Geography: Guinea is a West African nation located on the Atlantic coast of the continent, about 10 degrees north of the equator, and bordered by six other countries: Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Guinea's landscape is spectacular - blessed with lush tropical rain-forests brimming with wildlife, as well as tropical dry-forests, savannah grasslands, idyllic sand beaches, tropical islands with calm waters, breath-taking mountains and canyons, and an abundance of flowing rivers and impressive waterfalls. Climate: Guinea is a hot and humid tropical country, with temperatures on the coast averaging around 30 degrees - and, it is one of the wettest countries in western Africa, receiving over 4 metres of rainfall on the coast each year. Inland, into the mountainous regions, temperature, humidity, and rainfall levels all drop, with lows of around 10 degrees, and apx 2 metres of rainfall annually. Guinea has a dry season running from November through May, and a wet season running from June through October. Demography : Guinea has a population of apx 10 million people, made up of 24 different ethnic groups, each with their own distinct languages, traditions, and cultures. The three largest of these groups are the Fulas (or Fulani) comprising apx 40% of the population and found mostly in the mountainous region known as the Futa Djallon, the Mandinka (also known as Mandingo or Malinke) mostly based out of the eastern Sahelian region of the country and comprising apx 25% of the population, and the Sousou, who make up apx 10% of the country's population, and are found mostly in the coastal areas, including the capital city Conakry. The remaining portion of the population is made up of several other tribes and ethnic groups (such as the Kpelle, Kissi, Ziolo, Toma, and Baga, to name a few of many), who largely inhabit Guinea's dense forest and jungle regions to the south, along with apx 10,000 non-African immigrants (largely Lebanese and French) found mostly in Conakry, the capital city. Religion : Guinea is a predominantly Islamic nation, with apx 85% of the people being Muslim. Another 8% of the people are Chrisitan, and the remaining 7% still following ancient traditional beliefs. That said traditional practices are still commonplace among the majority of the population, and in many cases have been fused together with the more recently adapted religious practices, creating a unique culture of its' own. Culture : Guinea had a rich and vibrant culture, with a strong and prominent music and dance tradition playing a part in everyday life. It is common to find entire streets blocked of for the purpose of ceremonies and celebrations, in which you will find hundreds of participants and spectators, often in a large circle, drumming, singing, chanting, and celebrating together. Artists are both encouraged and supported by the people, and concerts and performances are very common as well. Guineans are also proud of their nationailty, their culture, and their ethnicity, and have stood together, preserving their rich culture and living in peace. People are generally very open and warm to visitors and foreigners, while proudly hanging on to their own heritage. Economy : Although Guinea is considered to be among the poorest countires in the world in an economic sense, it is also considered to be among one of the richest countries with regards to its' natural resources. Guinea is said to have up to 50% of the worlds' bauxite reserves, as well as having an abundance of diamonds, gold, uranium, and other metals, not to mention oil. Guinea has plenty of fresh clean water flowing in its' rivers, its' oceans are full of fish, and the land is fertile, with agriculture employing 80% of Guinea's labor force. History & Politics : Between the 13th and 15th centuries, most of western Africa, including Guinea, was part of the Malian Empire. Starting in the mid-1400s European traders began settling in Guinea's coastal region, which was one of the main areas from which African slaves were taken, and shipped off to the Americas. In 1891 Guinea became a French colony, and in 1958 Guinea took back its' independance from France, under the leadership of Sekou Toure who demanded total independance, declaring that "We prefer poverty in liberty to riches in slavery". In part, we can thank Sekou Toure's impassioned defiance of the French for Guinea's well-preserved and rich culture, and also for its' underdevelopment and economic struggles... Sekou Toure proved to be a harsh dictator, who remained in power until his death in 1984. At that time military leader Lansana Conte moved into presidency, clinging to power until his death in 2008. From 2008 to 2010 Guinea underwent a period of instability during which power bounced between military leader Moussa Dadis Camara, former vice-president and defense minister Sekouba Konate, and transitional prime minister Jean-Marie Dore, until November of 2010 when Guinea held its' first fair and democratic election ever, which was won by current leader Alpha Conde. Despite international fears that Guinea's chance at democracy would result in violence and civil war, the people of Guinea have proven the western world to be wrong, hanging on to their pride in their different ethnicities while living together in peace and harmony, as they always have done, despite their harsh history, rulers, and dictatorships, under which they have had to live, beginning with the European settlers and enslavement hundreds of years ago.