Guinea & Guinea-Bissau

The coastal West African nations are among the continent’s poorest, and they share a name. But they’ve been on very different modern journeys. During the Cold War, Guinea was aligned with the Soviet Union and was a major regional influencer. Guinea-Bissau, the smaller of the two, stayed non-aligned after it became the first Portuguese colony in Africa to gain independence, in 1975. Guinea today is known to hold a quarter of the world’s bauxite reserves and is a major exporter of aluminum ore. Guinea-Bissau is home to some of the world’s most exotic species of hippos, turtles and other creatures.

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