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Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Gabu, as well as part of the Mali Empire. Parts of this kingdom persisted until the 18th century, while a few others were under some rule by the Portuguese Empire since the 16th century.
Guinea-Bissau in the 19th century, was colonized as Portuguese Guinea. Upon independence, declared in 1973 and recognized in 1974, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country's name to prevent confusion with formerly French Guinea. Guinea-Bissau has a history of political instability since independence, and no elected president has successfully served a full five-year term.
Only 14% of the population speaks noncreolized Portuguese, established as the official language. There are diverse religions in Guinea-Bissau with no one religion having a majority. The country's per-capita gross domestic product is one of the lowest in the world.
1963 - 1974 The Guinea-Bissau War of Independence was an armed independence conflict that took place in an armed independence movement backed by Cuba and the Soviet Union
1998 - 1999 More than 3,000 foreign nationals were evacuated from the capital by ship to Senegal and an estimated further 200,000 residents of Bissau fled the city
1999 - Hostilities resumed in the capital resulting in numerous fatalities and the displacement of some 250,000 residents
1980 - 1984 The country was controlled by a revolutionary council