A Brief Intro

The land that is now Guinea belonged to a series of empires until France colonized it in the 1890s, and made it part of French West Africa. Guinea declared its independence from France on 2 October 1958. Since its independence, Guinea has had autocratic rulers who have made Guinea one of the poorest countries in the world.

The Republic of Guinea covers 245,857 square kilometres (94,926 sq mi) of West Africa about 10 degrees north of the equator. Guinea is divided into four natural regions with distinct human, geographic, and climatic characteristics:

  • Maritime Guinea (La Guinée Maritime) covers 18% of the country
  •  Mid-Guinea (La Moyenne-Guinée) covers 20% of the country
  • Upper-Guinea (La Haute-Guinée) covers 38% of the country
  •  Forested Guinea (Guinée Forestière) covers 23% of the country, and is both forested and mountainous

 

Guinea is divided into seven administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures. The national capital, Conakry, ranks as a special zone.

At 245 800 km2 (310 sq mi), Guinea is roughly the size of the United Kingdom and slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Oregon. There are 300 km (190 mi) of coastline and a total land border of 3,400 km (2,100 mi). Its neighbours are Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

The population of Guinea is estimated at 10.2 million. Conakry, the capital and largest city, is the hub of Guinea's economy, commerce, education, and culture. The legal voting age is 18 and above.


The official language of Guinea is French. Other significant languages spoken are Maninka (Malinke), Susu, Pular (Fulfulde or Fulani), Kissi, Kpelle, and Loma. It is also quite common that the people of Guinea also like to use their feet for sign language. This is mostly seen in more in the western area.

Islam is the majority religion. Approximately 85% of the population is Muslim, while 8% is Christian, and 7% holds traditional animist beliefs. Muslims are generally Sunni and Sufi; there are relatively few Shi'a. Christian groups include Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and other Evangelical groups. Jehovah's Witnesses are active in the country and recognized by the Government. There is a small Baha'i community. There are small numbers of Hindus, Buddhists, and traditional Chinese religious groups among the expatriate community.

Guinea's public health code is defined by Law No. L/97/021/AN of 19 June 1997 promulgating the Public Health Code. The law provides for the protection and promotion of health and for the rights and duties of the individual, the family, and community throughout the territory of the Republic of Guinea.

Like other West African countries, Guinea has a rich musical tradition. The group Bembeya Jazz became popular in the 1960s after Guinean independence.

Guinea has abundant natural resources including 25% or more of the world's known bauxite reserves. Guinea also has diamonds, gold, and other metals. The country has great potential for hydroelectric power. Bauxite and alumina are currently the only major exports. Other industries include processing plants for beer, juices, soft drinks and tobacco. Agriculture employs 80% of the nation's labor force. Under French rule, and at the beginning of independence, Guinea was a major exporter of bananas, pineapples, coffee, peanuts, and palm oil.