Guinea gained independence from France in 1958. It held its first democratic elections in 1993, and its civil law system is based on the French model. The ethnic groups within Guinea include Peuhl (40%), Malinke (30%), Soussou (20%), and smaller ethnic groups (10%). Though Guinea’s official language is French, the ethnic groups within Guinea each have their own language. Guinea is slightly smaller than Oregon, with a total area of 245,857 sq km, and is generally hot and humid. It has two seasons: a monsoonal-type season which lasts from June to November, and a dry season which lasts from December to May. It has a generally flat coastal plain with a hilly to mountainous interior. Guinea’s natural resources consist of bauxite, iron ore, diamonds, gold, uranium, hydropower, fish, and salt. The total population of Guinea is 10,884,958, and the major religion of Guinea is Islam; 85% of the people of Guinea are Muslim, 8% are Christian, and 7% have indigenous beliefs. The capital of Guinea is Conakry.

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    Robert B. Payne

    Professor Emeritus of Zoology, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    Curator Emeritus of Birds, Museum of Zoology