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A map of Guinea-BissauA map of Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau lies on the west coast of Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the country is flat and covered by savanna grasslands. Its coastline is edged with swampy rivers and mangrove forests. Offshore lies the Bijagos Archipelago, a group of tropical islands with white, sandy beaches and lush palm groves. Guinea-Bissau has a tropical climate with hot, humid weather. It has a wet, rainy season between June and October. During the dry season (between November and March) a cool, dusty wind from the Sahara, called the harmattan, blows over the land. 

A map of Guinea-BissauA map of Guinea-Bissau
Bissau-Guinean familyBissau-Guinean family


The Balanta people live in the centre and south of the country. The Fulani people, nomadic cattle herders, along with the Mandinka, live mainly in the north and northeast. Both groups are Muslim. Although Portuguese is the country’s official language, only about 1 in 10 people speak it. The rest speak a creole language called Crioulo, based on a mixture of Portuguese and African languages.

When the country (then named Portuguese Guinea) became independent in 1974, the name of the capital, Bissau, was added to its name so that it would not be confused with another West African country, Guinea.

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