French Guinea


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. French Guinea is Number 103 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The colony of French Guinea was established in the latter part of the 19th century as France acquired territories on the west coast of Africa by treaty with the local inhabitants and settled the boundaries of those territories with neighboring British (Sierra Leone) and Portuguese colonies (Portuguese Guinea, present-day Guinea-Bissau) and with the independent Republic of Liberia. In 1904 French Guinea became part of the Government-General of French West Africa. The book covers physical and political geography, political history, and economic conditions. (Social and political conditions are treated in Number 100 in the series, French West Africa.) The population of the colony for 1916 is given as an estimated 1,808,893, with the main ethnic groups being the Fula, Mandinka (i.e., Malinke), and Susu. The total European population was only 1,166. The economy of the colony was heavily based on the production of rubber, which accounted for 73 percent of exports in the period 1900‒1914. The appendix includes extracts from the main treaties defining the borders of the colony and tables with detailed trade statistics. French Guinea became the independent Republic of Guinea on October 2, 1958.

Last updated: February 4, 2016