Guinea Bissau - Encyclopedia Information
Official name Republic of Guinea-Bissau
Formation 1974 / 1974
Population 1.6 million / 147 people per sq mile (57 people per sq km)
Total area 13,946 sq. miles (36,120 sq. km)
Languages Portuguese Creole, Balante, Fulani, Malinké, Portuguese*
Religions Traditional beliefs 50%, Muslim 40%, Christian 10%
Ethnic mix Balante 30%, Fulani 20%, Other 16%, Mandyako 14%, Mandinka 13%, Papel 7%
Government Presidential system
Currency CFA franc = 100 centimes
Literacy rate 52%
Calorie consumption 2288 kilocalories
Guinea-Bissau is on the west coast of Africa with Senegal to the north. The Portuguese were the colonising force on the mainland, but we did have a go at setting ourselves up on the island of Bolama in May 1792. Things didn’t exactly start well. Two ships brought 275 colonists, including fifty-seven women and sixty-five children, to Bolama. But an attack by locals scared off most of the would-be colonists leaving fifty-two men, thirteen women and twenty-six children to press on. For a while. By late 1793, only a tiny number of colonists remained and finally in November the last of them packed up and left. In 1814 we gave it another go, but that didn’t work either.
In 1860, we decided again we had been a bit premature and declared the island annexed to Sierra Leone, which we controlled. Unfortunately for British hopes, a commission under Ulysses S. Grant (yes, him) decided that the Portuguese should have it, not us, and that was pretty much the end, from our point of view, of trying to grab parts of what is now Guinea-Bissau.