Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Gabu, part of the Mali Empire. Portuguese Guinea was known also, from its main economic activity, as the Slave Coast.
Only 14% of the population speaks the official language, Portuguese. 44% speak Kriol, a Portuguese-based creole language, and the remainder speaks native African languages. The main religions are Islam and African traditional religions.
An extraordinary experience in a country untouched by tourism, very rich in wild nature with savannas and forests, and with interesting populations which still have their traditions dating from centuries past.
This small, tropical country lies at a low altitude; its highest point is 300 metres (984 ft). The interior is savanna, and the coastline is plain with swamps of Guinean mangroves. Its monsoon-like rainy season alternates with periods of hot, dry harmattan winds blowing from the Sahara. Guinea-Bissau's GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world. Its Human Development Index is also one of the lowest on earth. More than two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line. The economy depends mainly on agriculture; fish, cashew nuts and ground nuts are its major exports. Life expectancy at birth has climbed since 1990, but remains short: the WHO's estimate of life expectancy for a child born in 2008 was 49 years (and only 47 years for a boy).