In Guinea there are finds that show that the
country was inhabited several thousand years ago.
Between the 11th century and the 16th century, power
over the area varied between three different West
African kingdoms. In the 19th century, Guinea was
colonized by France, which, however, had faced strong
resistance from the indigenous population. When France
in 1958 allowed its colonies to choose between
self-government or full independence, Guinea chose the
latter. The old colonial power broke off contacts with
the country, which became increasingly isolated. Power
fell into the hands of a leftist leader, Sékou Touré,
who ruled Guinea with a hard hand.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Guinea, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
Finds of stone tools from the 4th century BC testify
that Guinea has been inhabited since then, but the
country's known history does not begin until the 8th
century AD. At that time, Guinea was inhabited by the
people of Baga, who were gradually driven to the coast
by immigrant Susu and Malinké people from the east and
From the 1000s and 500 years on, Guinea was in turn
part of the West African kingdoms of Ghana, Mali and
Songhai. Through the Mali kingdom, the area was reached
by Islam, but religion did not play a major role in
Guinea until the 18th century. Militant members of the
Fulani people then started a holy war to spread Islam
from their stronghold on the Fouta Djallon mountain
plateau. Fulani created a vast empire that existed in
the 19th century.
The first Europeans came to the Guinea coast in 1445.
It was the Portuguese who began to trade slaves and
gold. In the early 19th century, French and British
established trading stations along the coast. France
wanted to incorporate Guinea into French West Africa,
but when French troops entered the country they faced
fierce opposition from the powerful Malinké leader
Samory Touré. With his army, he held out for the French
for a decade before Guinea became a French colony in
The colonization of Guinea became a profitable
business for France. Plantations were planted where
peanuts, coffee and palm oil were grown for export. In
addition, trade in diamonds and gold and from the late
1930s also carried on bauxite. An indigenous elite with
French education was also created.
A West African anti-colonial party was formed in Mali
in 1946 by, among others, the young Guinean trade union
leader Sékou Touré, who claimed to be related to the
legendary Malinké leader Samory Touré. The following
year, Touré formed the Guinea Democratic Party (PDG). In
the 1957 election in Guinea, PDG received 57 out of 60
Guinea becomes independent
The following year, France let its colonies choose to
immediately become independent or enter into a union
with France and then gain internal autonomy and
financial support. As the only country among twelve
French colonies, Guinea turned Paris back.
In October 1958, the country's independence was
declared. France responded by suspending its financial
support for Guinea and blocking its foreign trade. The
French government also brought in its experts and
destroyed archives and technical equipment.
Touré banned all parties except his own, the Marxist
PDG. Power was centralized to the party leadership and
to the president personally. Large parts of the educated
elite left the country. The loss of French support and
Touré's stateisation of business led to a sharp economic
downturn. In its isolation, the country initially
received assistance only from the Soviet Union. As
Guinea left the so-called franc zone in 1960, its own
currency became useless outside the country's borders.
Smuggling, speculation and black exchange increased in
scope and the economic situation worsened.
In 1965, all relations with France were severed since
Touré accused the French of intriguing him. He survived
several coup attempts.
After a failed invasion attempt by exile Guineans in
1970, Touré launched a brutal terror campaign at home.
Suspected opposites were imprisoned and killed. Corpses
were placed for viewing along the capital's streets.
Since women in Conakry 1977 demonstrated against the
party's economic policy, protests spread in the country.
Touré was forced to allow some private commerce and
small business. The year before, contact with France had
resumed and Guinea's foreign policy isolation was
The opposition's complaint is rejected
The Supreme Court rejects the opposition's complaint and confirms the
election result, triggering hostile demonstrations in Conakry. New unrest
erupted a few days later after a journalist, who expressed criticism of
President Condé, said there were plans for him to be murdered. The government
denies that there are any such plans. Groups of young people gather in Conakry
and set up barricades along the main roads, leading to new confrontations with
the police. At least one person was killed in connection with the protests.
RPG wins the parliamentary election
The parliamentary elections are finally held after being postponed yet again
(but only for four days). Election day is calm. Some problems are reported, such
as lost voice cards or lack of waterproof ink. Still, observers from Ecowas
state that the election has been held under acceptable conditions. According to
the Election Commission, turnout is around 80 percent. The result will not come
until October 19. According to it, RPG has got 53 seats in the National
Assembly, while UFDG receives 37 and 7 seats respectively. However, UFR has won
in the sensitive district of Matoto in Conakry. This means that no party has got
its own majority in the National Assembly. The opposition accuses the Election
Commission and the government of electoral fraud, which President Condé rejects.
However, the votes in the largest constituency of Matoto in Conakry will be
Nearly 100 dead in ethnic violence
At least 95 people are killed and over 100 injured when violence erupts
between the Christian / animist group guerzé and the Muslim conian in the city
of N'Zérékoré and its environs. Violent contradictions erupt periodically
between the two groups. This time, the wave of violence is triggered by
guardians belonging to guerrillas killing a man from Konianke whom they charge
for theft. The violence degenerates into attacks with machete and people being
burned to death, according to eyewitnesses. A temporary curfew is introduced and
security forces are deployed.
New agreement on the election
The government and the opposition a settlement which means that Guineans
abroad may vote, that the government and the opposition should appoint a
committee to monitor the work of the election commission, the South African
company Waymark may retain the mandate to revise the electoral rolls, but a new
control system will be introduced and the voting must take place in another
direction (plus all votes must be counted by hand). UN mediator Sajid Djinnit
receives praise from several quarters for having reached a settlement.
The parliamentary elections are postponed again
The parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for June 30, are postponed
yet again. The election would have been held as early as 2007, but has been
postponed a number of times due to disagreement between the government and the
opposition parties about the conditions for the election.
Minister charged with massacre
Claude Civi, colonel and minister responsible for the president's security,
is charged with murder, rape and property damage in connection with the massacre
of at least 157 people at Conakry Stadium in 2009 (see November 2009).
New talks between the government and the opposition
New talks between the government and the opposition begin with mediation by
Sajid Djinnit the UN Special Envoy for West Africa. The opposition jumps off the
talks on June 20. No opposition candidates register to participate in the
Diallo and Kouyaté travel to Paris
Cellou Dalein Diallo and Lansana Kouyaté travel to Paris to pay attention to
the world around Guinea. From the start of the protests in March to the end of
May, more than 50 deaths had been demanded.
Security forces are accused of assaulting protesters
Despite attempts to resolve the conflict over the parliamentary elections, a
number of new protests are erupting in Conakry. Several people are killed in
unrest in the middle of the month, but will cease for a time when the parties
start talks after UN mediation. However, they quickly break down and the
opposition accuses President Condé of sabotaging them and organizing new
demonstrations, especially in Conakry. At least about 10 people are killed. The
government rejects information that the security forces have been behind the
violence without blaming what they describe as criminal participants among the
protesters. Other media reports that there are also clashes between fulani and
New agreement between the government and the opposition
At the end of the month, both the government and the opposition sign a
declaration promising to resolve the problems surrounding the election and other
conflicts without resorting to violence.
Mine manager is arrested for corruption
A chief of the Israeli mining company BSGR is arrested accused of corruption.
The parliamentary elections are moved again
The president unilaterally decides to move the parliamentary elections to
June 30. The opposition continues to demand that Guinean residents living abroad
be allowed to vote and that the South African company, Waymark, which updates
voting lengths, should be deprived of its mission.
Taxes for mining companies are lowered
The National Transitional Council decides to lower taxes for mining companies
and several other measures not to discourage foreign companies from investing in
the country. Several projects have recently been put on ice, both because of the
political turmoil and uncertainty about which rules apply but also generally
lower world market prices for a number of minerals.
Return to the negotiating table
At the beginning of the month, opposition parties return to the negotiating
table. They say that all requirements except one have been met, among other
things, the election commission's work has been temporarily suspended as long as
the talks are ongoing and a number of opposition supporters arrested in
connection with demonstrations have been released.
Locked position in the negotiations
The opposition breaks talks with the government and threatens new street
protests. The government claims that it has made several concessions to meet the
opposition's demands, but that the other side has not been willing to make any
Protests require the death victims
New protests in March lead to clashes between protesters and police in
Conakry, followed by violence between people from the Fulani and Malinké groups.
At least five people are killed and hundreds more injured according to the UN,
which expresses concern about the situation.
The opposition alliance boycott the election
At the end of the month, the opposition alliance announces that it will
boycott the parliamentary election, which has now been moved to May 12. The
reason is the suspicion that the election will be rigged, among other things,
the opposition is dissatisfied that the Election Commission unilaterally decided
on Election Day and considers that the two companies hired to update the
electoral votes favored the government side.