Guinea, formally the Republic of Guinea (French: République de Guinée), is a West African country. Formerly known as French Guinea (French: Guinée française), the contemporary country is also known as Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from other sections of the same name region, such as Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea. Guinea has a population of 10.5 million people and a total land area of 245,860 square kilometers (94,927 sq mi).
Guinea is a democratic republic. The president is chosen directly by the people and serves as both head of state and head of government. The unicameral Guinean National Assembly is the country’s legislative body, and its members are directly elected by the people. The Guinea Supreme Court, the country’s highest and final court of appeal, leads the judicial branch.
Guinea is an Islamic country, with Muslims constituting 85 percent of the population. Guineans are divided into twenty-four ethnic groupings. The official language of Guinea is French, which is also spoken in schools, government administration, and the media, but more than twenty-four indigenous languages are also spoken.
Guinea’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture and mineral extraction. It is the world’s second largest producer of bauxite and has extensive diamond and gold resources.
Human rights are still a contentious topic in Guinea. In 2011, the US administration alleged that torture by security personnel, as well as mistreatment of women and children (such as female genital mutilation), were continuous violations of human rights.
The country takes its name from the Guinea area. Guinea is a traditional name for the African country located near the Gulf of Guinea. It runs north through wooded tropical areas until it reaches the Sahel. The English term Guinea is derived directly from the Portuguese word Guiné, which first appeared in the mid-15th century to refer to the lands inhabited by the Guineus, a generic term for the black African peoples living below the Senegal River, as opposed to the ‘tawny’ Zenaga Berbers who lived above it and were known as Azenegues or Moors.
The nation was at the epicenter of the Ebola epidemic in 2014.