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WHERE WE WORK: GUINEA-BISSAU

History

Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Gabu, part of the Mali Empire; parts of this kingdom persisted until the eighteenth century. Early reports of Europeans reaching this area come from the mid 15th century. The rivers and coast of this area were among the first places colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, the interior was not explored until the 19th century.

The Portuguese tried desperately to hang on to their colony much longer than other European countries. An armed independence rebellion began in 1956, but it was not until 1974 that the Portuguese finally accepted independence for Guinea-Bissau.

Guinea-Bissau’s post-independence history has been chequered. A civil war in 1998, followed by the imposition of a military junta in 1999 has been replaced with a multi-party democracy. The economy remains fragile, however hopes are high.

Climate

Guinea-Bissau is warm all year around and there is little temperature fluctuation; it averages 26.3°C (79.3°F). The average rainfall for Bissau is 2,024 mm although this is almost entirely accounted for during the rainy season which falls between June and September/October. From December through April, the country experiences drought.

Regions

Guinea-Bissau regions map.png

Guinea-Bissau is divided into 8 administrative regions (regiões) and 1 autonomous sector (sector autónomo), and are subdivided into 37 sectors.