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  • Just be honest: You really don't know anything about this place, do you?

  • That's okay. I'm here to pretend like I do, for you.

  • (intro music)

  • It's time to learn geography

  • NOW!

  • Hey everyone, I'm your host, Barby.

  • All right, last episode, you saw the bigger, French-ier twin, Guinea.

  • Now we meet the feisty, passionate, Portuguese-influenced sister, Guinea-Bissau.

  • So much to cover...let's go.

  • (Political Geography)

  • All right, get ready, because this is "how" you find "Bissau".

  • ahehehehe

  • *slap*

  • Man, I missed doing that. Thank you.

  • Woman: You're welcome.

  • First of all:

  • the country is located in West Africa, off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean,

  • bordered by Senegal to the north and Guinea to the east and south.

  • The country is divided into 8 regions, with the capital, Bissau, being classified as an "autonomous sector".

  • The country is about the size of Switzerland, and is kind of shaped like 2 fingers sprinkling salt.

  • Guinea-Bissau is one of the only few countries that doesn't have a northenmost point,

  • as part of the northern border with Senegal just is a flat line that technically is the northernmost border.

  • Also, the southernmost tip of the Tombali region splits a peninsula with Guinea.

  • There are only six main airports with the occasional air strip inland,

  • the largest ones being: Bissau's Osvaldo Vieira International

  • and Bubuaque Airport located on Bubuaque Island.

  • Now when you look at the country, the most notable region would have to be off the coast.

  • These little beauties, the remote islands known as the Bijagos, are an archipelago of 88 islands and islets.

  • This is the sprinkled salt part of Guinea-Bissau.

  • No, I'm not gonna do a "Salt Bae" reference,

  • we don't cave into cultural relevancy too much on this channel, unless we absolutely have to.

  • But what about... Bob Sage-

  • *Tshhhh shshhh shhhhhhh*

  • He was never, ever relevant.

  • These islands are the crown jewel of Guinea-Bissau.

  • Only about 20 of the islands are inhabited year round,

  • the most populated one being Bubaque, which holds the administrative capital.

  • Otherwise, islands like Bolama, Carache, Formosa, Roxa, Uno, Caravela, and Orango

  • (where they used to bury all their kings and queens),

  • all have their own small towns and charm that draw in tourists.

  • And by tourists, I mean, like, 3 Portuguese people on a layover to the Madeiras.

  • Otherwise, some notable spots of interest might include places like:

  • Old town Bissau Velho,

  • the old capital, Bolama Polon Di Bra,

  • the statue of Amilcar Cabral,

  • Porto Pidjiguiti,

  • the old presidental palace with the bombed out roof,

  • people can visit but are advised not go in because there's like

  • a lot of bats there,

  • the National Ethnographic Museum

  • and Fortaleza d'Amura, which holds Mediterranean-styled buildings but is unfortunately

  • on military ground and therefore off-limits,

  • but if you make friends with the guards you can kinda sneak in.

  • Now the country is fascinating, but the problem is car travel.

  • Because the country is made up of one giant river estuary,

  • driving will always take you inland to get anywhere.

  • This also makes things interesting when it comes to economics.

  • Such we will discuss in:

  • (Physical Geography)

  • Now, in the latest episode, we mentioned how every country in West Africa

  • has like a coast nickname.

  • Ghana was the "Gold Coast", you have the "Ivory Coast",

  • Guinea was unofficially the "Aluminum Coast".

  • Well, if Guinea Bissau had one,

  • it would probably be the "Cashew Coast".

  • First of all, the whole coast is serrated with tributaries and river estuaries

  • that dump into the Atlantic,

  • mostly from the longest river, the Geba,

  • that flows more than 340 miles inland,

  • creating a complex notch disconnected coastline,

  • made up of mangroves and swamps, with a few beaches.

  • This means that although shipping ports and docks are available,

  • inter-regional land transportation has always been slightly hindered.

  • The whole country is generally flat, the highest point doesn't even has a name,

  • it's just a hill 300 meters high along the east border with Guinea's highland.

  • Go inland and you reach the forests and savannas,

  • about 71% of the entire country is covered in forest,

  • making it the third most forested country in Africa, after Seychelles and Gabon.

  • This is also where you can find typical West African wildlife,

  • like aardvarks, pikas, monkeys, giraffes,

  • and the disputable national animal, the West African elephant.

  • This area also harbors the core of the agricultural sector,

  • that employs over 80% of the entire population.

  • The most heavily produced crop: cashews!

  • No. Like seriously, over 90% of all their exports are made up of nut products,

  • and cashews being the largest supplier.

  • Now economically speaking, two-thirds of people live in poverty,

  • this is partially because after Suriname, it takes longer to register a new business here

  • than anywhere else in the world.

  • Averaging out at 33 weeks.

  • -Oh man, carrot cake cream pies are totally blowing up on Instagram right now.

  • -Excuse me, sir, I'd like to register to open up a carrot cake cream pie bakery!

  • -OK.

  • -Finally I opened up my carrot cake cream pie bakery!

  • -Excuse me, miss, would you like to buy a carrot cake cream pie?

  • -That is so 8 months ago. Grapefruits are in now.

  • -No.

  • -They got married!!

  • Speaking of food, the national dish would probably be Caldo stews.

  • Famous ones being Caldo Branco, Caldo Mancara and Caldo Cheben.

  • Top dishes include things like:

  • Avocado with Tuna, Yassa chicken, Egusi soup, and fried Cassava.

  • The Bijagos Islands though probably have the largest eco-diversity in the country,

  • classified as a UNESCO biosphere reserve,

  • you can even find the famous salt water hippos in Orango Island.

  • Otherwise, cool natural places include:

  • Jereberem and the sacred forest of the south,

  • where you can see chimpanzees,

  • the waterfalls and crocodiles in Bambadinca,

  • and of course the Bijagos beaches with the giant sea turtles that come to lay their eggs.

  • So that settles the land, now let's see who has settled the land.

  • Oh! That was such a good transition, I should've saved for a bigger episode like India or something. Oh well.

  • (Demographics)

  • Okay, so just to clarify, people here are not called Guinea Bissau-ians,

  • or Bissauans, they are just called Guineans,

  • or Bissau Guineans, to distinguish themselves apart from Guinea.

  • Otherwise, they usually refer to regular Guinea as Guinea Conakry, or just Conakry.

  • It's kind of like, "only one can have the title of true Guinea."

  • but usually Guinea wins.

  • First of all, the country has about 1.8 million people,

  • and over 60% of the population is under 25.

  • The largest ethnic groups are the Fulani at about 28%,

  • the Balanta at 23%, the Mandinka at 15%,

  • and the Papel at around 10%.

  • The rest are made up of numerous other tribes and groups with a small 2-ish percent

  • of non-Africans, including Europeans, and even a few Chinese,

  • that are mostly brought over from Macau. Yeah.

  • Portuguese-speaking Chinese immigrants from Southeast Asia in Africa.

  • What a world we live in!

  • They also use the African CFA Franc,

  • they use the type C outlet, and they drive on the right side of the road.

  • Before colonization, major parts of Guinea Bissau were under various African Kingdoms,

  • like the Gabu and the Mali Empire,

  • long story short, in 1450, the Portuguese came in, and then,

  • well, you know. They kind of started the whole Atlantic slave trade.

  • Fast forward to the mid-50s,

  • and they were fed up with the Portuguese, joined up with Cape Verde,

  • and started a rebellion.

  • Which is how Russia and China and Cuba got involved,

  • and tried really hard to push communism on them, it was like:

  • -OK, here's some weapons, we totally got your back Guinea Bissau.

  • -And if you have time, here is ideology manuscript.

  • -Oh that is OK, I am happy with just the weapons.

  • -D'ohhh! Who else can I find to influence around here?

  • -*gasp* Ooh, are those guns?

  • Finally, in the 70s, they gained independence,

  • but instability has always been an issue.

  • So far, no president has ever served a full 5 year term,

  • then there was a civil war in 1998 and 1999,

  • yadayadayada, it ended.

  • Like many other African countries, Guinea Bissau is made up of tribal and ethnic regions.

  • The Fulbe or Fulani inhabit most of the center and east areas,

  • with the Mandinka sprinkled in pockets amongst them.

  • The Papel and Balanta are mostly coastal-ful, along with the Felupe-Djola,

  • the Nalú people are in the south,

  • and finally the Bijagós people found on the islands.

  • Oh, and by the way, the Bijagos is known for being home to interesting matriarchal society,

  • in which women dominate the household and chose their husbands.

  • Speaking of which, we've talked about the Mandikas a few times before,

  • but never really talked about the Fula or Fulani people.

  • Basically, the Fulani are a major African ethnic group

  • of about 25 million strong, covering parts of West Africa,

  • mostly in the Sahel regions.

  • The Fula are known for being world's largest nomadic pastoral people group.

  • Famous for their bordado hats, braided and embellished hair,

  • and interesting customs in which men put on face paint,

  • and sort of put on a beauty pageant off to impress female judges.

  • Now Guinea Bissau is a Lusophone country, or Portuguese speaking,

  • however, only about a fifth of the population actually speaks proper Portuguese.