Guinea-Bissau is a state in West Africa, a former Portuguese colony, an independent state since September 24, 1973. In addition to the mainland, it includes the island of Bolama and the Bizhagos archipelago. It borders Senegal to the north and Guinea to the southeast.

Guinea-Bissau was once part of the Kaabu Kingdom and also part of the Mali Empire. Part of its territories existed in their composition until the 18th century, while some others were under the rule of the Portuguese Empire from the 16th century. In the 19th century they became part of Portuguese Guinea. Guinea-Bissau has had a history of political instability since independence, with only one elected president (Jose Mario Vaz) having successfully served a full five-year term. The current president is Umaru Shisoku Embalo, who was elected on December 29, 2019.

For 2% of the population, Portuguese is their mother tongue, and for 33% it is their second language. Guinean Creole is also widely spoken. According to a 2012 study, for 54% of the population it is native, and for about 40% the second. The rest speak various indigenous African languages. The main religions are Christianity and Islam. The country's per capita gross domestic product is one of the lowest in the world.

Guinea-Bissau is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West Africa, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Portuguese Speaking Countries, the International Organization of Francophone Countries and the South Atlantic Zone of Peace and Cooperation, and was also a member of the now defunct Latin Union.



During the colonial period, the country was part of Portuguese Guinea. After independence was declared in 1973, the country became known as Guinea-Bissau. This toponym consists of the components Guinea - the name of the geographical area where the country is located, and, to distinguish it from the neighboring state of the same name, Bissau - the name of its own capital.



Pre-colonial period

The ancient history of Guinea-Bissau is not well understood. According to archaeologists, hunter-gatherers lived in this area around 1000 AD, later they mastered agriculture using iron tools, millet and legumes. They lived in a primitive communal system, moving to slavery.


Colonial period

In 1446, a Portuguese expedition led by Nuno Trishtan, who landed on the coast of Africa, called the newly discovered land Guinea. Nunu Trishtan and part of the members of this expedition were killed by local residents. For the next 20 years, the Portuguese did not land on the coast. In 1466, the King of Portugal granted his subjects, who were developing the nearby Cape Verde Islands (now the state of Cape Verde), the right to develop Guinea.

The Portuguese from the Cape Verde Islands began to actively explore the territory of Guinea in 1471-1475 and build fortified trading posts there to defend against the natives. Later, French, English and Dutch corsairs established their bases on this coast. By the 17th century, there were several European settlements on the coast of Guinea. The most significant of them were Farin, Cacheu, Bissau, where Europeans bought slaves from local tribal leaders in exchange for metal products (household utensils, tools, jewelry). Purchased slaves were sent to the sugar and tobacco plantations of Brazil.

Despite the established trade, the natives repeatedly made attempts to capture the settlements of Europeans in order to take possession of their property. So, only during the 1840s, the natives tried three times to capture the largest base of the Portuguese - Bissau, and even the natives who converted to Christianity ("grumetash") participated in this.

The territory of Guinea was governed by the Governor of the Cape Verde Islands. In 1879, Guinea was transformed into a separate colony of Portuguese Guinea. Under the Franco-Portuguese Treaty of 1886, a significant part of the territory was ceded to France (modern Guinea).

From the beginning of the 20th century, the Portuguese colonialists began to create cities on the territory of present-day Guinea-Bissau (Bisoran, Mansaba, Fulakunda, etc.). Portuguese trading companies bought agricultural products from the natives (mainly peanuts, palm fruits), selling industrial products in return.

In 1951, the colonial status was abolished, the territory became an overseas province of Portugal. Part of the natives received the rights of citizens of the metropolis (“asimilados” - who can write in Portuguese, profess Catholicism and wear European clothes).

Since the early 1960s, in Portuguese Guinea, as well as in two other large Portuguese overseas provinces in Africa, Angola and Mozambique, an insurrectionary war has unfolded against Portugal under the leadership of the Marxist PAIGC party, ideologically close to the MPLA and FRELIMO.

The hostilities launched on the orders of the PAIGC in January 1963 proceeded in general with the advantage of the rebels. Even the assassination of PAIGC leader Amilcar Cabral on 20 January 1973 did not change this situation.

On September 24, 1973, in the territory under the control of the PAIGC, by that time accounting for 50 to 70 percent of the territory of the overseas province, in the liberated region of Madina do Boe, the National People's Assembly of Guinea-Bissau proclaimed the independent Republic of Guinea-Bissau. Luis Cabral was elected Chairman of the State Council, and Francisco Mendes was elected Chairman of the Council of State Commissioners (Prime Minister).

After a revolution took place in Portugal in April 1974, the new government of the republic on September 10, 1974 recognized the independence of Guinea-Bissau.


Period of independence

After the country gained independence, a one-party political and command-planned economic system was established in it, united with the Republic of Cape Verde, since PAIGC was the common single ruling party in both states.
Guinea-Bissau adhered to a generally pro-Soviet orientation in foreign policy, provided airfields for the transit of Cuban troops to Angola, although it refused the proposal of the Soviet side to create a naval base in the estuary of the Zheba River. At the same time, Guinea-Bissau sent a military contingent to Angola to support the government in the war with South Africa and the armed opposition.


In 1977, PAIGC introduced a monopoly on the purchase and export of palm oil, and established uniform purchase prices for rice and peanuts. As a result, the economic and financial situation of Guinea-Bissau has deteriorated sharply.
On November 14, 1980, a bloodless coup d'état took place: the chairman of the Council of State Commissioners (government) of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Juan Bernardo Vieira, removed the chairman of the State Council (parliament) of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Luis Cabral (who was arrested), other PAIGC functionaries were also removed from power from among the mulattos - immigrants from Cape Verde, who were forced to leave Guinea-Bissau.

After 1986, the liberalization of the economy began, in 1989 a new constitution was adopted, which allowed the creation of alternative political parties. In the 1990 elections, the PAIGC won by an overwhelming number of votes, but the 1990s were marked by increasing instability. In June 1998, a military coup attempt was made, clashes broke out between the rebels and government forces. The government managed to stay in power largely due to the presence in Guinea-Bissau of troops from neighboring countries - Guinea and Senegal.
In May 1999, Vieira resigned as president of the country.
In February 2000, the interim government handed over power to opposition leader Kumba Yala.
In September 2003, K. Yala was ousted in a bloodless military coup, and businessman Enrique Rosa became interim president.
In 2005, João Bernardo Vieira became president again.

After the March 1, 2009, explosion at the army headquarters building, which mortally wounded the Chief of Staff, General Tagme Na Waye, his supporters in the army stated that President Vieira “was one of the main figures responsible for the death of Tagme ". Street riots began, the military accused the president of the death of the general. On the morning of March 2, soldiers loyal to the deceased chief of staff attacked the presidential palace. João Bernardo Vieira was killed by them when he tried to leave the building of his residence.

Following these events, Malam Bakai Sanya, representing the largest PAIGC in Parliament, won the election of a new president.

On December 26, 2011, a new coup was attempted: the military attacked the General Staff building and a number of other facilities in order to seize weapons. Arrests were made among senior officers who are suspected of being involved. The head of the Navy, Admiral José Amerigo Bubo Na Chuto, who was considered the main "think tank of past performances", was arrested.

In January 2012, the seriously ill President Sagna, who for many personified a stabilizing force, died in a Paris hospital. With the death of the incumbent president, the chronic domestic political crisis and the struggle for power escalated with renewed vigor, which led to a new crisis.
In the first round of the presidential elections on March 18, the head of the ruling PAIGC, Carlos Gomes Júnior, who at the time of voting held the post of prime minister, received 49% of the vote and confidently went to victory. The second place was taken by the oppositionist, the leader of the Social Renewal Party, Mohamed Yalu Embalua, who had already held the presidency since 2000, was replaced by the military in 2003, and in 2008 converted to Islam and a new name. Yalu announced massive fraud and refused to participate in the second round of elections.
However, the second round, scheduled for April 29, did not take place.

On April 13, 2012, a military coup took place in Guinea-Bissau[17]. The military, led by Mamadou Toure Kuruma, arrested the interim president of the country, Raymondo Pereira, and former prime minister, presidential candidate Carlos Gomes Júnior, who were subsequently released and transported to Côte d'Ivoire. The junta announced the formation of the Transitional Council. Some politicians in Guinea-Bissau and international organizations, including the UN (on May 18, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution banning all members of the Military Council from leaving the country), the Commonwealth of Portuguese-speaking countries, the European Union, the African Union, ECOWAS, condemned the actions of the junta and called for the restoration the country has a constitutional order.
An agreement was signed under which, from May 11, the speaker of the National Assembly, Manuel Serif Namaggio, became interim president, who took third place in the elections.
It was expected that new elections would be held in 2014, and before them the country will be ruled by an interim government.

On October 22, 2012, a new coup attempt was announced. 7 people were killed, the government announced that Portugal and the Commonwealth of Portuguese-speaking countries were behind the attack.

On May 18, 2014, the candidate from the largest party, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), José Mario Vash, became the winner of the presidential election in the 2nd round.

A week after taking the oath as president, Vash appointed the leader of the PAIGC party that won the parliamentary elections, Domingos Simões Pereira, as the new head of government. However, the crisis continued to worsen in the country, and due to increased disagreements with the Prime Minister on the issue of crossing their duties after the transition to civilian rule, on August 20, 2015, the Pereira government was dissolved. Basiro Dha became the new prime minister, but his candidacy was met with disapproval among some members of the ruling PAIGC party, who called for protests in the capital. In this regard, on September 17, a new prime minister was appointed - Carlos Correia, who had already held this post three times before.