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Geography - People - Economy - Government - Communications - Transportation - Military - Transnational Issues

Country information - Guinea-Bissau
Country name - conventional long form : Republic of Guinea-Bissau
Country name - conventional short form : Guinea-Bissau
Country name - local long form : Republica da Guine-Bissau
Country name - local short form : Guine-Bissau
Country name - former : Portuguese Guinea
Government type : republic
Capital - name : Bissau
Capital - time difference : UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
National holiday : Independence Day, 24 September (1973)
Population : 1,503,182 (July 2008 est.)
Nationality - noun : Guinean(s)
Nationality - adjective : Guinean
Languages : Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages
Currency (code) : Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Currency code : XOF; GWP
Major infectious diseases - degree of risk : very high

Guinea-Bissau is located Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Senegal. The climate is tropical; generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds. The terrain is mostly low coastal plain rising to savanna in east.


This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends.
Background : Since independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has experienced considerable political and military upheaval. In 1980, a military coup established authoritarian dictator Joao Bernardo 'Nino' VIEIRA as president. Despite setting a path to a market economy and multiparty system, VIEIRA's regime was characterized by the suppression of political opposition and the purging of political rivals. Several coup attempts through the 1980s and early 1990s failed to unseat him. In 1994 VIEIRA was elected president in the country's first free elections. A military mutiny and resulting civil war in 1998 eventually led to VIEIRA's ouster in May 1999. In February 2000, a transitional government turned over power to opposition leader Kumba YALA, after he was elected president in transparent polling. In September 2003, after only three years in office, YALA was ousted by the military in a bloodless coup, and businessman Henrique ROSA was sworn in as interim president. In 2005, former President VIEIRA was re-elected president pledging to pursue economic development and national reconciliation.

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