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Guinea Basic Facts - History

Guinea Basic Facts - History

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Population 2006..................................................9,690,222
GDP per capita 2006 (Purchasing Power Parity, US$)........... 2,000
GDP 2006 (Purchasing Power Parity, US$ billions)................19.4

Average annual growth 1991-97
Population (%) ....... 2.6
Labor force (%) ....... 2.2

Total Area...................................................................95,000 sq. mi.
Urban population (% of total population) ...............................31
Life expectancy at birth (years)..................................................... 46
Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)...................................... 120
Child malnutrition (% of children under 5) ..............................24
Access to safe water (% of population) ..................................... 66
Illiteracy (% of population age 15+) ...........................................64

Guinea Pig Facts

Guinea pigs, also called cavies, are a domesticated species of rodent (Cavia porcellus). They were originally native to South America. However, they have been popular for thousands of years as pets and as food, and this species no longer exists in the wild.

The Incas domesticated Guinea pigs more than 3,000 years ago. They bred them as pets and for food and offered them as sacrifices to their gods, according to Sharon Lynn Vanderlip, author of "The Guinea Pig Handbook" (Barron's, 2003). Selective breeding resulted in variations in coat color, patterns and texture, as well as flavor subtleties, Vanderlip wrote. Around the end of the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors took Guinea pigs from South America to Europe, where they became popular pets among Elizabethan society, according the National Geographic.



Equatorial Guinea, formerly Spanish Guinea, consists of Ro Muni (10,045 sq mi 26,117 sq km), on the western coast of Africa, and several islands in the Gulf of Guinea, the largest of which is Bioko (formerly Fernando Po) (785 sq mi 2,033 sq km). The other islands are Annobn, Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico. The total area is twice that of Connecticut.


The mainland was originally inhabited by Pygmies. The Fang and Bubi migrated there in the 17th century and to the main island of Fernando Po (now called Bioko) in the 19th century. In the 18th century, the Portuguese ceded land to the Spanish that included Equatorial Guinea. From 1827 to 1844, Britain administered Fernando Po, but it was then reclaimed by Spain. Ro Muni, the mainland, was not occupied by the Spanish until 1926. Spanish Guinea, as it was then called, gained independence from Spain on Oct. 12, 1968. It is Africa's only Spanish-speaking country.

Equatorial Guineans Suffer Under Dictatorship

From the outset, President Francisco Macas Nguema, considered the father of independence, began a brutal reign, destroying the economy of the fledgling country and abusing human rights. Calling himself the ?Unique Miracle,? Nguema is considered one of the worst despots in African history. In 1971, the U.S. State Department reported that his regime was ?characterized by abandonment of all government functions except internal security, which was accomplished by terror this led to the death or exile of up to one-third of the population.? In 1979, Nguema was overthrown and executed by his nephew, Lieut. Col. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Obiang has been gradually modernizing the country but has retained many of his uncle's dictatorial practices, including the amassing of personal wealth by siphoning it from the public coffers. In 2003, state radio compared him to God.

New Economic Prosperity Benefits Only President Mbasogo

A recent offshore oil boom resulted in the economy's growth by 71.2% in 1997, the first year of the petroleum bonanza, and it has sustained this phenomenal rate of growth. Between 2002 and 2005, the GDP skyrocketed from $1.27 billion to $25.69 billion. It is unlikely, however, that the country's new wealth will benefit the average citizen?the president's family and cronies control the industry.

In 2004, about 70 mercenaries, including Eton-educated, former member of Britain's Special Air Services Simon Mann, attempted to overthrow the authoritarian president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. The coup attempt failed, and those involved were arrested and jailed. Mann was convicted in July 2008 and sentenced to 34 years in prison. He was pardoned and released in November 2009.

Amid accusations of corruption and mismanagement, the entire government of Prime Minister Ricardo Mangue Obama Nfubea resigned in July 2008. President Obiang named Ignacio Milam Tang as prime minister. President Obiang was reelected in November 2009.

Interesting facts about Guinea

Guinea is a country on the western coast of Africa.

The official name of the country is the Republic of Guinea.

The country is sometimes referred to as Guinea-Conakry in order to distinguish it from other parts of the wider region of the same name, such as Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea.

Guinea is bordered by Guinea-Bissau to the northwest, Senegal to the north, Mali to the northeast, Ivory Coast to the southeast, Liberia and Sierra Leone to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

The official language is French.

As of 1 January 2017, the population of Guinea was estimated to be 13,123,767 people.

It is the 77th largest country in the world in terms of land area with 245,836 square kilometers (94,918 square miles).

Conakry is the capital and largest city of Guinea. Conakry is a port city on the Atlantic Ocean and serves as the economic, financial and cultural centre of Guinea.

Guinea is divided into four geographic regions: Maritime Guinea (Lower Guinea) a coastal plain running north to south behind the coast the pastoral Fouta Djallon highlands (Middle Guinea) the northern savanna (Upper Guinea) and a southeastern rain-forest region (Forest Guinea).

Mount Richard-Molard is a mountain along the border of Ivory Coast and Guinea in West Africa. The highest peak for both countries and the Nimba Range is at 1,752 meters (5,750 feet).

The Niger River, the Gambia River, and the Senegal River are among the 22 West African rivers that have their origins in Guinea.

Guinea Coast has 320 kilometers (200 miles) of coastline.

Situated a few hours’ drive northeast of Conakry, Cape Verga has some of the country’s best beaches. Since the arrival of a large hotel commissioned by Guinea’s President Alpha Conte, Bel Air Beach isn’t the unspoiled haven it once was. Nearby Sobane beach has cheaper and less intrusive beachside accommodations. Between these beaches is a mostly deserted stretch of sand that visitors can explore at will.

Îles de Los are an island group lying off Conakry. The islands are best known for their beaches and forested interiors and are popular with tourists. Ferries sail to the Los from Conakry.

The network of protected areas in Guinea covers about 35.6% of the national territory (87,500 square kilometers / 33,785 square miles). It is made up of 3 national parks and other types of protected areas.

Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve is a protected area and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in both Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire, extending over a total of area of 17,540 hectares (43,340 acres), with 12,540 hectares (30,985 acres) in Guinea, and 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres) in Côte d’Ivoire. The reserve covers significant portions of the Nimba Range, a geographically unique area with unusually rich flora and fauna, including exceptional numbers of single-site endemic species, such as viviparous toads, and horseshoe bats.

Kambadaga Falls is spectacular, 249 meters (817 feet) tall and 69 meters (226 feet) wide waterfall. The waterfalls crash over three separate falls and they’re surrounded by jungle where monkeys and a wealth of colorful birds are common.

The Conakry Grand Mosque is a mosque in Conakry. The mosque was built under Ahmed Sékou Touré with funding from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. It opened in 1982. It is the fourth largest mosque in Africa and the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. The mosque has 2,500 places on the upper level for women and 10,000 below for men. An additional 12,500 worshipers can be accommodated in the mosque’s large esplanade.

The land that is now Guinea belonged to a series of African empires until France colonized it in the 1890s, and made it part of French West Africa.

Despite several attempts by locals to overthrow the French government, Guinea was still incorporated into the French West Africa in the early 1900’s and was called French Guinea. During the time, railroad and port facilities were established, and the territory became a major export channel. Further industrialization came in the 1950’s, when Guinea discovered iron mining.

Guinea declared its independence from France on 2 October 1958.

The etymology of “Guinea” is uncertain. The English term Guinea comes directly from the Portuguese word Guiné, which emerged in the mid-15th century to refer to the lands inhabited by the Guineus, a generic term for the black African peoples south of the Senegal River.

Guinea is richly endowed with minerals, possessing an estimated quarter of the world’s proven reserves of bauxite, more than 1.8 billion metric tons (2.0 billion short tons) of high-grade iron ore, significant diamond and gold deposits, and undetermined quantities of uranium.

Guinea’s mineral wealth makes it potentially one of Africa’s richest countries, but its people are among the poorest in West Africa.

The majority of Guineans work in the agriculture sector, which employs approximately 75% of the country.

Guinea is a predominantly Islamic country, with Muslims representing 85 percent of the population.

The population of Guinea comprises about 24 ethnic groups.

Guinean cuisine varies by region with rice as the most common staple.

Football is the most popular sport in Guinea. Their national football team is called Syli Nationale which literally means National Elephants.

President: Alpha Conde

Alpha Conde became president in 2010 after a lifelong battle against a series of despotic and military regimes which sent him into exile and prison. It was Guinea's first democratic election since gaining independence from France in 1958.

However, the vote kindled ethnic tensions, as Mr Conde hails from the Malinke ethnic group, which makes up 35% of the population. The defeated, Cellou Dalein Diallo, is a member of the Peul ethnic group, to which 40% of Guineans belong.

Mr Diallo has repeatedly accused the president of sidelining his constituents, including many Peul.

Both allies and critics alike acknowledge his charisma and intelligence, but some also describe him as authoritarian and impulsive, someone who rarely listens to others and often acts alone.

His supporters however consider him untainted, a "new man" who has never had the opportunity to "participate in the looting of the country."

He was elected for a second term in 2015, but faced protests four years later when he tried to change the constitution and run for a third term.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. While Western education and employment in the formal sector have limited the strength of traditional social orderings, the legacies of caste groupings and domestic slavery continue to shape social relations. In Middle and Upper Guinea, professional artisans such as blacksmiths, leatherworkers, and bards form a social caste. Precolonial social categories are also evident in areas where the descendents of slaves live in the farming villages that were inhabited by their bonded ancestors. In most of the country, marriage between noble women and men of lower status is frowned upon. These traditional rankings have weakened as education, employment, and monetary wealth have created new social hierarchies.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Under the regime of Touré, most people were poor and corruption and embezzlement were forbidden and punished. With the opening of the country under President Conté, the gap between rich people and poor people has increased. A small but significant segment of the population has benefitted from the investment programs that have been started since the mid-1980s. Automobiles and large houses, sometimes equipped with electric generators and swimming pools, symbolize the wealth of the elite sector. Expatriate professionals form a significant part of this sector. The affluence of the wealthy contrasts sharply with the lifestyle of the rest of the people, many of whom do not have access to electricity, running water, and sanitary services.

Outside of Conakry, symbols of success vary according to region and relative means. In small villages, a wealthy household may invest in a concrete house with a corrugated aluminum roof. In this setting, acquiring a bicycle or a motorcycle can demonstrate prosperity while fulfilling practical needs. Sometimes villages or neighborhoods pool their resources to build mosques or schools. In both urban and rural areas, men may use their wealth to take another wife.


Miracle on May 06, 2019:

Joseph on April 01, 2019:

Good day Sheila. This piece of information on the guineas is great. I try farming guineas.

julia on March 03, 2019:

So my question is will a tree roosting guinea survive possums and raccoons

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 23, 2017:

Hello, Gaby. In the wild, guinea will not try to mate with anything but another guinea. However, if kept in an enclosure together, guinea and chickens have mated before and the result is called a guin-hen. This is quite rare and the result is not a healthy or nice looking bird. I have never heard of a guinea mating with a turkey, but I won&apost say it has never happened. Thank you for stopping by! :)

Gaby on May 18, 2017:

Can guinea mate with chickens or turkeys?

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on March 09, 2017:

That&aposs cool! This guinea hung out with the turkey for several weeks, then he just disappeared! I hope he found his way back home! :)

Col on March 09, 2017:

I just had a Helmeted Guinea fowl walk into my rural land here and has decided to stay for a while, living with the freehold chook&aposs and rooster.

Maybe might go "walk about" again soon.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on December 03, 2015:

That is interesting. Here, many people raise them for food. I would prefer to keep them for eggs and a burglar alarm! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on December 03, 2015:

I wish this one would have stayed around, but after a couple of weeks, he just seemed to disappear. I think he must have tired of hanging out with the turkey and went home. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on December 02, 2015:

Thank you Cornelia! Guinea fowl are rather comical birds. The one we had visiting here has since either moved on or gone back home, we haven&apost seen if for a while now. Thank you for stopping by! (By the way, I enjoy your photography on TSU!) :)

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 01, 2015:

Interesting and fascinating about the Guinea fowl. In South Africa the Guinea Fowl is a protected species. Therefore, it is not allowed to hurt these lovely birds.

Korneliya Yonkova from Cork, Ireland on November 05, 2015:

Amazing hub. Never have heard of Guinea Fowl. It is so funny that they watch themselves in the mirror and their keets look so sweet, just like little ducklings. :)

Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on October 29, 2015:

My parents had a guinea fowl pair when I was young. They were interesting and different and lived amongst the hens but did their own thing if I remember correctly. We thought they were rather exotic and I do remember them raising an alarm whenever something was out of the ordinary. I rather liked them!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on October 28, 2015:

Great info Sheila. I have heard of the Guinea Fowl but knew very little about them. Interesting creature.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on October 20, 2015:

You are so welcome, Deb! I&aposm glad I could fill in a few things for you! Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful day! :)

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on October 17, 2015:

So glad that you put this together, Sheila. I knew that the birds existed, I have seen them, and my egg supplier gives me some of the eggs once in a while. I really knew very little about them, so you filled in a lot. Thanks!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on October 13, 2015:

Thank you and you&aposre welcome, Shauna! It&aposs really a shame they have such beautiful feathers and such an ugly head! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 12, 2015:

What an unusual bird!They&aposre so ugly they&aposre cute. I haven&apost seen any around here, but we certainly have enough food for them in the surrounding landscape.

You&aposve taken some beautiful photos of your visitors, Sheila. Thanks for the education!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on October 10, 2015:

They do have beautiful feathers, but such an ugly little head. I always enjoy seeing them when we drive around in the county. We have never owned any, but I would really like to some day. Thank you for stopping by, Blossom and have a wonderful day!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on October 10, 2015:

They are good burglar alarms! Most people in the country keep them to let them know of snakes, coyotes and other egg eating predators. Some keep them mainly for grasshopper and tick control, which is one big reason I would like to have some!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on October 10, 2015:

How funny, Mel. I had to go back and look at my picture, you&aposre right he seems to be floating in air. I did not do any editing except to crop the picture a bit and brighten up the color. I don&apost know where his legs are. LOL

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on October 10, 2015:

They are noisy birds, aren&apost they! I don&apost know if they would stay home or not either. I have to stand corrected, I was told by Dr. Mark that the guinea eggs were a bit smaller than chicken eggs and I&aposm sure he would know. I have corrected my hub and not using that source any longer for information. Thank you for stopping by, Jackie! :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on October 09, 2015:

My dogs are famous for catching birds. I couldn&apost stand knowing they caught a guinea that we had brought home. I would love to get rid of the ticks around here. This past summer hasn&apost been bad, but last year was horrible! I will have to fix that information on my hub, apparently my resource was incorrect. Thank you for that information and for stopping by and commenting. Have a wonderful day!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on October 09, 2015:

Thank you, moonlake! I wish we could have some guinea here on our place, but with two big dogs I&aposm afraid the guineas would meet an ugly death. Thanks for stopping by and the share! :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on October 09, 2015:

Thanks you so much, Patricia! I had heard and seen guinea many times over the years, but I learned a few things about them doing my research. I&aposm glad you enjoyed my hub and thank you for everything! :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on October 09, 2015:

Thanks, Audrey! They are kind of ugly, except for their beautiful polka dot feathers. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on October 09, 2015:

Love the pretty feathers. Years ago when our children were small my husband decided to keep guinea fowl as well as our hens and rooster, different kinds of pheasants and our son&aposs pigeons. They were great fun, especially as our back neighbour complained about the noise of the rooster crowing, but she didn&apost know what the latest addition was, so kept quiet! We were delighted when we visited Cape Town to see them running wild in the undergrowth of the Botanical Gardens. Interesting article.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 09, 2015:

In a neighboring community where there is a lot of crime and drug activity people keep them for the reasons you mentioned. Crazy. Interesting that they aren&apost good mothers.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on October 09, 2015:

I haven&apost seen any guinea fowl out here in our neck of the woods yet. I&aposm not understanding the physics of your picture up on top. Where are the bird&aposs legs, it looks like it is floating in the branches, but I don&apost see wing movement. Do Guinea Fowl defy gravity too? Great hub!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on October 08, 2015:

This is great to find out more about these birds. There is a flock of them near me and they come visiting quite often. What a sound! lol I am considering having a couple but I don&apost know how I would keep them home with another flock so near. Had no idea their eggs were that big, I assumed they would be small!

Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on October 08, 2015:

Just in case you are interested, as long as you are willing to keep them away from your dogs the first four months they are safe after that. They can fly and dogs ALMOST never get them. (If you allow your females to nest outside they will probably get killed by racoons and other nocturnal wildlife.)

I do not know if you have Ehrlichia (Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) in the area where you live in, but if you do keep a few birds you will never have a tick problem again. Much better than Frontline.

Also, their eggs are smaller than chicken eggs.

moonlake from America on October 08, 2015:

I love Guinea wish I had one. They could sure take care of the ticks around here. I found a deer tick on my dog today. Deer bed down all around here and I can&apost keep my dogs out of their beds and I know that&aposs where they get the ticks. I had Frontline on the dogs but guess they&aposre ready for more.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on October 08, 2015:

Not the cutest face but gorgeous feathering. I have heard of them but have never seen one up close and personal.

What a wonderful hub full of interesting details I did not know about these creatures.

Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

Audrey Howitt from California on October 08, 2015:

Ugly, but look at those feathers! Very cool post!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 08, 2015:

Kinda ugly, aren&apost they? LOL That&aposs just what we need, another bird on our urban farm. :) Next for us are doves, but even they will have to wait until next spring. I&aposm taking the winter off from building aviaries. Thanks for the information.

A thriving animal habitat

The Archipel de Bolama, part of the Guinea-Bissau Archipelago of 88 islands is a complex recognized as one of UNESCO MAB (Man and Biosphere) Biosphere Reserves. The area serves as a natural habitat of thousands of bats residing in abandoned ruins left behind after the Portuguese colonization.

Bats are not the only animals occupying Bolama, hippopotamus and many birds can be seen on the land while bottle-nose dolphin, African manatee, green turtle, Nile crocodile, and numerous fish species thrive in the waters.

Apart from being naturally preserved, containing rich wildlife, and preserving historic ruins, the place also has attractive beaches. All of this makes Archipel de Bolama a popular tourist destination.

1. It is the only country in Africa to have Spanish as an official language.

Equatorial Guinea was a Spanish colony on 2 separate occasions: between 1778 and 1810 and from 1844 to 1968. Because of its long influence over the country, Spanish has remained an important language. In fact, Equatorial Guinea is the only country in Africa where Spanish is an official language. Approximately 67.6% of the population can speak it. Spanish is the language used for public administration and education.


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