Continent Guinea-Bissau

Continents

Why Travel Guinea-Bissau?

Guinea-Bissau is a tropical country on West Africa’s Atlantic coast that’s known for national parks and wildlife. The forested, sparsely populated Bijagós archipelago is a protected biosphere reserve. Its main island, Bubaque, forms part of the Orango Islands National Park, a habitat for saltwater hippos. On the mainland, the capital, Bissau, is a port with Portuguese colonial buildings in its old city center. Officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a country in West Africa. West Africa's Guinea-Bissau was part of the Portuguese Empire for centuries and was once known as the Slave Coast; today 14% of the population speaks Portuguese. Once hailed as a potential model for African development, the country is now one of the poorest countries in the world. The vital cashew nut crop provides a modest living for most of Guinea-Bissau's farmers and is the main source of foreign exchange. But today the nation has a massive foreign debt and an economy that relies heavily on foreign aid. It has become transhipment point for Latin American drugs. At the end of the 1990s the country experienced a conflict which drew in Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, and France and ended with the president going into exile. Despite being a small country Guinea-Bissau has several ethnic groups which are very distinct from each other, with their own cultures and languages. This is due that Guinea-Bissau was a refugee territory due to migrations within Africa. Colonization and miscegenation brought Portuguese and the Portuguese creole, the Kriol or crioulo. Standard Portuguese is spoken mostly as a second language, with few native speakers and often confined to the intellectual and political elites. It is the language of government and national communication as a legacy of colonial rule. Portuguese is the only language with official status; schooling from primary to university levels is conducted in Portuguese although only 67% of children have access to any formal education. Rice is a staple in the diet of residents near the coast and millet a staple in the interior. Fruits and vegetables are commonly eaten along with cereal grains. The Portuguese encouraged peanut production. Vigna subterranea (Bambara groundnut) and Macrotyloma geocarpum (Hausa groundnut) are also grown. Black-eyed peas are also part of the diet. Palm oil is harvested. Common dishes include soups and stews. Common ingredients include yams, sweet potato, cassava, onion, tomato and plantain. Spices, peppers and chilis are used in cooking, including Aframomum melegueta seeds (Guinea pepper).

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