Guinea (Republic), independent country in West Africa, bordered by Guinea-Bissau and Mali on the north, Mali and the Ivory Coast on the east, Liberia and Sierra Leone on the south, and the Atlantic Ocean on the west. The capital is Conakry, located on Tombo Island.
Land and climate
Guinea is tropical and humid, with cooler conditions and greater temperature ranges in the inland highlands. The rainy season is from Apr. through Nov., and rainfall is exceptionally heavy along the coast. Vegetation includes the oil-palm of the coastal plain; the lianas, bamboos, and gum-producing trees of the forests; and the rare grasses and sedges of the Fouta Djallon, a mountainous region. Wildlife includes the lion, leopard, antelope, hippopotamus, buffalo, chimpanzee, and crocodile. Guinea also has parrots, egrets, pelicans, and many other varieties of birds.
People and economy
Agriculture is central to the country's economy. Major exports are palm kernels, coffee, pineapple, bananas, aluminum, bauxite, iron ore, and diamonds. Islam is the main religion, and French is the official language.
Portuguese exploration in the 15th century led to a slave trade in which the British and French were major participants. France made most of the country a protectorate in 1849, and in 1895 Guinea became part of French West Africa. In 1958 Guinea, led by the nationalist revolutionary Sékou Touré, rejected membership in the French community and opted for full independence. Sékou Touré established a one-party state, which lasted until his death in 1984. Power was then seized by military officers. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the proces of democratization started slowly.