Guinea-Bissau Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Guinea: population and cities



According to Countryaah website, Guinea-Bissau has around 1.9 million residents. In addition to the high HIV infection rate of more than 10% and a very high infant mortality rate, the low life expectancy of both sexes is particularly alarming. It is less than 50 years.

Ethnic composition

The country’s population is made up of more than 25 West African ethnic groups. Of these, about 30% are Balante, 20% Fula, 14% Mandjako, 13% Mandindo and 7% Pepel. The name of the country, Guinea-Bissau, also goes back to the latter group or its Portuguese name Bisãos. The ethnic groups differ in language, culture and way of life. Cape Verdeans, Portuguese, Syrians and Lebanese dominate among the foreigners living in the country.

Religious affiliation

About half of the population of Guinea-Bissau profess Islam. 40% adhere to natural religions and another 10% to Christianity. The latter are mostly Roman Catholic.

National languages It is a grotesque fact that most of the residents of Guinea-Bissau have a poor or no command of Portuguese, the official language of the country and the only language of instruction in schools. A mere 14% can claim to speak Portuguese.

The colloquial language in the country is mainly Crioulo or Kriol, a type of Creole Portuguese that is understood by about 60% of the people. West African tribal languages are also spoken. They include Fulani, Balante and Mandinka.

Capital and other cities


This pretty town is also the birthplace of the Bissau-Guinean national hero Amílcar Cabral, whose birthplace can be found near the old market. The city of 22,500 residents impresses with its interesting colonial center, which extends on the picturesque banks of the Rio Gêba. The capital of the Bafatá region is the seat of the Catholic diocese of the same name and is surrounded by a rich animal world, the most striking representatives of which are macaques and monkeys. According to Abbreviation Finder, GNB stands for Guinea-Bissau in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.


Of the approximately 1.9 million residents of Guinea-Bissau, 500,000 live in the very quiet capital Bissau, the political, administrative and economic center of the small country. Almost all foreign trade runs through the city, which also has Guinea-Bissau’s only international airport. The economic center is the former Portuguese city center, the Praça. This is where the city’s ministries, banks and large hotels are located. The city, however, suffers from a deplorably weak infrastructure, which was fatally blown by the civil war of 1998/99. Electricity, water supply, roads – everything is in a dilapidated condition, and even the former presidential palace only rises up into the sky as a dreary ruin. As one of the last capitals in the world, Bissau is almost completely in the dark at night. Even the public buildings are falling into disrepair. If there were sights in the city, they are only a shadow of themselves. A small ray of hope is the Carneval, which is well worth seeing, which takes place in Bissau every year at the end of February/beginning of March.


On the island of the same name, about 65 km² in size, lies Bolama, the port and capital of the administrative region Bolama. It was the capital of the Portuguese colony until 1941, as evidenced by numerous fascinating colonial buildings that have survived the ravages of time and the civil war.

Unfortunately, Bolama is decaying more and more, so that streets and buildings are slowly overgrown by trees and bushes.


On the Rio Grande de Buba and near the Contanhez National Park is Buba, the largest city in southern Guinea-Bissau with just 8,000 residents. The port and capital of the Quinara region had even been chosen as the capital of Guinea-Bissau by Kumba Yala, the country’s former president, a plan that was never implemented.


The capital of the region of the same name, Cacheu, is located in the north-west of Guinea-Bissau and has almost 11,000 residents. The once important ferry port in the country has some interesting structures that are worth seeing. In addition to the colonial fortress, the Tarafes de Cacheu mangrove nature park extends near the city.


In northern Guinea-Bissau and on the northern bank of the Rio Cacheu, Farim is spreading, a city with about 7,000 residents that was once an attractive trading center, but suffered greatly from the independence and civil war.


Gabú, the largest city in East Guinea-Bissau, acts as the capital of the region of the same name. Around 40,000 people currently live in the market and trading town, which is dominated by the Muslim Fulbe.

Guinea-Bissau: geography, map

Guinea-Bissau consists of the mainland part and the Bissagós archipelago, the shortest distance to the mainland of which is a little less than 10 km. The archipelago consists of around 88 islands, 21 of which are inhabited. The most famous islands are Ilha de Orango, Ilha Caravela, Ilha Bolama with an airfield and the holiday island Formosa. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Guinea-Bissau.

Guinea-Bissau is a very flat country in West Africa on the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the tides, around 8,000 km² of the mainland are regularly flooded by the rising rivers.

The country covers an area of 36,125 km². Thereof:

  • ForestOver 30% of the country is forested area – mostly tropical rainforest.
  • Meadow and pasture landAround 40% of the land is used as meadow or pasture land.
  • Fields and fieldsAround 20% of the land is used as arable land or fields, especially for growing rice, maize, millet, cassava, yams, potatoes and sugar cane (subsistence farming) as well as peanuts, cashew nuts and oil palms for export.

Guinea-Bissau borders the following two countries:

– Guinea with a length of 386 km and

– Senegal with a length of 338 km.

Guinea-Bissau has a coast to the Atlantic Ocean with a length of 350 km.

Tidal range

In Guinea-Bissau the mean tidal range is around 3.50 cm.

For detailed explanations of ebb and flow, see Tides, Ebb and Flow.


The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 m, and at spring tide even over 20 m. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax. On the German North Sea coast it varies between 1 m and 3 m. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 m, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

Guinea-Bissau extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from around 11 ° to 12 ° north latitude Δλ = from around 13 ° to 17 ° west longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.


For Guinea-Bissau, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time (without summer time) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A minus sign means that it is earlier there and a plus sign that it is later than after CET:

Δt (CET) = – 1 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Bissau

Bissau lies at a northern latitude of around δ = 12 °.

If the declination δ of the sun has the value of 12 ° N, and so the image point of the sun is exactly above the city, the sun is perpendicular there. This happens exactly twice a year, roughly 45 days before June 21st and again 45 days after June 21st.


If the image point of the sun and thus the declination is north of the latitude of Bissau, the sun is not in the south at noon, as in our latitudes, but in the north. In this case, the sun moves from east to north to west, where, like us, it sets.


The highest “mountain” in Guinea-Bissau is the Madina do Boé with a height of 262 m.

Rivers, lakes

The longest river in the country is the Mansôa with a length of km.

Other rivers are

Río Gêba

– Río Cacheu

– Río Corubal

– Tombali

– Féfiné

There are no larger lakes in Guinea-Bissau.


Off the coast lies the Bissagos Archipelago, which consists of 88 islands, 21 of which are inhabited, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These include the Ilha de Orango, Bolama, Bubaque, Caravela, Rubane, João Viera, Como and Pecixe.

Guinea-Bissau Population