Maurice Delafosse was a French ethnographer and colonial official who worked in the field of the languages of Africa. In a review of his daughter's biography of him he was described as "one of the most outstanding French colonial administrators and ethnologists of his time." Delafosse was born December 1870 in the village of Sancergues in central France. He was the son of Elise Marie Bidault, he had five siblings. Delafosse is known for his contributions to African languages, he began his study of Arabic in 1890 at the École des langues orientales with the renowned orientalist, Octave Houdas. He traveled to Algeria in 1891 with the Frères armés du Sahara, a Catholic organization concerned with combating the Trans-Saharan slave trade. Shortly afterwards, he spent one year in the French military as a zouave, second class, before returning to his formal studies at the École des langues orientales. After receiving his diploma, he was appointed as an assistant to Indigenous Affairs in the new French colony of Côte d'Ivoire.
For a period the future ethnologist Charles Monteil was his assistant in the Côte d'Ivoire. Delafosse had disagreements with the French government over the administration of French Africa, and, as a result, was "more or less banned from the colonies" for a large part of his life. Hubert, Lucien. Delafosse, Manuel dahoméen: grammaire, dictionnaire français-dahoméen et dahoméen-français, Paris: E. Leroux. Delafosse, Essai sur le peuple et la langue sara, Paris: J. André. Available from the Internet Archive here. Delafosse, Les Vaï: leur langue et leur système d'écriture, Paris: Masson. Available from the Internet Archive here. Delafosse, Essai de manuel pratique de la langue mandé ou mandingue: étude grammaticale du dialecte dyoula, vocabulaire français-dyoula... étude comparée des principaux dialectes mandé, Paris: E. Leroux. Available from the Internet Archive here. Delafosse, Manuel de langue haoussa ou Chrestomathie haoussa. Delafosse, Vocabulaires comparatifs de plus de 60 langues ou dialectes parlés à la Côte d'Ivoire et dans les régions limitrophes, Paris: E. Leroux.
Available from the Internet Archive here. Delafosse, Les frontières de la Côte d'Ivoire, de la Côte d'Or, et du Soudan, Paris: Masson. Available from the Open Library. Delafosse, Haut-Sénégal-Niger: Le Pays, les Peuples, les Langues. 3 Vols, Paris: Émile Larose. Gallica: Volume 1, Le Pays, les Peuples, les Langues. Houdas, Octave. Tarikh el-fettach par Mahmoūd Kāti et l'un de ses petit fils, Paris: Ernest Leroux. Volume 1 is the Arabic text, Volume 2 is a translation into French. Reprinted by Maisonneuve in 1964 and 1981; the French text is available from Aluka but requires a subscription. Delafosse, Maurice, "La question de Ghana et la Mission Bonnel de Mézières", Annuaire et Mémoires du Comité d'Etudes historiques et scientifique de l'AOF: 40–61 Delafosse, Les noires de l'Afrique, Paris: Payot. Available from the Internet Archive here. Delafosse, Maurice, L'âme nègre, Paris: Payot. Delafosse, Les nègres, Paris: Rieder. Delafosse, Maurice, "La numération chez les Nègres", Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, 1: 387–390, JSTOR 1155640.
Works by or about Maurice Delafosse at Internet Archive List of publications on WebAfrique
In historical linguistics, an Urheimat is the area of origin of the speakers of a proto-language, the parent language of a group of languages assumed to be genetically related. Depending on the age of the language family under consideration, its homeland may be known with near-certainty or it may be uncertain; the reconstruction of a prehistorical homeland makes use of a variety of disciplines, including archaeology and archaeogenetics. The concept of a "homeland" of a given language family implies a purely genealogical view of the development of languages; this assumption is reasonable and useful, but it is by no means a logical necessity, as languages are well known to be susceptible to areal change such as substrate or superstrate influence. Over a sufficient period of time, in the absence of evidence of intermediary steps in the process, it may be impossible to observe linkages between languages that have a shared urheimat: given enough time, natural language change will obliterate any meaningful linguistic evidence of a common genetic source.
This general concern is a manifestation of the larger issue of "time depth" in historical linguistics. For example, the languages of the New World are believed to be descended from a "rapid" peopling of the Americas within a few millennia, but their genetic relationship has become obscured over the more than ten millennia which have passed between their separation and their first written record in the early modern period; the Australian Aboriginal languages are divided into some 28 families and isolates for which no genetic relationship can be shown. The Urheimaten reconstructed using the methods of comparative linguistics estimate separation times dating to the Neolithic or later, it is undisputed that developed languages were present throughout the Upper Paleolithic, into the deep Middle Paleolithic. These languages would have spread with the early human migrations of the first "peopling of the world", but they are no longer amenable to linguistic reconstruction; the Last Glacial Maximum has imposed linguistic separation lasting several millennia on many Upper Paleolithic populations in Eurasia, as they were forced to retreat into "refugia" before the advancing ice sheets.
After the end of the LGM, Mesolithic populations of the Holocene again became more mobile, most of the prehistoric spread of the world's major linguistic families seem to reflect the expansion of population cores during the Mesolithic followed by the Neolithic Revolution. The Nostratic languages theory is the best-known attempt to expand the deep prehistory of the main language families of Eurasia to the beginning of the Holocene. First proposed in the early 20th century, the Nostratic theory still receives serious consideration, but it is by no means accepted; the more recent and more speculative ""Borean" hypothesis attempts to unite Nostratic with Dené–Caucasian and Austric, in a "mega-phylum" that would unite most languages of Eurasia, with a time depth going back to the Last Glacial Maximum. The argument surrounding the "Proto-Human language" is completely detached from linguistic reconstruction, instead surrounding questions of phonology and the origin of speech. Time depths involved in the deep prehistory of all the world's extant languages are of the order of at least 100,000 years.
The concept of an Urheimat only applies to populations speaking a proto-language defined by the tree model. This is not always the case. For example, in places where language families meet, the relationship between a group that speaks a language and the urheimat for that language is complicated by "processes of migration, language shift and group absorption are documented by linguists and ethnographers" in groups that are themselves "transient and plastic." Thus, in the contact area in western Ethiopia between languages belonging to the Nilo-Saharan and Afroasiatic families, the Nilo-Saharan-speaking Nyangatom and the Afroasiatic-speaking Daasanach have been observed to be related to each other but genetically distinct from neighboring Afroasiatic-speaking populations. This is a reflection of the fact that the Daasanach, like the Nyangatom spoke a Nilo-Saharan language, with the ancestral Daasanach adopting an Afroasiatic language around the 19th century. Creole languages are hybrids of languages.
Similarities arise from the creole formation process, rather than from genetic descent. For example, a creole language may lack significant inflectional morphology, lack tone on monosyllabic words, or lack semantically opaque word formation if these features are found in all of the parent languages of the languages from which the creole was formed; some languages are language isolates. That is to say, they have no well accepted language family connection, no nodes in a family tree, therefore no known Urheimat. An example is the Basque language of Northern Spain and south west France, it is a scientific fact that all languages evolve. An unknown Urheimat may still be hypothesized, such as that for a Proto-Basque, may be defended by archaeological and historical evidence. Sometimes relatives are found for a language believed to be an isolate. An example is the Etruscan language, which though only understood, is believed to be related to the Rhaetic language and to the Lemnian language. A
The Sahara is a desert located on the African continent. It is the largest hot desert in the world, the third largest desert overall after Antarctica and the Arctic, its area of 9,200,000 square kilometres is comparable to the area of the United States. The name'Sahara' is derived from a dialectal Arabic word for ṣaḥra; the desert comprises much of North Africa, excluding the fertile region on the Mediterranean Sea coast, the Atlas Mountains of the Maghreb, the Nile Valley in Egypt and Sudan. It stretches from the Red Sea in the east and the Mediterranean in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, where the landscape changes from desert to coastal plains. To the south, it is bounded by the Sahel, a belt of semi-arid tropical savanna around the Niger River valley and the Sudan Region of Sub-Saharan Africa; the Sahara can be divided into several regions including: the western Sahara, the central Ahaggar Mountains, the Tibesti Mountains, the Aïr Mountains, the Ténéré desert, the Libyan Desert.
For several hundred thousand years, the Sahara has alternated between desert and savanna grassland in a 41,000 year cycle caused by the precession of the Earth's axis as it rotates around the Sun, which changes the location of the North African Monsoon. The area is next expected to become green in about 15,000 years. There is a suggestion that the last time that the Sahara was converted from savanna to desert it was due to overgrazing by the cattle of the local population; the Sahara covers large parts of Algeria, Egypt, Mali, Niger, Western Sahara and Tunisia. It covers 9 million square kilometres, amounting to 31% of Africa. If all areas with a mean annual precipitation of less than 250 mm were included, the Sahara would be 11 million square kilometres, it is one of three distinct physiographic provinces of the African massive physiographic division. The Sahara is rocky hamada. Wind or rare rainfall shape the desert features: sand dunes, dune fields, sand seas, stone plateaus, gravel plains, dry valleys, dry lakes, salt flats.
Unusual landforms include the Richat Structure in Mauritania. Several dissected mountains, many volcanic, rise from the desert, including the Aïr Mountains, Ahaggar Mountains, Saharan Atlas, Tibesti Mountains, Adrar des Iforas, the Red Sea Hills; the highest peak in the Sahara is Emi Koussi, a shield volcano in the Tibesti range of northern Chad. The central Sahara is hyperarid, with sparse vegetation; the northern and southern reaches of the desert, along with the highlands, have areas of sparse grassland and desert shrub, with trees and taller shrubs in wadis, where moisture collects. In the central, hyperarid region, there are many subdivisions of the great desert: Tanezrouft, the Ténéré, the Libyan Desert, the Eastern Desert, the Nubian Desert and others; these arid areas receive no rain for years. To the north, the Sahara skirts the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt and portions of Libya, but in Cyrenaica and the Maghreb, the Sahara borders the Mediterranean forest and scrub eco-regions of northern Africa, all of which have a Mediterranean climate characterized by hot summers and cool and rainy winters.
According to the botanical criteria of Frank White and geographer Robert Capot-Rey, the northern limit of the Sahara corresponds to the northern limit of date palm cultivation and the southern limit of the range of esparto, a grass typical of the Mediterranean climate portion of the Maghreb and Iberia. The northern limit corresponds to the 100 mm isohyet of annual precipitation. To the south, the Sahara is bounded by the Sahel, a belt of dry tropical savanna with a summer rainy season that extends across Africa from east to west; the southern limit of the Sahara is indicated botanically by the southern limit of Cornulaca monacantha, or northern limit of Cenchrus biflorus, a grass typical of the Sahel. According to climatic criteria, the southern limit of the Sahara corresponds to the 150 mm isohyet of annual precipitation. Important cities located in the Sahara include the capital of Mauritania; the Sahara is the world's largest low-latitude hot desert. It is located in the horse latitudes under the subtropical ridge, a significant belt of semi-permanent subtropical warm-core high pressure where the air from upper levels of the troposphere tends to sink towards the ground.
This steady descending airflow causes a drying effect in the upper troposphere. The sinking air prevents evaporating water from rising, therefore prevents adiabatic cooling, which makes cloud formation difficult to nearly impossible; the permanent dissolution of clouds allows thermal radiation. The stability of the atmosphere above the desert prevents any convective overturning, thus making rainfall non-existent; as a consequence, the weather tends to be sunny and stable with a minimal chance of rainfall. Subsiding, dry air masses associated with subtropical high-pressure systems are unfavorable for the development of convectional showers; the subtropical ridge is the predominant factor that explains the hot desert climate (Köppen climate classifica
The Gambia the Republic of The Gambia, is a country in West Africa, entirely surrounded by Senegal with the exception of its western coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. It is the smallest country within mainland Africa; the Gambia is situated on both sides of the lower reaches of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the centre of The Gambia and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. It has an area of 10,689 square kilometres with a population of 1,857,181 as of the April 2013 census. Banjul is the Gambian capital and the largest cities are Serekunda and Brikama; the Gambia shares historical roots with many other West African nations in the slave trade, the key factor in the placing and keeping of a colony on the Gambia River, first by the Portuguese, during which era it was known as A Gâmbia. On 25 May 1765, The Gambia was made a part of the British Empire when the government formally assumed control, establishing the Province of Senegambia. In 1965, The Gambia gained independence under the leadership of Dawda Jawara, who ruled until Yahya Jammeh seized power in a bloodless 1994 coup.
Adama Barrow became The Gambia's third president in January 2017, after defeating Jammeh in December 2016 elections. Jammeh accepted the results refused to accept them, which triggered a constitutional crisis and military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States, resulting in his exile; the Gambia's economy is dominated by farming and tourism. In 2015, 48.6% of the population lived in poverty. In rural areas, poverty is more widespread, at 70%; the name "Gambia" is derived from the Mandinka term Kambra/Kambaa. According to the CIA World Factbook, the US Department of State, the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World and the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use, The Gambia is one of few countries whose self-standing short name for official use should begin with the word "The". Upon independence in 1965, the country used the name The Gambia. Following the proclamation of a republic in 1970, the long-form name of the country became Republic of The Gambia.
The administration of Yahya Jammeh changed the long-form name to Islamic Republic of The Gambia in December 2015. On 29 January 2017 President Adama Barrow changed the name back to Republic of The Gambia. Arab traders provided the first written accounts of the Gambia area in the ninth and tenth centuries. During the tenth century, Muslim merchants and scholars established communities in several West African commercial centres. Both groups established trans-Saharan trade routes, leading to a large export trade of local people as slaves gold and ivory, as well as imports of manufactured goods. By the 11th or 12th century, the rulers of kingdoms such as Takrur, a monarchy centred on the Senegal River just to the north, ancient Ghana and Gao had converted to Islam and had appointed to their courts Muslims who were literate in the Arabic language. At the beginning of the 14th century, most of what is today called The Gambia was part of the Mali Empire; the Portuguese reached this area by sea in the mid-15th century, began to dominate overseas trade.
In 1588, the claimant to the Portuguese throne, António, Prior of Crato, sold exclusive trade rights on the Gambia River to English merchants. Letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I confirmed the grant. In 1618, King James I of England granted a charter to an English company for trade with the Gambia and the Gold Coast. Between 1651 and 1661, some parts of the Gambia were under the rule of the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia belonging to Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth—modern-day Latvia—and were bought by Prince Jacob Kettler. During the late 17th century and throughout the 18th century, the British Empire and the French Empire struggled continually for political and commercial supremacy in the regions of the Senegal River and the Gambia River; the British Empire occupied the Gambia when an expedition led by Augustus Keppel landed there following the Capture of Senegal in 1758. The 1783 First Treaty of Versailles gave Great Britain possession of the Gambia River, but the French retained a tiny enclave at Albreda on the river's north bank.
This was ceded to the United Kingdom in 1856. As many as three million people may have been taken as slaves from this general region during the three centuries that the transatlantic slave trade operated, it is not known how many people were taken as slaves by intertribal wars or Muslim traders before the transatlantic slave trade began. Most of those taken were sold by other Africans to Europeans: some were prisoners of intertribal wars. Traders sent people to Europe to work as servants until the market for labour expanded in the West Indies and North America in the 18th century. In 1807, the United Kingdom abolished the slave trade throughout its empire, it tried, unsuccessfully, to end the slave trade in the Gambia. Slave ships intercepted by the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron in the Atlantic were returned to the Gambia, with people, slaves released on MacCarthy Island far up the Gambia River where they were expected to establish new lives; the British established the military post of Bathurst in 1816.
In the ensuing years, Banjul was at times under the jurisdiction of the British Governor-General in Sierra Leone. In 1888, The Gambia became a separate colony. An agreement with the French Republic in 1889 established the present boundaries; the Gambia became a British Crown colony called Briti
Guinea-Bissau the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, is a country in West Africa that covers 36,125 square kilometres with an estimated population of 1,815,698. Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Gabu, as well as part of the Mali Empire. Parts of this kingdom persisted until the 18th century, while a few others were under some rule by the Portuguese Empire since the 16th century. In the 19th century, it was colonized as Portuguese Guinea. Upon independence, declared in 1973 and recognised in 1974, the name of its capital, was added to the country's name to prevent confusion with Guinea. Guinea-Bissau has a history of political instability since independence, no elected president has served a full five-year term. Only 14% of the population speaks noncreolized Portuguese, established as both the official and national language. Portuguese exists in creole continuum with Crioulo, a Portuguese creole spoken by half the population and an larger number speaks it as second tongue; the remainder speak a variety of native African languages.
There are diverse religions in Guinea-Bissau with no one religion having a majority. The CIA World Factbook states there are about 40% Muslims, 22% Christians, 15% Animists and 18% unspecified or other; the country's per-capita gross domestic product is one of the lowest in the world. The sovereign state of Guinea-Bissau is a member of the United Nations, African Union, Economic Community of West African States, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Community of Portuguese Language Countries, La Francophonie and the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, was a member of the now-defunct Latin Union. Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of part of the Mali Empire. Other parts of the territory in the current country were considered by the Portuguese as part of their empire. Portuguese Guinea was known as the Slave Coast, as it was a major area for the exportation of African slaves by Europeans to the western hemisphere. Early reports of Europeans reaching this area include those of the Venetian Alvise Cadamosto's voyage of 1455, the 1479–1480 voyage by Flemish-French trader Eustache de la Fosse, Diogo Cão.
In the 1480s this Portuguese explorer reached the Congo River and the lands of Bakongo, setting up the foundations of modern Angola, some 4200 km down the African coast from Guinea-Bissau. Although the rivers and coast of this area were among the first places colonized by the Portuguese, who set up trading posts in the 16th century, they did not explore the interior until the 19th century; the local African rulers in Guinea, some of whom prospered from the slave trade, controlled the inland trade and did not allow the Europeans into the interior. They kept them in the fortified coastal settlements. African communities that fought back against slave traders distrusted European adventurers and would-be settlers; the Portuguese in Guinea were restricted to the ports of Bissau and Cacheu. A small number of European settlers established isolated farms along Bissau's inland rivers. For a brief period in the 1790s, the British tried to establish a rival foothold on an offshore island, at Bolama, but by the 19th century the Portuguese were sufficiently secure in Bissau to regard the neighbouring coastline as their own special territory up north in part of present South Senegal.
An armed rebellion, begun in 1956 by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde under the leadership of Amílcar Cabral consolidated its hold on the Portuguese Guinea. Unlike guerrilla movements in other Portuguese colonies, the PAIGC extended its military control over large portions of the territory, aided by the jungle-like terrain, its reached borderlines with neighbouring allies, large quantities of arms from Cuba, the Soviet Union, left-leaning African countries. Cuba agreed to supply artillery experts and technicians; the PAIGC managed to acquire a significant anti-aircraft capability in order to defend itself against aerial attack. By 1973, the PAIGC was in control of many parts of Guinea, although the movement suffered a setback in January 1973 when Cabral was assassinated. Independence was unilaterally declared on 24 September 1973. Recognition became universal following 25 April 1974 socialist-inspired military coup in Portugal, which overthrew Lisbon's Estado Novo regime.
Luís Cabral, brother of Amílcar and co-founder of PAIGC, was appointed the first President of Guinea-Bissau. Following independence, the PAIGC killed thousands of local Guinean soldiers who had fought alongside the Portuguese Army against the guerrillas; some escaped to settle in other African nations. One of the massacres occurred in the town of Bissorã. In 1980 the PAIGC acknowledged in its newspaper Nó Pintcha that many Guinean soldiers had been executed and buried in unmarked collective graves in the woods of Cumerá, Mansabá; the country was controlled by a revolutionary council until 1984. The first multi-party elections were held in 1994. An army uprising in May 1998 led to the Guinea-Bissau Civil War and the president's ousting in June 1999. Elections were held again in 2000, Kumba Ialá was elected president. In September 2003, a military coup was conducted; the military arrested Ialá on the charge of being "unable to solve the problems". After being delayed several times, legislative elections were held in March 2004.
A mutiny of military factions in October 2004 resulted in the death of the head of the armed forces and caused widespread unrest. In June 2005
Liberia the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the West African coast. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to its northwest, Guinea to its north, Ivory Coast to its east, the Atlantic Ocean to its south-southwest, it has a population of around 4,700,000 people. English is the official language and over 20 indigenous languages are spoken, representing the numerous ethnic groups who make up more than 95% of the population; the country's capital and largest city is Monrovia. Liberia began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society, who believed black people would face better chances for freedom and prosperity in Africa than in the United States; the country declared its independence on July 26, 1847. The U. S. did not recognize Liberia's independence until February 1862, during the American Civil War. Between January 7, 1822, the American Civil War, more than 15,000 freed and free-born black people who faced legislated limits in the U. S. and 3,198 Afro-Caribbeans, relocated to the settlement.
The black settlers carried their tradition with them to Liberia. The Liberian constitution and flag were modeled after those of the U. S. On January 3, 1848, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a wealthy, free-born African American from Virginia who settled in Liberia, was elected as Liberia's first president after the people proclaimed independence. Liberia was the first African republic to proclaim its independence, is Africa's first and oldest modern republic. Liberia retained its independence during the Scramble for Africa. During World War II, Liberia supported the United States war efforts against Germany and in turn, the U. S. invested in considerable infrastructure in Liberia to help its war effort, which aided the country in modernizing and improving its major air transportation facilities. In addition, President William Tubman encouraged economic changes. Internationally, Liberia was a founding member of the League of Nations, United Nations, the Organisation of African Unity; the Americo-Liberian settlers did not relate well to the indigenous peoples they encountered those in communities of the more isolated "bush".
The colonial settlements were raided by the Grebo from their inland chiefdoms. Americo-Liberians developed as a small elite that held on to political power, the indigenous tribesmen were excluded from birthright citizenship in their own lands until 1904, in a repetition of the United States' treatment of Native Americans; the Americo-Liberians promoted religious organizations to set up missions and schools to educate the indigenous peoples. Political tensions from the rule of William R. Tolbert resulted in a military coup in 1980 during which Tolbert was killed, marking the beginning of years-long political instability. Five years of military rule by the People's Redemption Council and five years of civilian rule by the National Democratic Party of Liberia were followed by the First and Second Liberian Civil Wars; these resulted in the deaths of 250,000 people, the displacement of many more, shrunk Liberia's economy by 90%. A peace agreement in 2003 led to democratic elections in 2005, in which Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected President.
National infrastructure and basic social services have been impacted by previous conflict, with 83% of the population living below the international poverty line. The Pepper Coast known as the Grain Coast, has been inhabited by indigenous peoples of Africa at least as far back as the 12th century. Mende-speaking people expanded westward from the Sudan, forcing many smaller ethnic groups southward toward the Atlantic Ocean; the Dei, Kru and Kissi were some of the earliest documented peoples in the area. This influx of these groups was compounded by the decline of the Western Sudanic Mali Empire in 1375 and the Songhai Empire in 1591; the area now called Liberia was a part of the Kingdom of Koya from 1450 to 1898. As inland regions underwent desertification, inhabitants moved to the wetter coast; these new inhabitants brought skills such as cotton spinning, cloth weaving, iron smelting and sorghum cultivation, social and political institutions from the Mali and Songhai empires. Shortly after the Mane conquered the region, the Vai people of the former Mali Empire immigrated into the Grand Cape Mount County region.
The ethnic Kru opposed the influx of Vai, forming an alliance with the Mane to stop further influx of Vai. People along the coast built canoes and traded with other West Africans from Cap-Vert to the Gold Coast. Arab traders entered the region from the north, a long-established slave trade took captives to north and east Africa. Between 1461 and the late 17th century, Portuguese and British traders had contacts and trading posts in the region; the Portuguese named the area Costa da Pimenta but it came to be known as the Grain Coast, due to the abundance of melegueta pepper grains. European traders would barter goods with local people. In the United States there was a movement to resettle free-born blacks and freed slaves who faced racial discrimination in the form of political disenfranchisement and the denial of civil and social privileges in the United States. Most whites and a small cadre of black nationalists believed that blacks would face better chances for freedom in Africa than in the U.
S. The American Colonization Society was founded in 1816 in Washington, DC for this purpose by a group of prominent politicians and slaveholders, but its membership grew to include people who supported the abolition of slavery. Slaveholders wanted to get free people of color out of the South, where they were thought to threaten the stability of the slave societie
Guinea the Republic of Guinea, is a west-coastal country in West Africa. Known as French Guinea, the modern country is sometimes referred to as Guinea-Conakry in order to distinguish it from other countries with "Guinea" in the name and the eponymous region, such as Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea. Guinea has an area of 245,860 square kilometres; the sovereign state of Guinea is a republic with a president, directly elected by the people and is head of state and head of government. The unicameral Guinean National Assembly is the legislative body of the country, its members are directly elected by the people; the judicial branch is led by the Guinea Supreme Court, the highest and final court of appeal in the country. The country is named after the Guinea region. Guinea is a traditional name for the region of Africa, it ends at the Sahel. The English term Guinea comes directly from the Portuguese word Guiné, which emerged in the mid-15th century to refer to the lands inhabited by the Guineus, a generic term for the black African peoples below the Senegal River, as opposed to the'tawny' Zenaga Berbers, above it, whom they called Azenegues or Moors.
Guinea is a predominantly Islamic country, with Muslims representing 85 percent of the population. Guinea's people belong to twenty-four ethnic groups. French, the official language of Guinea, is the main language of communication in schools, in government administration, the media, but more than twenty-four indigenous languages are spoken. Guinea's economy is dependent on agriculture and mineral production, it is the world's second largest producer of bauxite, has rich deposits of diamonds and gold. The country was at the core of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Human rights in Guinea remain a controversial issue. In 2011 the United States government claimed that torture by security forces, abuse of women and children were ongoing abuses of human rights; the land, now Guinea belonged to a series of African empires until France colonized it in the 1890s, made it part of French West Africa. Guinea declared its independence from France on 2 October 1958. From independence until the presidential election of 2010, Guinea was governed by a number of autocratic rulers.
For the origin of the name "Guinea" see Guinea § Etymology. What is now Guinea was on the fringes of the major West African empires; the earliest, the Ghana Empire, grew on trade but fell after repeated incursions of the Almoravids. It was in this period; the Sosso kingdom flourished in the resulting void but the Mali Empire came to prominence when Soundiata Kéïta defeated the Sosso ruler Soumangourou Kanté at the Battle of Kirina in c. 1235. The Mali Empire was ruled by Mansa, the most famous being Kankou Moussa, who made a famous hajj to Mecca in 1324. Shortly after his reign the Mali Empire began to decline and was supplanted by its vassal states in the 15th century; the most successful of these was the Songhai Empire, which expanded its power from about 1460 and surpassed the Mali Empire in both territory and wealth. It continued to prosper until a civil war over succession followed the death of Askia Daoud in 1582; the weakened empire fell to invaders from Morocco at the Battle of Tondibi just three years later.
The Moroccans proved unable to rule the kingdom however, it split into many small kingdoms. After the fall of the major West African empires, various kingdoms existed in. Fulani Muslims migrated to Futa Jallon in Central Guinea and established an Islamic state from 1735 to 1898 with a written constitution and alternate rulers; the Wassoulou or Wassulu empire was a short-lived empire, led by Samori Toure in the predominantly Malinké area of what is now upper Guinea and southwestern Mali. It moved to Ivory Coast before being conquered by the French; the slave trade came to the coastal region of Guinea with European traders in the 16th century. Slaves were exported to work elsewhere in the triangular trade. Guinea's colonial period began with French military penetration into the area in the mid-19th century. French domination was assured by the defeat in 1898 of the armies of Samori Touré, Mansa of the Ouassoulou state and leader of Malinké descent, which gave France control of what today is Guinea and adjacent areas.
France negotiated Guinea's present boundaries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the British for Sierra Leone, the Portuguese for their Guinea colony, Liberia. Under the French, the country formed the Territory of Guinea within French West Africa, administered by a governor general resident in Dakar. Lieutenant governors administered the individual colonies, including Guinea. In 1958, the French Fourth Republic collapsed due to political instability and its failures in dealing with its colonies Indochina and Algeria; the founding of a Fifth Republic was supported by the French people, while French President Charles de Gaulle made it clear on 8 August 1958 that France's colonies were to be given a stark choice between more autonomy in a new French Community or immediate independence in the referendum to be held on 28 September 1958. The other colonies chose the former but Guinea—under the leadership of Ahmed Sékou Touré whose Democratic Party of Guinea had won 56 of 60 seats in 1957 territorial elections — voted overwhelmingly for independence.
The French withdrew and