Guinea


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Guinea

(gĭn`ē), officially Republic of Guinea, republic (2005 est. pop. 9,468,000), 94,925 sq mi (245,856 sq km), W Africa. It is bounded on the north by Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Mali; on the east by the Côte d'Ivoire; on the south by Sierra Leone and Liberia; and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. ConakryConakry
, city (1996 pop. 1,091,483), capital of Guinea and its Conakry region, SW Guinea, a port on the Atlantic Ocean. The name is also spelled Konakry. Located on Tombo island and connected with the mainland by a causeway, Conakry is Guinea's largest city and its
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 is the capital and chief city.

Land and People

A humid and tropical country, Guinea comprises an alluvial coastal plain, the mountainous Fouta DjallonFouta Djallon
or Futa Jallon
, highland region, c.30,000 sq mi (77,700 sq km), central Guinea, W Africa. Largely a rolling grassland (average alt. c.3,000 ft/910 m), the region is grazed by cattle of the Fulani. The Niger, Senegal, and Gambia rivers rise there.
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 region, a savanna interior, and the forested Guinea Highlands, which rise to c.5,800 ft (1,770 m) in the Nimba Mts. Guinea's main ethnic groups are the pastoral FulaniFulani
, people of W Africa, numbering approximately 14 million. They are of mixed sub-Saharan African and Berber origin. First recorded as living in the Senegambia region, they are now scattered throughout the area of the Sudan from Senegal to Cameroon.
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 and the agrarian Malinké, Susu, and other peoples. Although French is the country's official language, each ethnic group has its own language. About 85% of the population is Muslim; the rest are either Christian or followers of traditional religious beliefs.

Economy

Predominantly agricultural, Guinea produces rice, coffee, pineapples, palm kernels, cassava, bananas, and sweet potatoes. Livestock raising (cattle, sheep, and goats) is important in the highlands. The country has about a third of the world's bauxite deposits, which are mined jointly by Guinea and international companies. Gold, diamonds, and iron ore are also mined. Minerals account for more than 70% of all exports.

Alumina, made from bauxite, is also a leading export; other exports include fish, coffee, and a variety of agricultural products. The main imports are petroleum products, metals, machinery, transportation equipment, textiles, and grains. Guinea's chief trading partners are Russia, the United States, France, South Korea, Spain, and Belgium. Guinea has some light industry, but inadequate transportation facilities have hampered industrialization. Rail lines connect some large cities, and there are airports at Conakry and KankanKankan
, city (1996 pop. 261,341), E Guinea, a port on the Milo River, a tributary of the Niger. It is the commercial center for a farm area where rice, sesame, corn, tomatoes, oranges, mangoes, and pineapples are grown.
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. Expansion of the mineral industry has led to improvement of the road network.

Government

Guinea is governed under the constitution of 1990 (suspended after an army coup in 2008). The president, who is the head of state, is popularly elected for a seven-year term; there are no term limits. The prime minister, who is the head of government, is appointed by the president. The unicameral legislature consists of the 114-seat People's National Assembly, whose members are popularly elected for five-year terms. Administratively, the country is divided into 33 prefectures and one special zone (the capital).

History

Early History

The northeastern plains of present-day Guinea belonged to medieval GhanaGhana
, ancient empire, W Africa, in the savanna region of what is now E Senegal, SW Mali, and S Mauritania. The empire was founded c.6th cent. by Soninke peoples and lay astride the trans-Saharan caravan routes. Its capital was Kumbi Salih (in present-day SE Mauritania).
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 and later to the Mali empire (see under MaliMali
, officially Republic of Mali, independent republic (2005 est. pop. 12,292,000), 478,764 sq mi (1,240,000 sq km), the largest country in W Africa. Mali is bordered on the north by Algeria, on the east and southeast by Niger, on the south by Burkina Faso and Côte
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, History). In the early 18th cent., a FulaniFulani
, people of W Africa, numbering approximately 14 million. They are of mixed sub-Saharan African and Berber origin. First recorded as living in the Senegambia region, they are now scattered throughout the area of the Sudan from Senegal to Cameroon.
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 feudal state was established in the Fouta Djallon region. European exploration of the Guinean coast began with the Portuguese in the mid-15th cent.; by the 17th cent. French, British, and Portuguese traders were competing for slaves and by the 19th cent. for palm oil, peanuts, and other products. Anger over excessive levies exacted from French traders by local chieftains led France to proclaim a protectorate over the Boké area of Guinea in 1849. After a series of wars and agreements with other tribal chiefs, France took control of much of the rest of Guinea and annexed it under the name Rivières du Sud [rivers of the south]. In 1891 it was constituted as a French colony separate from Senegal, of which it had hitherto been a part. Its name was changed to French Guinea in 1893, and two years later it became part of French West AfricaFrench West Africa,
former federation of eight French overseas territories. The constituent territories were Dahomey (now Benin), French Guinea (now Guinea), French Sudan (now Mali), Côte d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso).
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.

Guinean resistance to French rule was not quelled until 1898, however, and sporadic revolts continued into the 20th cent. Little economic development occurred under the colonial regime until just before World War II, when exploitation of Guinea's rich bauxite deposits began. The parallel growth of a radical labor movement led to the rise of Sékou TouréTouré, Ahmed Sékou
, 1922–84, Guinean political leader, president (1958–84) of the republic of Guinea. From a poor family, Touré was labor union activist, becoming general secretary of the postal workers' union (1945).
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, a union leader who also headed the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG), a branch of the intercolonial Rassemblement Démocratique Africain.

Guinea under Sékou Touré

Under Touré's leadership, Guinea became the only colony to vote against the constitution of the French CommunityFrench Community,
established in 1958 by the constitution of the Fifth French Republic to replace the French Union. Its members consisted of the French Republic, which included metropolitan France (continental France, Corsica, Algeria and the Sahara), the overseas territories
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 in 1958 and to opt for complete independence, which was achieved on Oct. 2, 1958. France retaliated by severing relations and withdrawing all financial and technical aid. Guinea cultivated close relations with the Soviet Union but expelled the Soviet ambassador in 1961 for alleged interference in the country's internal affairs. Touré also advocated African unity and steered the country into a union (largely symbolic) with Ghana in 1958; Mali joined in 1961.

In the late 1960s, Guinea sought improved relations with the West, although its basic international posture was one of nonalignment. Touré fostered Pan-Africanism, and in 1966, when Ghana's President Kwame NkrumahNkrumah, Kwame
, 1909–72, African political leader, prime minister (1957–60) and president (1960–66) of Ghana. The son of a goldsmith, he was educated at mission schools in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and became a teacher.
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 was deposed, Touré welcomed him to Guinea as joint president. Under Touré, who held the presidency from the date of independence until his death in 1984, Guinea was a one-party Marxist-socialist republic. Touré was also head of the government and the PDG; in 1972 he relinquished the post.

In 1970 the country was invaded from Guinea-Bissau (then Portuguese Guinea) by a small force that included Guinean exiles opposed to Touré. The invasion was unsuccessful, and several political trials and executions followed. Guinea actively supported the independence movement in Guinea-Bissau, and Conakry was the movement's headquarters. In 1973, Guinea took greater control of the foreign-owned bauxite industry. Eventually, Touré's isolationist policies, brutal suppression of political opponents, and economic failures lost him public support. A softening of Touré's policies was evident toward the end of his tenure; he abandoned Marxism, normalized relations with France, and secured aid packages from both France and Arab nations.

The Conté Regime

Immediately after Touré's death, a military coup brought the Military Committee of National Recovery (CMRN) to power under Col. Lansana Conté. In 1989, under domestic and foreign pressure, Conté announced that civilian rule would be restored. Also in 1989, French funds were provided for the construction of a hydroelectric plant on the Konkouré River. A new constitution was approved in 1990, and in 1991 the CMRN was replaced by a transitional government, still under Conté.

In 1993, Conté won the presidency in the country's first multiparty presidential election, which was boycotted by some opposition groups and marred by accusations of fraud, as well as by scores of killings in the election campaign. An army revolt was put down in 1996. Conté was reelected in 1998, but the vote was denounced by opposition groups as rigged. From the mid- to late 1990s, Guinea received close to 400,000 refugees from the civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Beginning in the late 1990s, Guinea saw the gradual suspension of foreign aid to Conté's government. The loss of aid has hurt Guinea's economy.

In 2000–2001, Guinean villages along the borders of Liberia and Sierra Leone were raided by foreign rebels, and the Guinean army counterattacked across the border in retaliation. The constitution was amended in 2001 to permit the president to run for a third term; at the same time the presidential term was extended from five years to seven. In Dec., 2003, Conté was reelected; opposition candidates boycotted the election. Fighting erupted between ethnic groups in the Forest Region (SE Guinea) in mid-2004; the hostilities were aggravated by an influx of combatants from nearby Liberia, and the region remained unsettled through 2005. Meanwhile, in Jan., 2005, there was an attempt to assassinate Conté, apparently as part of a failed coup. Former Liberian leader Charles Taylor was later accused of backing the plot in revenge for Conté's support for the rebels who forced Taylor from power.

Rising prices and discontent led unions to call a five-day general strike in Feb., 2006, which ended when the government made concessions. In Apr., 2006, the ailing Conté removed his prime minister, Cellou Dalien Diallo, from office for "serious misconduct," in an apparent power struggle over reform; a reorganization of the government, which would have strengthened Diallo's position, had been announced, but it was reversed by Conté. Continued economic problems and the failure of the government to deliver on its February concessions led to a new general strike in June; the nine-day strike was marked by violence, and again ended only after government concessions.

Antigovernment strikes and demonstrations, also marked by violence, erupted again in early 2007. An 18-day strike in January ended when the president agreed to appoint a new prime minister, but when he appointed his chief of staff a second strike was called in February. Contē then agreed to appoint a prime minister acceptable to the labor unions, and Lansana Kouyaté, a diplomat, was named to the post and a new government was appointed in March. Two months later there was more than a week of rioting in the capital by soldiers, who demanded better pay and housing and the replacement of the defense minister. Legislative elections due before June, 2007, were subsequently delayed into 2008, and Conté worked to diminish the new government's powers.

In May, 2008, Conté replaced Kouyaté with Ahmed Tidiane Souaré, a political ally. The move sparked a brief army mutiny over promised but unpaid pay hikes, but it ended after the government again promised the army its back pay and fired the defense minister. When Conté died in Dec., 2008, after a long illness, the army, led by Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara, quickly seized power. Camara was named president of the junta, the National Council for Democracy and Development, and an international banker, Kabiné Komara, was named prime minister.

Camara, who had declared he would not to run for president when elections were held (postponed in Aug., 2009, to Jan., 2010), hinted in Aug., 2009, that he would run, which led to a large opposition demonstration in the capital in September. The demonstrators were brutally attacked and assaulted by Guinean troops, resulting in the death of scores and provoking an international outcry. In December, Camara was wounded in an assassination attempt and was evacuated to Morocco for treatment; Sékouba Konaté, the vice president and defense minister, was named interim leader.

In Jan., 2010, the convalescing Camara was brought to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, while Konaté negotiated with opposition leaders concerning the reestablishment of civilian rule. Jean-Marie Doré was appointed prime minister, and a mixed civilian and military interim government was formed in February. The June, 2010 presidential elections forced a runoff between former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, the largest vote-getter, and opposition leader Alpha CondéCondé, Alpha
, 1938–, Guinean political leader, president of Guinea (2010–). He lived in France from the age of 15, attended the Sorbonne, and was a professor at the Univ. of Paris.
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. The second round, however, was delayed for months by a series of issues, including the fraud convictions of two senior election commission members and tensions, including violence, involving the two candidates and their supporters.

In the November runoff, Condé was elected president, but Diallo challenged the result, charging fraud, and there were post-election clashes between supporters of the two candidates and with Guinea's security forces. International observers, however, said that they had no evidence of systematic fraud, and Guinea's supreme court rejected fraud allegations made by both candidates because of insufficient evidence. Condé subsequently named Mohamed Said Fofana as prime minister. The president survived an assassination attempt in July, 2011.

The first half of 2013 was marked by increasing tensions between the government and opposition over the delayed legislative elections (originally planned for 2011); antigovernment protests at times turned violent. In July both sides finally agreed to hold the elections in Sept., 2013. Although Condé's Rally for the Guinean People (RPG) won the election, it only secured a majority of the seats with the help of coalition allies; the supreme court again rejected the fraud allegations made by the parties. Fofana remained prime minister after the election.

In Dec., 2013, an outbreak of Ebola virus apparently began in SW Guinea near the Liberia and Sierra Leone borders, and subsequently became epidemic in many parts of Guinea and nearly all of Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing some 11,300 people in the three countries by 2015. More than 2,500 died in Guinea. Delays in the holding of local elections, which were to be held in early 2014, led to new tensions between the government and opposition in 2014 and 2015. The Oct., 2015, presidential election resulted in a first-round win for Condé. Diallo, who placed second, accused the government and the electoral commission of fraud. Fofana stepped down as prime minister in Dec., 2015; Mamady Youla, a business executive, succeeded him.

Bibliography

See C. Riviere, Guinea (1977); T. E. O'Toole, Historical Dictionary of Guinea (2d ed. 1987).


Guinea

(gĭn`ē), an archaic term for the west coast of Africa. In its widest sense it has been applied to the region from Angola to Senegal. Parts of the region bore names originating in early colonial trade, notably Grain CoastGrain Coast,
W Africa, former name of a part of the Atlantic coast that is roughly identical with the coast of modern Liberia. In the 15th cent. "grains of paradise," i.e., seeds of the melegueta pepper, became a major export item; hence the name Grain Coast.
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, Ivory Coast (see Côte d'IvoireCôte d'Ivoire
or Ivory Coast,
officially Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, republic (2005 est. pop. 17,298,000), 124,503 sq mi (322,463 sq km), W Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea of the Atlantic Ocean.
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), Gold Coast (see GhanaGhana,
officially Republic of Ghana, republic (2005 est. pop. 21,030,000), 92,099 sq mi (238,536 sq km), W Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. The capital and largest city is Accra.
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, country), and Slave CoastSlave Coast,
name given by European traders to the coast bordering the Bight of Benin on the Gulf of Guinea, W Africa. It was the principal source of slaves from W Africa from the 16th cent. to the mid-19th cent.
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. Characteristic of the coast are dense tropical forests, heavy rainfall, and a hot, humid climate. Today the term refers to the Republic of GuineaGuinea
, officially Republic of Guinea, republic (2005 est. pop. 9,468,000), 94,925 sq mi (245,856 sq km), W Africa. It is bounded on the north by Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Mali; on the east by the Côte d'Ivoire; on the south by Sierra Leone and Liberia; and on the west
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, Guinea-BissauGuinea-Bissau
, officially Republic of Guinea-Bissau, republic (2005 est. pop. 1,416,000), 13,948 sq mi (36,125 sq km), W Africa. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean in the west, on Senegal in the north, and on Guinea in the east and south.
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, and Equatorial GuineaEquatorial Guinea
, officially Republic of Equatorial Guinea, republic (2005 est. pop. 536,000), 10,830 sq mi (28,051 sq km), W central Africa. It includes the islands of Bioko (formerly Fernando Po), Annobón, Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico in the Gulf of
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.

Guinea

Official name: Republic of Guinea

Capital city: Conakry

Internet country code: .gn

 Flag description: Three equal vertical bands of red (hoist side), yellow, and green; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia

Geographical description: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone

Total area: 95,000 sq. mi. (245,860 sq. km.)

Climate: Generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds

Nationality: noun: Guinean (s); adjective: Guinean

Population: 9,947,814 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Peuhl 40%, Malinke 30%, Soussou 20%, other ethnic groups 10%

Languages spoken: French (official), local ethnic languages

Religions: Muslim 85%, Christian 8%, indigenous religions 7%

Legal Holidays:

All Saints' DayNov 1
Assumption DayAug 15
Christmas DayDec 25
Declaration of the Second RepublicApr 3
Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
Independence DayOct 2
Labor DayMay 1
New Year's DayJan 1
Organization of African Unity DayMay 25

guinea

1. 
a. a British gold coin taken out of circulation in 1813, worth 21 shillings
b. the sum of 21 shillings (?1.05), still used in some contexts, as in quoting professional fees
2. See guinea fowl

Guinea

1. a republic in West Africa, on the Atlantic: established as the colony of French Guinea in 1890 and became an independent republic in 1958. Official language: French. Religion: Muslim majority and animist. Currency: franc. Capital: Conakry. Pop.: 8 620 000 (2004 est.). Area: 245 855 sq. km (94 925 sq. miles)
2. (formerly) the coastal region of West Africa, between Cape Verde and Namibe (formerly Mo??medes; Angola): divided by a line of volcanic peaks into Upper Guinea (between The Gambia and Cameroon) and Lower Guinea (between Cameroon and S Angola)
3. Gulf of. a large inlet of the S Atlantic on the W coast of Africa, extending from Cape Palmas, Liberia, to Cape Lopez, Gabon: contains two large bays, the Bight of Bonny and the Bight of Benin, separated by the Niger delta
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My involvement in the peace building process started in 1989 when I made a phone call out of concern for one of my closest Papua New Guinea friends, Bernard Narokobi, then Minister for Justice.
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