September 24 – National Day for Guinea-Bissau

Posted on September 24, 2013

We are independent of you, Portugal.”

The government of what was then known as Portuguese Guinea, in Western Africa, made this declaration in 1973, but Portugal didn't agree to the independence at first. Portugal was having its own problems, though, and about half a year later its own government was overthrown by a military coup. At that point, the world accepted Guinea-Bissau as an independent nation.

There are a lot of different ethnic groups within the borders of this small nation (which is just a bit larger than the state of Maryland). Because of this, there are many different languages spoken. The official language is Portuguese (because it was a Portuguese colony), but only about 14% of the population speaks that language. Far more people speak Kriolu, which is a Portuguese-based creole language—but most of the Kriolu-speakers also know one or more African languages, such as Mandingas or Pepeis. What surprised me was that students in Guinea-Bissau learn French in school!

Why French, rather than Portuguese or some other language?

Guinea-Bissau is (as I have already mentioned) a pretty small country, and it is surrounded by French-speaking countries including Senegal and Guinea.

This nation is one of the poorest in the world, and it is having a lot of trouble with political instability. Some leaders have been elected, but not one has ever served his five-year term before being kicked out, arrested, or even killed.

Also on this date:

Plan Ahead!

And here are my Pinterest pages on October holidaysOctober birthdays, and historical anniversaries in October.

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