Brief History

Like many African countries, Guinea was passed back and forth between a number of different empires prior to a recent period of independence. Long before the arrival of Europeans, the area that is now Guinea lay on the borders of the Ghana Empire. During this period, Islam expanded southward, brought to Guinea by North African traders. The Sosso, Mali, and Songhai empires followed. In 1727, Fulani Muslims established an Islamic state with a written constitution that survived well into the nineteenth century. Europeans arrived in the seventeenth century, establishing points of trade along the coast and gradually expanding inland. In addition to Guinea’s natural resources such as gold and minerals, native Guineans were taken as slaves. In 1898, the French empire defeated the Guinean armies led by Samori Touré, the Mansa (or Emperor). This gave France total colonial control over Guinea until 1958, when French instability allowed Guinea to vote overwhelmingly for independence. As the French withdrew, they took money, resources, and infrastructure with them—making it difficult for Guinea to rebuild. Various governments have followed, and Guinea is now a republic, but a coup led by Mamady Doumbouya seized power in 2021.

National Flag

The current national flag of Guinea was adopted on November 10, 1958. Red symbolizes the blood of brave anti-colonialist martyrs. Yellow represents Guinean gold, and green represents the country’s verdant vegetation. The flag is consistent with other Pan-African flags.


Guinea is located in west Africa, between Guinea-Bissua, Senegal, Mali, Côte-D’Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. It borders the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Guinea is roughly as large as the United Kingdom. From coastal lowlands to forested mountainous highlands, Guinea is geographically diverse.

World Land Mass Ranking: 79th

Highest Mountain: Mount Nimba, 1,752 m (5,748 ft)

Longest River: Niger 4,180 km (2,600 mi)

Main Languages

French, Arabic, English

Guinea Population: 13.5 million (as of 2014)

Capital City: Conakry

Capital City Population: 1.7 million (as of 2014)


Guinea has a warm and tropical climate, without extreme seasonal variation. Summers are warm and wet, while winters are slightly colder and dry.

Key People

Mory Kanté


Alpha Condé


Ahmed Sékou Touré


Pascal Feindouno

  • Cuisine

    Guinean cuisine is varied, but rice is a staple ingredient in many dishes. Many families in Guinea grow and raise their own food, with a mixture of native and imported ingredients—from Europe, Asia, and the Arab world. Jollof rice is a staple dish in Guinea, made from long-grain rice, tomatoes, onions, vegetables, and meat and cooked in a single plant. Maafe is another Guinean favorite, a peanut stew which is usually served with fufu—a dough-like food often made from cassava.

  • Sports

    Sports are an important pastime in Guinea, and watching a participating in sports are a staple of Guinean culture. Football is the most popular and predominant sport in Guinea, and the Guinea national football team, nicknamed “Syli nationale” (National Elephants) have been playing internationally since the 1960’s, but they have yet to reach the World Cup finals.

  • Culture

    The culture of Guinea has been shaped by its many-layered past, as different empires, ethnic groups, and religions have left their mark on the country. Islam is currently the dominant religion in the region, and Islamic practices and values shape the Guinean way of life. Music is an important facet of Guinean culture, and Guineans play a wide range of percussion and string instruments, in traditional folk music genres as well as more modern developments.

10 facts about Guinea

1. Guinea is home to many different waterfalls.
2. The Guinean franc is Guinea’s national currency.
3. Guinea has been inhabited for at least 30,000 years.
4. Over 85% of the population of Guinea is Muslim.
5. There are three other countries with Guinea in their names.
6. About 26% of marriages in Guinea are polygamous.
7. Guinea gave its name to the British gold coin.
8. Guinea has 25% of the world’s bauxite reserves.
9. Three major rivers originate in Guinea.
10. Chimpanzees were first observed using tools in Guinea.

Q&A Corner

1. What is the capital city of Guinea? +
2. What is the tallest mountain in Guinea? +
3. What does red symbolize on the Guinean flag? +
4. When did Guinea gain its independence from France? +
5. What continent is Guinea on? +
6. Name a key/famous Guinean? +
7. What is the population of Guinea (as of 2014)? +
8. What is a popular dish in Guinean cuisine? +
9. What is the climate like in Guinea? +
10. Name an important facet of Guinean culture? +