Capital : Conakry
Size: 95 000 sq m Popn: 6 116 000
This area was part of the Mali empire of Muslim traders which flourished from the C7th to C15th, declining after the arrival of the Portuguese in the mid C15th. With France and Britain, they established the slave trade in the area. In 1849, France made the eastern Boké region a protectorate and expanded its control to form the huge French West Africa territory
The French colonized the area they knew as 'Rivers of the South' in 1891, naming it Guinea, and made it a French Overseas Territory in 1946. Nationalists were already campaigning for autonomy and Ahmed Sekou Touré was elected as vice-president of the governing council in 1957. Independence was voted for and formalised in 1958, France withdrew support and a quarter of the population was driven out by purges and the failing economy. Touré survived a several attempts to remove him including a Portuguese-backed invasion in 1970 and waged a campaign of oppression both during and after the visit of Giscard d'Estaing in 1978 when French aid projects were introduced. In 1979, he relaxed his strictly Marxist policies to allow private enterprise and began to form closer ties with the Westrn, especially France and the USA. He was re-elected without opposition in 1980.
After his death in 1984 Col. Lansana Conté took power in a coup, transforming the economy and administration. His more liberal policies persuaded many of the Guineans who had left under Touré's rule to return and loyal troops prevented a coup attempt in 1985.
Ethnic groups comprise Susu, Tenda, Kissi, Malinke and Fulu, French is the official language with Malinke, Fula and Susu also spoken and 60% of the population is Muslim, 39% follows traditional beliefs and 1% is Christian.
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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