Guinea-Conakry

Info

Capital

Conakry

Population

611,176,026 (July 2013 est.)

Climate

Tropical

Currency

7,100 Guinean franc (GNF) = 1USD (2012 est.)

Important Cities

Farana, Kankan, Port Kamsar

Area

245,857 sq.km.

People

Nationality

Guinean

Major Peoples

Baga, Fulani

Religion

Muslim 85%, Christian 8%, African religion 7%

Literacy

41%

Principal Language

Madinka, Malinke, Susu, Fulfulde

Official Language

French

Politics

Head Of State

Alpha Condé (since 2010)

Type of Government

Republic

Date of Independence

October 2, 1958

Major Exports

Bauxite, Aluminum, Diamonds, Gold, Coffee, Fish, Agricultural Products

Precolonial History

Hunter-gatherers inhabited Guinea in prehistoric times, and migration from the Sahara region took place by 200 BCE. The Malinké people forged powerful empires—especially the Ghana, Mali, and Songhai—in the area from the 10th—15th centuries. Portuguese explorers reached Guinea in the 15th century, but its hazardous coastline prevented European expansion into the mainland until the 19th century. Civil war and Moroccan invasions split the Songhai Empire into smaller kingdoms in the late 16th century. The French began to explore Guinea in 1849. A French settlement was established on the Nunez River, and the coast was declared a protectorate. The colony was incorporated into French West Africa in 1895. By this time, the Fulani people had founded an Islamic state in central Guinea, and Samory Touré was leading the Wassoulou Empire in Malinké territory in the north. Touré led his army against the French throughout the 1880s and 1890s until his capture and exile in 1898. He died in prison two years later. The port city of Conakry became the capital of French Guinea in 1904. Political groups and labor unions mobilized for Guinean independence after World War II. Ahmed Sékou Touré, Samory Touré’s grandson, led the Parti Démocratique de Guinée (PDG) to vote for complete independence from France in 1958.

Postcolonial History

France ceded control, and Touré became the first president of the new republic. Touré’s regime, however, became a dictatorial single-party system dominated by the Malinké ethnic group. He remained in office until his death in 1984. The Military Committee of National Recovery (Comité militaire de redressement national, CMRN) seized power one week later, and abolished the constitution and the PDG. The leader of the CMRN, General Lansana Conté, became the second president of Guinea. He remained head of state amid political dissent and an assassination attempt until his death in 2008. Captain Moussa Dadis Camara staged a military coup d’état and declared himself president. He survived an assassination attempt by his security guard in 2009 and was sent into exile in Burkina Faso. Alpha Condé, the leader of the Rassemblement du Peuple Guinéen (RPG) party, was elected president in 2010 after decades of running unsuccessfully against Lansana Conté. Conté survived an assassination attempt the following year, purportedly led by the military, and removed all three military members from his cabinet in 2012.

Recommended Sources:

Ruth N. Cyr and Edgar C. Alward, Twentieth Century Africa (Lincoln: iUniverse; Writers Club Press, 2001).

Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/).