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

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