Conakry

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{island, water, area}
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Conakry (Sosso: Kɔnakiri) is the capital and largest city of Guinea. Conakry is a port city on the Atlantic Ocean and serves as the economic, financial and cultural centre of Guinea with a 2009 population of 1,548,500.[1] Originally situated on Tombo Island, one of the Îles de Los, it has since spread up the neighboring Kaloum Peninsula.

The population of Conakry is difficult to ascertain, although the U.S. Bureau of African Affairs has estimated it at 2 million.[2] Conakry is thought to contain almost a quarter of the population of Guinea.

Contents

History

According to a legend, the name of the city comes from the fusion of the name "Cona", a wine producer of the Baga people, and the word "nakiri", which means in Sosso the other bank or side.[3]

Conakry was originally settled on tiny Tombo Island and later spread to the neighboring Kaloum Peninsula, a 36-kilometer (22 mi) long stretch of land 0.2 to 6 kilometers (660 to 20,000 ft) wide. The city was essentially founded after Britain ceded the island to France in 1887. In 1885, the two island villages of Conakry and Boubinet had fewer than 500 inhabitants. Conakry became the capital of French Guinea in 1904 and prospered as an export port, particularly after a (now closed) railway to Kankan opened the large scale export of groundnut from the interior.

In the decades after independence, the population of Conakry exploded, from 50,000 inhabitants in 1958 to 600,000 in 1980, to over two million today.[4] Its small land area and relative isolation from the mainland, while an advantage to its colonial founders, has created an infrastructural burden since independence.[5]

In 1970, conflict between Portuguese forces and the PAIGC in neighbouring Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau) spilled into the Republic of Guinea when a group of 350 Portuguese troops and Guinean dissidents landed near Conakry, attacked the city, and freed 26 Portuguese prisoners of war held by the PAIGC before retreating, failing to overthrow the government or kill the PAIGC leadership.[6]

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