Guinea i/ˈɡɪni/, officially the Republic of Guinea (French: République de Guinée), is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea (Guinée française), it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. It has a population of 10,057,975 and an area of 246,000 square kilometres (94,981 sq mi). Forming a crescent as it curves from its western border on the Atlantic Ocean toward the east and the south, it shares its northern border with Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Mali, and its southern border with Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Côte d'Ivoire. The sources of the Niger River, Gambia River, and Senegal River are all found in the Guinea Highlands.
Conakry is Guinea's capital, largest city, and economic centre. Other major cities in the country include Kankan, Nzérékoré, Kindia, Labe, Guéckédou, Mamou and Boke. Guinea's 10 million people belong to twenty-four ethnic groups. The largest and most prominent groups are the Fula (40%), Mandingo (30%), and Susu (20%). It is a predominantly Islamic country, with Muslims representing about 85 percent of the population. Christians, mostly Roman Catholic, make up about 10 percent of the population, and are mainly found in the southern Guinea forestiere region. French is the official language of Guinea, and is the main language of communication in schools, government administration, the media, and the country's security forces. More than twenty four indigenous languages are also spoken, of which the most common are Fula, Susu and Mandinka. Fula is widely used in the Fouta Djallon region in central Guinea, Mandinka in Eastern Guinea, and Susu in the coastal region of northwestern Guinea.
Guinea's economy is largely dependent on agriculture and mineral production. It is the world's second largest producer of bauxite, and has rich deposits of diamonds and gold.
The issue of human rights in the country remains controversial. In its 2012 Freedom in the World report, Freedom House named the country "partly free" for the second year in a row, an improvement over its former status as one of the least free countries in Africa. The United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, which produces annual human rights reports on the country, claims the most pressing human rights issues are the use of torture by security forces, and abuse of women and children through such acts as female genital mutilation.
Famous quotes containing the word guinea:
“To the eyes of a miser a guinea is more beautiful than the sun, and a bag worn with the use of money has more beautiful proportions than a vine filled with grapes.”
—William Blake (17571827)
“Were all of us guinea pigs in the laboratory of God. Humanity is just a work in progress.”
—Tennessee Williams (19141983)