A republic in eastern Africa on the Atlantic; formerly a French colony; Also called: French Guinea.
Country in W Africa, bounded N by Senegal, NE by Mali, SE by the Ivory Coast, S by Liberia and Sierra Leone, W by the Atlantic Ocean, and NW by Guinea-Bissau.
The 1982 constitution, which provided for an elected national assembly, was suspended 1984 after a military coup. A military committee for national recovery assumed power. In 1990 a new constitution was approved, providing for a popularly elected president to head a transitional single-chamber national assembly, also elected by universal suffrage.
Formerly part of the Muslim Mali Empire, which flourished in the region between the 7th and 15th centuries, Guinea's first European visitors were the Portuguese in the mid-15th century, who, together with France and Britain, established the slave trade in the area. In 1849 France proclaimed the Boké region in the east a French protectorate and expanded its territory until by the late 19th century most of W Africa was united under French rule as French West Africa.
French Guinea became fully independent 1958, under the name of Guinea, after a referendum rejected a proposal to remain a self-governing colony within the French Community. The first president was Sékou Touré, who made the Democratic Party of Guinea as the only political organization and embarked upon a policy of socialist revolution. There were unsuccessful attempts to overthrow him 1961, 1965, 1967, and 1970, and, suspicious of conspiracies by foreign powers, he put his country into virtual diplomatic isolation. By 1975, however, relations with most of his neighbors had returned to normal.
At first rigidly Marxist, crushing all opposition to his policies, Touré gradually moved toward a mixed economy, with private enterprise becoming legal 1979. His regime was nevertheless authoritarian and harsh. He sought closer relations with Western powers, particularly France and the US, and was reelected unopposed 1980, but died 1984.
Before Toure's successor could be elected, the army staged a bloodless coup, suspending the constitution and setting up a military committee for national recovery, with Col Lansana Conté at its head. Releasing hundreds of political prisoners and lifting press restrictions, Conté also made efforts to restore his country's international standing through a series of overseas visits. He succeeded in persuading some 200,000 Guineans who had fled the country during the Touré regime to return. In 1985 an attempt to overthrow him while he was out of the country was foiled by loyal troops. In 1990 Guinea contributed troops to the multinational force that attempted to stabilize Liberia and a new multiparty constitution was approved. In May 1991 the National Confederation of Guinea Workers (CNTG) called a general strike in a protest against the government. Conté was reelected by a narrow margin in the first multiparty presidential elections Dec 1993.
English gold coin, notionally worth 21 shillings (Ł1.05). It has not been minted since 1817, when it was superseded by the gold sovereign, but was used until 1971 in billing professional fees. Expensive items in shops were often priced in guineas.