Guinea-Bissau History

Guinea-Bissau History

Bushmen (pygmies) living as hunters and gatherers were probably the first to colonize the area of ​​today’s Guinea-Bissau before the Christian era. From the middle of the first millennium AD began the immigration of tribes, the cattle breeding and rambling. From the 8th century AD the area of ​​today’s state was part of the western Sudanese Gana empire, which mainly traded in gold and salt.

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After the collapse of the Gana Empire from the 11th century onwards, a new wave of immigration followed, which brought Fulbe, Balante and Malinke to the region. While the Balante, who were followers of natural religions, mostly settled in the West, the Islamic Fulbe lived primarily in the East. From the 13th century the area of ​​today’s Guinea-Bissau belongs to the Islamic Mali Empire.

According to AbbreviationFinder, Portuguese seafarers were the first Europeans to land on the coast and islands of the Bissago archipelago in the mid-15th century. It was only over 100 years later, in 1588, that they founded Cacheu, the first commercial branch, and from there began to ship gold and slaves to Europe and South America.

In 1600 Bissau, today’s capital of Guinea-Bissau, was founded by the Portuguese. The area was administered from the Cape Verde Islands, which were also under Portuguese control. From 1879, Guinea-Bissau as the “Portuguese Bissau” was an official colony with Bolama as the administrative seat (from 1941 Bissau). Rice, peanuts and oil palms (for the extraction of palm oil) were cultivated in large-scale plantations, but the profit from the trade did not benefit the local population, who repeatedly unsuccessfully rebelled against the colonial masters.

In 1951, Portugal declared Guinea-Bissau (as well as the other African colonies in Portugal) to be an overseas province, and this status included limited self-government. The black African majority of the population (Ind¨ªgenas) was still disadvantaged compared to the descendants of the colonialists (Assimilados) and half-breeds. As a result of the growing desire for independence among the African population, Portuguese citizenship was granted to a small group of black Africans under certain conditions (such as regular income and knowledge of Portuguese) in 1954 in the so-called “native statute”, making them one of the “Assimilados”.

In 1956, the independence movement “Partido Africano da Independ¨ºncia da Guin¨¦ e Cabo Verde” (PAIGC, African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde) was founded under the leadership of Amilcar Cabral from Cape Verde. The movement was well received by the population.

In 1961 Portugal abolished the 1954 “Native Statute”, which had also applied in the other five Portuguese overseas provinces (today Cape Verde, São Tom¨¦ and Principe, Angola, Mozambique). The residents of the former colonies were recognized as Portuguese citizens.

In the early 1960s, the PAIGC started the armed struggle against Portuguese troops in the country after its demands for full sovereignty were not heard for Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands and the former colonial power continued to put down strikes and uprisings. Due to their guerrilla tactics, the rebels were able to assert themselves against the Portuguese troops, which were far superior in number and equipment, and inflict heavy defeats on them. The fighting claimed countless lives on both sides. Despite a request from the UN, Portugal continued to refuse to release its former colonies to independence.

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In 1972, elections were held in the Guinea-Bissau areas, which were under the control of the PAIGC troops, and a first national assembly was established. In 1973, the key figure in the resistance, Amilcar Cabral, was murdered. Aristid¨¨s Pereira, who also came from Cape Verde, took over as General Secretary of the PAIGC. In September of the same year, Guinea-Bissau unilaterally declared independence from Portugal. 70 states of the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for African Unity (OAU) recognized the new state.

After the so-called “Carnation Revolution” in Portugal in April 1974, the former mother country changed its policy towards its colonies and officially released Guinea-Bissau into independence. Luis Cabral, a brother of Amilcar Cabral, became the country’s political leader (until 1980). The ruling party PAIGC has been appointed a unitary party. One of the government’s stated objectives was to unite with the Cape Verde Islands, which at that time were still Portuguese overseas province with limited internal autonomy. The national assemblies of both countries established a “Council of Unity” in 1976 and began drafting a constitution.

A military coup occurred in Guinea-Bissau in 1980, a “revolutionary council” initially replaced the National Assembly, Major João Bernardo Vieira became the new head of state. Important positions in government and administration have been filled.

In 1984 a new constitution was proclaimed, which declared Guinea-Bissau a presidential republic. Vieira became president and head of government in one. The political goal of an association with the Cape Verde Islands was abandoned.

In the early 1990s, Head of State Vieira had to respond to the calls of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and initiate democratic reforms due to the country’s extremely poor economic situation. A constitutional change allowed the formation of parties and unions from May 1991. The first free parliamentary elections were only held in 1994, the elections had been postponed repeatedly and opposition politicians had been arrested.

The former unitary party PAIGC won the majority of seats in parliament in the elections in July 1994, a month later, with a small majority, João Bernardo Vieira won the election for the office of President of Guinea-Bissau against his challenger Kumba Yal¨¢ (PRS, Partido para a Renovação Social).

In 1997 Guinea-Bissau joined the CFA Franc zone. Despite economic reform and foreign aid, the country was one of the poorest countries in the world. Foreign debt was estimated at around $ 900 million. In 1998 there was a military uprising in the capital Bissau under the leadership of General Ansumane Man¨¦. Rebel and government forces fought for months on end, which ended only after a ceasefire agreement, which had come about through the mediation of other West African countries. Despite ongoing peace negotiations, there were repeated armed conflicts between General Man¨¦’s armed forces and soldiers loyal to the government in 1999. The presence of a peacekeeping force from the West African countries (ECOMOG) could not preventthat in May 1999 the presidential palace was stormed and burned down by rebels. Vieira fled to Portugal,

The domestic political and social situation remained very unstable in the following years, the military was able to maintain its strong position. Due to the lack of state structures and the widespread poverty that favors corruption, the country increasingly developed into a drug handling center (especially cocaine) between South America and Europe, the United States and Canada.

Presidential elections were held in November 1999. In runoff elections in January 2000, Kumba Yal¨¢ from the PRS (Partido para a Renovação Social) prevailed. In the same year there was an uprising of parts of the army under the former army chief Ansumane Man¨¦, who was killed in the shootings. The repeated postponement of the scheduled parliamentary elections triggered a military coup in September 2003 in which President Kumba Yal¨¢ and his government were overthrown; General Ver¨ªssimo Correia Seabra, General and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, declared himself the new head of state. In 2005, the former president and now impartial Joao Bernardo Vieira was elected as the new head of state in the second round. In late 2008, President Vieira’s residence was attacked by rebel soldiers, but the attempted coup failed. On March 2, 2009, Vieira was murdered. A military spokesman said that Vieira’s assassination was not an attempted coup. In the following presidential elections, former independence fighter Malam Bacai Sanha (PAIGC) emerged victorious. At the end of 2011, he survived an attempted coup when he was in Paris for medical treatment. However, he died there on January 9, 2012 in the hospital. At the end of 2011, he survived an attempted coup when he was in Paris for medical treatment. However, he died there on January 9, 2012 in the hospital.At the end of 2011, he survived an attempted coup when he was in Paris for medical treatment. However, he died there on January 9, 2012 in the hospital. 2012 in the hospital. At the end of 2011, he survived an attempted coup when he was in Paris for medical treatment. However, he died there on January 9, 2012 in the hospital. 2012 in the hospital. At the end of 2011, he survived an attempted coup when he was in Paris for medical treatment. However, he died there on January 9, 2012 in the hospital.

In April 2012 there was a coup d’¨¦tat by the military in Bissau, in which the government was deposed. In May 2012, a transitional civil government was set up through the agency of ECOWAS. After the peaceful and largely democratic presidential and parliamentary elections in April / May 2014, the political situation eased considerably. The economist Jos¨¦ M¨¢rio Vaz has been President of the PAIGC since June 2014.

Guinea Bissau President