A market in Guinea. *Photo from Wikipedia
October 2 is Independence Day, which celebrates the independence of Guinea from France in 1958.
The slave trade came to the coastal region of Guinea with European traders in the 16th century.
Guinea’s colonial period began with French military penetration into the area in the mid-19th century.
France negotiated Guinea’s present boundaries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the British for Sierra Leone, the Portuguese for their Guinea colony (now Guinea-Bissau), and Liberia. Under the French, the country formed the Territory of Guinea within French West Africa.
In 1958, the French Fourth Republic collapsed due to political instability and its failures in dealing with its colonies, especially Indochina and Algeria. The founding of a Fifth Republic was supported by the French people, while French President Charles de Gaulle made it clear that France’s colonies were to be given a stark choice between more autonomy in a new French Community and immediate independence in the referendum to be held on September 28, 1958.
The other colonies chose the former but Guinea had won 56 of 60 seats in 1957 territorial elections – voted overwhelmingly for independence. The French withdrew quickly, and on October 2, 1958, Guinea proclaimed itself a sovereign and independent republic.
Guinea, officially the Republic of Guinea, is a country on the West coast of Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea, the modern country is sometimes referred to as Guinea-Conakry in order to distinguish it from other parts of the wider region of the same name, such as Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea.