIE\'S
OFFICIAL WEBSITE. Francophonie.org. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
* ^ "Guinea-
Bissau – Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures
Project". Globalreligiousfutures.org. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
* ^ "Religious Composition by Country, 2010–2050 Pew Research
Center". Pewforum.org. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
* ^ CIA World Factbook entry
* ^ "The World\'s Muslims: Unity and Diversity" (PDF). Pew Forum on
Religious & Public life. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
* ^ "Guinea-Bissau", _Encyclopædia Britannica_
* ^ The WHO identified only 78 physicians in the entire
Bissau health workforce in 2009 data. ("Health workforce,
infrastructure, essential medicines" (PDF). 2010. p. 118. ) And the
World Bank estimates that Guinea-
Bissau had 1,575,446 residents in
2008. At the current rate of growth, 2009 population was expected to
reach about 1.61 million people. Only 0.0048% are known to be medical
doctors involved in patient care. The WHO estimate an average of about
20 per 100,000 across Africa, but reports a density per 10,000
Terra Nova (Newfoundland)
SOUTH AMERICA padding:0px;border-top:1px solid
Captaincy Colonies of
Rio de Janeiro
Nova Colónia do Sacramento
Grão-Pará and Maranhão
Grão-Pará and Rio Negro
Maranhão and Piauí
Portuguese Guiana (Amapá)
Upper Peru (Bolivia)
Coats of arms of Portuguese colonies
* Evolution of the
Portuguese colonial architecture