Thursday, December 08, 2016

Guinea-Bissau


The name of the capital is added to distinguish Guinea-Bissau from other Guineas. Initially the Portuguese traders stuck to ports like Bissau. For a while, the British toyed with a rival foothold on the offshore island of Bolama 40 km away. An armed guerrilla rebellion started in 1956 supported by Cuba, China, the Soviet Union and other left-leaning African countries. It is hard to disentangle the story of Africa shaking off its colonial yoke and the Cold War conflict. After a long war, official independence only came after a socialist inspired military coup in Portugal in 1974. The Estada Novo was a Corporatist Authoritarian regime established in Lisbon in 1933. The regime saw the territories outside Portugal as extensions of Portugal itself. Despite its small size (between Taiwan and Belgium), it is not ethnically or linguistically homogenous. Only 14% of the population speak the official language, Portuguese. 44% speak Kriol a mixed language spoken mainly as a second language for National Identity. There are 20 minor parties. No president has successfully served a full five year term since independence. 


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