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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.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 1,472,780 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Guinean(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Guinean

Official Language(s): Portuguese

Major Languages Spoken: Fuuta Jalon, Malinke, Mandingo, Mandinka, Portuguese

Map of Guinea-Bissau

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Republic of Guinea-Bissau

Country Name (short form): Guinea-Bissau

Country Name (local long form): Republica da Guine-Bissau

Country Name (local short form): Guine-Bissau

Name of Capital: Bissau

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Guinea-Bissau: Senegal, Guinea

Land Area: 28000 sq km

Water Area: 8120 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly less than three times the size of Connecticut

Total Land Boundry: 724 km

Coastline: 350 km

National Holiday: Independence Day, 24 September (1973)

International Phone Code: 245

Currency Code: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note

Internet Country Code: .gw

US Embassy Location: the US Embassy suspended operations on 14 June 1998 in the midst of violent conflict between forces

US Embassy Mailing Address: none


Guinea-Bissau flag

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