Fast Facts

Bissau; 336,000
36,125 square kilometers (13,948 square miles)
Portuguese, Crioulo, African languages
Indigenous beliefs, Muslim, Christian
CFA franc
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $700
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Guinea-Bissau
Map: Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau, on the Atlantic coast of West Africa, has a swampy coast, with forests changing to grasslands in the east. Guerrilla warfare liberated a mix of ethnic groups from Portuguese rule in 1974. In 1994 the country's first multiparty elections were held. An army uprising four years later led to a bloody 1998-99 civil war, which caused severe damage to the nation's infrastructure. Political instability continued with a military coup in 2003. Guinea-Bissau is among the world's least developed countries, with most people engaged in subsistence agriculture and fishing—cashew nuts are the main export crop.


  • Industry: Agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks
  • Agriculture: Rice, corn, beans, cassava (tapioca); timber; fish
  • Exports: Cashew nuts, shrimp, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn lumber

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

Related Features

  • Photo: Chimpanzee

    Fongoli Chimps

    On the savannas of Senegal, chimpanzees are hunting bush babies with spearlike sticks, offering clues to our own evolution.

  • <p>Photo: Attacking hyenas</p>

    Misjudged Hyenas

    Behind the snarl lies a cagey opportunist, proficient hunter, and dutiful parent.

  • <p>Photo: A pair of hands fist pump</p>

    Hip Hop Culture

    Whether you trace it to New York's South Bronx or the villages of West Africa, hip-hop has become the voice of a generation.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

2015 Traveler Photo Contest

  • Picture of a tree under night stars in Deadvlei, Namibia

    See the Winners

    Explore the top photos, share your favorites, and browse all entries.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Get Social With Nat Geo Travel