Bissau

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This article is about the capital of Guinea-Bissau. For the town in Rajasthan, India, see Bissau, Rajasthan.
Bissau
Downtown Bissau
Downtown Bissau
Flag of Bissau
Flag
Coat of arms of Bissau
Coat of arms
Bissau is located in Guinea-Bissau
Bissau
Bissau
Location of Bissau in Guinea-Bissau
Coordinates: 11°51′N 15°34′W / 11.850°N 15.567°W / 11.850; -15.567Coordinates: 11°51′N 15°34′W / 11.850°N 15.567°W / 11.850; -15.567
Country  Guinea-Bissau
Region Bissau Autonomous Sector
Founded 1687
Area
 • Total 77.5 km2 (29.9 sq mi)
Elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2010 est.)
 • Total 395,954
 • Density 5,100/km2 (13,000/sq mi)
ISO 3166 code GW-BS

Bissau is the capital city of Guinea-Bissau. In 2007 Bissau had an estimated population of 407,424.[1] Bissau is located on the Geba River estuary, off the Atlantic Ocean, and is Guinea-Bissau's largest city, major port, and its administrative and military centre.

History[edit]

The city was founded in 1687 by Portugal as a fortified port and trading center. In 1942 it became the capital of Portuguese Guinea.

After the declaration of independence by the anti-colonial guerrillas of PAIGC in 1973, the capital of the de facto independent territories was declared to be Madina do Boe. Bissau remained as the capital of the Portuguese-occupied regions, and the de jure capital of all of Portuguese Guinea. When Portugal recognized the independence of Guinea-Bissau and decolonised in 1974 due to the military coup of April 25 in Lisbon, the two territories merged and Bissau became the capital of the new independent state. The city is known for its annual carnival.

The city, as the seat of government, was the scene of intense fighting during the beginning and end of the Guinea-Bissau Civil War in 1998 and 1999.[2]

Geography and climate[edit]

Bissau is located at 11°52' North, 15°36' West (11.86667, -15.60) [1], on the Geba River estuary, off the Atlantic Ocean. The land surrounding Bissau is extremely low-lying, and the river is accessible to ocean-going vessels despite its modest discharge for about 80 kilometres (50 mi) beyond the city.

Bissau has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw), not quite wet enough to qualify as a tropical monsoon climate (Am) but much wetter than most climates of its type. Almost no rain falls from November to May, but during the remaining five months of the year the city receives around 2,020 millimetres (80 in) of rain. During the wet season and even during the three months beforehand, high humidity makes heat discomfort extreme.

Climate data for Bissau, Guinea-Bissau (1974-1994)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36.7
(98.1)
38.3
(100.9)
38.9
(102)
41.1
(106)
39.4
(102.9)
35.6
(96.1)
33.3
(91.9)
32.8
(91)
33.9
(93)
34.4
(93.9)
35.0
(95)
35.6
(96.1)
41.1
(106)
Average high °C (°F) 31.1
(88)
32.8
(91)
33.9
(93)
33.3
(91.9)
32.8
(91)
31.1
(88)
29.4
(84.9)
30.0
(86)
30.0
(86)
31.1
(88)
31.7
(89.1)
30.6
(87.1)
31.5
(88.7)
Average low °C (°F) 17.8
(64)
18.3
(64.9)
19.4
(66.9)
20.6
(69.1)
22.2
(72)
22.8
(73)
22.8
(73)
22.8
(73)
22.8
(73)
22.8
(73)
22.2
(72)
18.9
(66)
21.1
(70)
Record low °C (°F) 12.2
(54)
13.3
(55.9)
15.6
(60.1)
16.7
(62.1)
17.2
(63)
19.4
(66.9)
19.4
(66.9)
19.4
(66.9)
19.4
(66.9)
20.0
(68)
15.0
(59)
12.8
(55)
12.2
(54)
Rainfall mm (inches) 0.5
(0.02)
0.8
(0.031)
0.5
(0.02)
0.8
(0.031)
17.3
(0.681)
174.8
(6.882)
472.5
(18.602)
682.5
(26.87)
434.9
(17.122)
194.8
(7.669)
41.4
(1.63)
2.0
(0.079)
2,022.8
(79.638)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 248 226 279 270 248 210 186 155 180 217 240 248 2,707
Source #1: Sistema de Clasificación Bioclimática Mundial[3]
Source #2: World Climate Guides (sunshine only)[4]

Demographics[edit]

Frenchculture in Bissau

The last time an official census was held in the country in 1991, Bissau had a population of 195,389. By 2007 Bissau had an estimated population of 407,424.[1]

Economy[edit]

Bissau is the country's largest city, major port, educational, administrative and military center. Peanuts, hardwoods, copra, palm oil, and rubber are the chief products. The airport that serves Bissau is Osvaldo Vieira International Airport. Poverty and lack of development is widespread.

Landmarks[edit]

Attractions include the Portuguese-built Fortaleza de São José da Amura barracks from the 18th century, containing Amílcar Cabral's mausoleum, the Pidjiguiti Memorial to the dockers killed in the Bissau Dockers' Strike on August 3, 1959, the Guinea-Bissau National Arts Institute, Bissau New Stadium and local beaches.

Many buildings in the city were ruined during the Guinea-Bissau Civil War (1998–1999), including the Guinea-Bissau Presidential Palace and the Bissau French Cultural Centre (now rebuilt), and the city centre is still underdeveloped.

View of Bissau from Geba River 
Pensão Central's colonial façade in downtown 
Ruins of the former presidential palace 
The road from the airport to the Parliament 
Central Post Office building 
A landmark monument in the city center 
PAIGC's headquarters 
Bissau seen from Rio Geba 
Bissau 
Amílcar Cabral Bridge 

International relations[edit]

A satellite view of Bissau, 2002.

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Bissau is twinned with:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Instituto Nacional de Estatística e Censos
  2. ^ Uppsala Conflict Data Program Conflict Encyclopedia, Guinea Bissau: government, in depth, viewed July 12, 2013, http://www.ucdp.uu.se/gpdatabase/gpcountry.php?id=68&regionSelect=2-Southern_Africa#
  3. ^ "GUINEA-BISSAU - BISSAU". Centro de Investigaciones Fitosociológicas. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  4. ^ "Bissau Climate Guide". Centro de Investigaciones Fitosociológicas. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  5. ^ "Lisboa - Geminações de Cidades e Vilas" [Lisbon - Twinning of Cities and Towns]. Associação Nacional de Municípios Portugueses [National Association of Portuguese Municipalities] (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  6. ^ "Acordos de Geminação, de Cooperação e/ou Amizade da Cidade de Lisboa" [Lisbon - Twinning Agreements, Cooperation and Friendship]. Camara Municipal de Lisboa (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  7. ^ "Geminação com Bissau e Gabu é reforço para lusofonia"

Further reading[edit]

  • Lobban, Richard Andrew, Jr.; Mendy, Peter Karibe (1997). Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau (3rd ed.). Scarecrow Press. pp. 91–96. ISBN 0-8108-3226-7.