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
A front vowel is any in a class of vowel sound used in some spoken languages, its defining characteristic being that the highest point of the tongue is positioned in front in the mouth without creating a constriction that would make it a consonant. Front vowels are sometimes called bright vowels because they are perceived as sounding brighter than the back vowels. Near-front vowels are a type of front vowel. Rounded front vowels are centralized, that is, near-front in their articulation; this is one reason. The front vowels that have dedicated symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet are: close front unrounded vowel close front compressed vowel near-close front unrounded vowel near-close front compressed vowel close-mid front unrounded vowel close-mid front compressed vowel open-mid front unrounded vowel open-mid front compressed vowel near-open front unrounded vowel open front unrounded vowel open front rounded vowel There are front vowels without dedicated symbols in the IPA: close front protruded vowel near-close front protruded vowel close-mid front protruded vowel mid front unrounded vowel or mid front compressed vowel or mid front protruded vowel or open-mid front protruded vowel As above, other front vowels can be indicated with diacritics of relative articulation applied to letters for neighboring vowels, such as ⟨i̞⟩, ⟨e̝⟩ or ⟨ɪ̟⟩ for a near-close front unrounded vowel.
In articulation, front retracted vowels. In this conception, front vowels are a broader category than those listed in the IPA chart, and, mid-central vowels. Raised or retracted vowels may be fronted by certain consonants, such as palatals and in some languages pharyngeals. For example, /a/ may be fronted to next to /j/ or /ħ/. In the history of many languages, for example French and Japanese, front vowels have altered preceding velar or alveolar consonants, bringing their place of articulation towards palatal or postalveolar; this change can be allophonic variation. This historical palatalization is reflected in the orthographies of several European languages, including the ⟨c⟩ and ⟨g⟩ of all Romance languages, the ⟨k⟩ and ⟨g⟩ in Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic, the ⟨κ⟩, ⟨γ⟩ and ⟨χ⟩ in Greek. English without as much regularity. However, for native or early borrowed words affected by palatalization, English has altered the spelling after the pronunciation Back vowel List of phonetics topics
Ethnologue: Languages of the World is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living languages of the world. It was first issued in 1951, is now published annually by SIL International, a U. S.-based, Christian non-profit organization. SIL's main purpose is to study and document languages to promote literacy and for religious purposes; as of 2018, Ethnologue contains web-based information on 7,097 languages in its 21st edition, including the number of speakers, dialects, linguistic affiliations, availability of the Bible in each language and dialect described, a cursory description of revitalization efforts where reported, an estimate of language viability using the Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale. Ethnologue has been published by SIL International, a Christian linguistic service organization with an international office in Dallas, Texas; the organization studies numerous minority languages to facilitate language development, to work with speakers of such language communities in translating portions of the Bible into their languages.
The determination of what characteristics define a single language depends upon sociolinguistic evaluation by various scholars. Ethnologue follows general linguistic criteria, which are based on mutual intelligibility. Shared language intelligibility features are complex, include etymological and grammatical evidence, agreed upon by experts. In addition to choosing a primary name for a language, Ethnologue provides listings of other name for the language and any dialects that are used by its speakers, government and neighbors. Included are any names that have been referenced regardless of whether a name is considered official, politically correct or offensive; these lists of names are not complete. In 1984, Ethnologue released a three-letter coding system, called an'SIL code', to identify each language that it described; this set of codes exceeded the scope of other standards, e.g. ISO 639-1 and ISO 639-2; the 14th edition, published in 2000, included 7,148 language codes. In 2002, Ethnologue was asked to work with the International Organization for Standardization to integrate its codes into a draft international standard.
The 15th edition of Ethnologue was the first edition to use this standard, called ISO 639-3. This standard is now administered separately from Ethnologue. In only one case and the ISO standards treat languages differently. ISO 639-3 considers Akan to be a macrolanguage consisting of two distinct languages and Fante, whereas Ethnologue considers Twi and Fante to be dialects of a single language, since they are mutually intelligible; this anomaly resulted because the ISO 639-2 standard has separate codes for Twi and Fante, which have separate literary traditions, all 639-2 codes for individual languages are automatically part of 639–3 though 639-3 would not assign them separate codes. In 2014, with the 17th edition, Ethnologue introduced a numerical code for language status using a framework called EGIDS, an elaboration of Fishman's GIDS, it ranks a language from 0 for an international language to 10 for an extinct language, i.e. a language with which no-one retains a sense of ethnic identity.
In December 2015, Ethnologue launched a metered paywall. As of 2017, Ethnologue's 20th edition described 237 language families including 86 language isolates and six typological categories, namely sign languages, pidgins, mixed languages, constructed languages, as yet unclassified languages. In 1986, William Bright editor of the journal Language, wrote of Ethnologue that it "is indispensable for any reference shelf on the languages of the world". In 2008 in the same journal, Lyle Campbell and Verónica Grondona said: "Ethnologue...has become the standard reference, its usefulness is hard to overestimate."In 2015, Harald Hammarström, an editor of Glottolog, criticized the publication for lacking citations and failing to articulate clear principles of language classification and identification. However, he concluded that, on balance, "Ethnologue is an impressively comprehensive catalogue of world languages, it is far superior to anything else produced prior to 2009." Starting with the 17th edition, Ethnologue has been published every year.
Linguasphere Observatory Register Lists of languages List of language families Martin Everaert. The Use of Databases in Cross-Linguistic Studies. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110198744. Retrieved 2014-07-13. Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove. Linguistic Genocide in Education-or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights?. Routledge. ISBN 9781135662356. Retrieved 2014-07-13. Paolillo, John C.. "Evaluating language statistics: the Ethnologue and beyond". UNESCO Institute of Statistics. Pp. 3–5. Retrieved October 8, 2015. Web version of Ethnologue
Ivory Coast or Côte d'Ivoire the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, is a country located on the south coast of West Africa. Ivory Coast's political capital is Yamoussoukro in the centre of the country, while its economic capital and largest city is the port city of Abidjan, it borders Guinea and Liberia to the west, Burkina Faso and Mali to the north, Ghana to the east, the Gulf of Guinea to the south. Before its colonization by Europeans, Ivory Coast was home to several states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, Baoulé; the area became a protectorate of France in 1843 and was consolidated as a French colony in 1893 amid the European scramble for Africa. It achieved independence in 1960, led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who ruled the country until 1993. Stable by regional standards, Ivory Coast established close political and economic ties with its West African neighbors while at the same time maintaining close relations to the West France. Ivory Coast experienced a coup d'état in 1999 and two religiously-grounded civil wars, first between 2002 and 2007 and again during 2010–2011.
In 2000, the country adopted a new constitution. Ivory Coast is a republic with strong executive power vested in its president. Through the production of coffee and cocoa, the country was an economic powerhouse in West Africa during the 1960s and 1970s, though it went through an economic crisis in the 1980s, contributing to a period of political and social turmoil. Only around 2014 has GDP per capita in the country again reached the level of its peak in the 1970s. In the 21st century, the Ivorian economy is market-based and still relies on agriculture, with smallholder cash-crop production being dominant; the official language is French, with local indigenous languages widely used, including Baoulé, Dan and Cebaara Senufo. In total there are around 78 languages spoken in Ivory Coast. There are large populations of Muslims and various indigenous religions. Portuguese and French merchant-explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries divided the west coast of Africa roughly, into four "coasts" reflecting local economies.
The coast that the French named the Côte d'Ivoire and the Portuguese named the Costa Do Marfim—both mean "Coast of Ivory"—lay between what was known as the Guiné de Cabo Verde, so-called "Upper Guinea" at Cap-Vert, Lower Guinea. There was a Pepper Coast known as the "Grain Coast", a "Gold Coast", a "Slave Coast". Like those, the name "Ivory Coast" reflected the major trade that occurred on that particular stretch of the coast: the export of ivory. Other names included the Côte de Dents "Coast of Teeth", again reflecting the trade in ivory. One can find the name Cote de Dents used in older works, it was used in Duckett's Dictionnaire and by Nicolas Villault de Bellefond, for example, although Antoine François Prévost used Côte d'Ivoire. In the 19th century, usage switched to Côte d'Ivoire; the coastline of the modern state is not quite coterminous with what the 15th- and 16th-century merchants knew as the "Teeth" or "Ivory" coast, considered to stretch from Cape Palmas to Cape Three Points and, thus now divided between the modern states of Ghana and Ivory Coast.
It retained the name through French rule and independence in 1960. The name had long since been translated into other languages, which the post-independence government considered troublesome whenever its international dealings extended beyond the Francophone sphere. Therefore, in April 1986, the government declared that Côte d'Ivoire would be its formal name for the purposes of diplomatic protocol, since officially refuses to recognize or accept any translation from French to another language in its international dealings. Despite the Ivorian government's request, the English translation "Ivory Coast" is still used in English by various media outlets and publications; the first human presence in Ivory Coast has been difficult to determine because human remains have not been well preserved in the country's humid climate. However, newly found weapon and tool fragments have been interpreted as a possible indication of a large human presence during the Upper Paleolithic period, or at the minimum, the Neolithic period.
The earliest known inhabitants of Ivory Coast have left traces scattered throughout the territory. Historians believe that they were all either displaced or absorbed by the ancestors of the present indigenous inhabitants, who migrated south into the area before the 16th century; such groups included the Kotrowou, Zéhiri, Ega and Diès. The first recorded history appears in the chronicles of North African traders, from early Roman times, conducted a caravan trade across the Sahara in salt, slaves and other goods; the southern terminals of the trans-Saharan trade routes were located on the edge of the desert, from there supplemental trade extended as far south as the edge of the rain forest. The more important terminals—Djenné, Timbuctu—grew into major commercial centres around which the great Sudanic empires developed. By controlling the trade routes with their powerful military forces, these empires were able
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
Senegal the Republic of Senegal, is a country in West Africa. Senegal is bordered by Mauritania in the north, Mali to the east, Guinea to the southeast, Guinea-Bissau to the southwest. Senegal borders The Gambia, a country occupying a narrow sliver of land along the banks of the Gambia River, which separates Senegal's southern region of Casamance from the rest of the country. Senegal shares a maritime border with Cape Verde. Senegal's economic and political capital is Dakar; the unitary semi-presidential republic is the westernmost country in the mainland of the Old World, or Afro-Eurasia, owes its name to the Senegal River, which borders it to the east and north. Senegal covers a land area of 197,000 square kilometres and has an estimated population of about 15 million; the climate is Sahelian, though there is a rainy season. From a Portuguese transliteration of the name of the Zenaga known as the Sanhaja, or a combination of the supreme deity in Serer religion and o gal meaning body of water in the Serer language.
Alternatively, the name could derive from the Wolof phrase "Sunuu Gaal," which means "our boat." The territory of modern Senegal has been inhabited by various ethnic groups since prehistory. Organized kingdoms emerged around the seventh century, parts of the country were ruled by prominent regional empires such as the Jolof Empire; the present state of Senegal has its roots in European colonialism, which began during the mid-15th century, when various European powers began competing for trade in the area. The establishment of coastal trading posts led to control of the mainland, culminating in French rule of the area by the 19th century, albeit amid much local resistance. Senegal peacefully attained independence from France in 1960, has since been among the more politically stable countries in Africa. Senegal's economy is centered on commodities and natural resources. Major industries are fish processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, construction materials, ship construction and repair.
As in most African nations, agriculture is a major sector, with Senegal producing several important cash crops, including peanuts, cotton, green beans, tomatoes and mangoes. Owing to its relative stability and hospitality are burgeoning sectors. With it being a multiethnic and secular nation, Senegal is predominantly Sunni Muslim with Sufi and animist influences. French is the official language, although many native languages are recognized. Since April 2012, Senegal's president has been Macky Sall. Senegal has been a member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie since 1970. Archaeological findings throughout the area indicate that Senegal was inhabited in prehistoric times and has been continuously occupied by various ethnic groups; some kingdoms were created around the 7th century: Takrur in the 9th century and the Jolof Empire during the 13th and 14th centuries. Eastern Senegal was once part of the Ghana Empire. Islam was introduced through Toucouleur and Soninke contact with the Almoravid dynasty of the Maghreb, who in turn propagated it with the help of the Almoravids, Toucouleur allies.
This movement faced resistance from ethnicities of the Serers in particular. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the area came under the influence of the empires to the east. In the Senegambia region, between 1300 and 1900, close to one-third of the population was enslaved as a result of captives taken in warfare. In the 14th century the Jolof Empire grew more powerful, having united Cayor and the kingdoms of Baol, Saloum, Futa Tooro and Bambouk, or much of present-day West Africa; the empire was a voluntary confederacy of various states rather than an empire built on military conquest. The empire was founded by Ndiadiane Ndiaye, a part Serer and part Toucouleur, able to form a coalition with many ethnicities, but collapsed around 1549 with the defeat and killing of Lele Fouli Fak by Amari Ngone Sobel Fall. In the mid-15th century, the Portuguese landed on the Senegal coastline, followed by traders representing other countries, including the French. Various European powers—Portugal, the Netherlands, Great Britain—competed for trade in the area from the 15th century onward.
In 1677, France gained control of what had become a minor departure point in the Atlantic slave trade—the island of Gorée next to modern Dakar, used as a base to purchase slaves from the warring chiefdoms on the mainland. European missionaries introduced Christianity to the Casamance in the 19th century, it was only in the 1850s that the French began to expand onto the Senegalese mainland after they abolished slavery and began promoting an abolitionist doctrine, adding native kingdoms like the Waalo, Cayor and Jolof Empire. French colonists progressively invaded and took over all the kingdoms except Sine and Saloum under Governor Louis Faidherbe. Yoro Dyao was in command of the canton of Foss-Galodjina and was set over Wâlo by Louis Faidherbe, where he served as a chief from 1861 to 1914. Senegalese resistance to the French expansion and curtailing of their lucrative slave trade was led in part by Lat-Dior, Damel of Cayor, Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof, the Maad a Sinig of Sine, resulting in the Battle of Logandème.
On 4 April 1959 Senegal and the French Sudan merged to form the Mali Federation, which became independent on 20 June 1960, as a result of a transfer of power agreement signed with France on 4 April 1960. Due to internal political difficulties, the Federation broke up on 20 August, when
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