Guinea’s Independence Day is on 2 October because that is the day in 1958 when Guinea gained full independence from the French colonial empire.
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Prior to the colonial age, what is now Guinea had been a part of various West African Islamic empires. Contact with Europeans began to occur along the coast during the 1400s, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that France invaded the region and made Guinea a “protectorate” of France.
In 1886, France and Portugal divided the Guinea coast. France took what is now Guinea, while Portugal ruled what is today Guinea Bissau. For a while, Guinea was part of the larger French colonial domain called French West Africa, but that was divided in 1958, the very year that Guinea gained its independence.
Guinea, and other French colonies in Africa, were given the option of either full independence or “autonomy” within the French Community. All the other colonies opted to join the French Community before venturing on to independence. But Guinea was different. They decided on full and immediate independence in a referendum.
On 2 October, people meet in town halls and public squares all over Guinea to remember the day on which they gained their freedom. There are many patriotic speeches, concerts, dances, and festive meals. Many don traditional Ghanaian attire during the celebrations.
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