The Guinea-Bissau War of Independence (1963-1974)

By Patrick S. Baker

The region which became known as Portuguese Guinea, later Guinea-Bissau, was claimed by Portugal in 1446, and as early as 1474, some parts of the area were occupied and exploited by the Portuguese. Until the mid-1800s, the slave trade was the Portuguese’s main interest in the area. After the abolition of the slave trade, Guinea became a backwater, such that by the end of World War II, the colony’s only economic importance was supplying Metropolitan Portugal with about one-third of its vegetable oil needs through the intense cultivation of peanuts.

In 1951, to battle national and anti-colonial movements in its overseas possessions, the Portuguese Constitution was amended to integrate all overseas colonies of Portugal, including Guinea, into a multi-continent unitary nation-state of Metropolitan Portugal and its overseas provinces. This legal-political change of status did nothing to change the lives of the ordinary people in Guinea.

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  • Objective Kassel & Seven Days to the Rhine: War in Europe in the 1980s: In this fourth installment of the Seven Days to the Rhine Series, we analyze the situation on the British sector of the front.
  • The Guinea-Bissau War of Independence (1963–1974): Guinea has been called “Portugal’s Vietnam,” due to the similarities of terrain, tactics, and equipment including helicopters, riverine warfare, and the widespread use of airpower and defoliants. Added to this was the internal political turmoil the war created in Portugal.
  • Tanks in the Central Highlands: ARVN and NVA Armor in Laos, 1971: Operation Lam Son 719 aimed to cross the border into Laos and disrupt the Hồ Chi Minh Trail, used by North Vietnam to move supplies and troops south. This operation would lead to the first armored action between North and South Vietnamese forces.
  • Disputed Islands: Iran’s Seizure of Abu Musa and the Tunb Islands: The UAE continues to make its case, and enjoys widespread international support, over its legal claims to these islands. The Iranians, however, refuse to shift their rigid stance and, regardless of international opinion, insist on the 1992 status quo. Here’s the history.

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