The area of today’s Guinea-Bissau was inhabited by agrarian societies over 1,000 years ago and was connected to West African trade routes via land connections from the 13th century. With the collapse of the Gana Empirein the 13th century there was a strong immigration. After the arrival of Portuguese seafarers around 1450, the slave trade, which was mainly carried out from the Cape Verde Islands until the beginning of the 19th century, began; first towards the Iberian Peninsula, from the 16th century to America. The establishment of fortified trading posts by Portugal (1588 Cacheu, 1687 Bissau) proved to be unsuccessful against British, Dutch and French competition. Negotiations finally led to the withdrawal of the English in 1870 and in 1886 and 1902 to the definition of the borders with the neighboring colonies of Senegal and Guinea, which were claimed by France. Then the Portuguese occupied the area militarily and initially carried out their colonial administration from the Cape Verde Islands.
In 1956 A. Cabral founded the African Independence Party (Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde, abbreviation PAIGC) for both countries together with anti-colonial intellectuals from the Cape Verde Islands and Portuguese Guinea. After the bloody suppression of a dock workers strike in Bissau on August 3rd, 1959 (Pindjiguiti massacre), the PAIGC began under the leadership of Cabral In 1963 and with the support of the independent neighboring state of Guinea, a guerrilla war against Portugal. Despite massive military presence and counter-offensives by the colonial power, the PAIGC was able to gain control of about a third of the territory and finally manage larger parts of the country independently as “liberated zones” and unilaterally proclaim the independent Republic of Guinea-Bissau there on September 24, 1973.
Cabral, the brother of A. Cabral, who was murdered on January 20, 1973, became chairman of the State Council and thus President of the State. After the revolution in Portugal (April 25, 1974) the new Portuguese government recognized the independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde on September 10, 1974, both politically closely linked by the PAIGC. In terms of foreign policy, Guinea-Bissau turned to the western industrialized countries, especially the EC (joining the Lomé Convention in 1975). The project of unification with Cape Verde, which had become independent on July 5, 1975, failed with the coup (November 14, 1980) by a nationalist faction led by the former guerrilla leader J. B. Vieira. This took over the office of State Council Chairman and President; the PAIGC split, Cape Verde has since developed independently. Vieira, who had also taken on the role of Secretary General of the PAIGC from 1981 to 1999, was confirmed as head of state in 1984. After strong international pressure, a multi-party system was constitutionally guaranteed in 1991. In the parliamentary elections in July 1994, the ruling party and former unity party PAIGC clearly prevailed after massive obstruction by the opposition; In the simultaneous presidential elections, incumbent Vieira was able to stand up against the challenger from the Partido da Renovação Social (PRS), Kumba Yala (* 1953, † 2014) in a second ballot in August 1994, narrowly claim. Clashes between the president and the military leadership under Ansumane Mané led to a civil war in June 1998 involving troops from Senegal and neighboring Guinea, which only ended in 1999 when Vieira left the country. Malam Bacai Sanhá (* 1947, PAIGC) was installed as interim president; Mané was killed in late 2000.
In the parliamentary elections in November 1999, the opposition parties PRS and Resistência de Guiné-Bissau-Movimento Bafatá (RGB-MB) prevailed. Kumba Yala emerged victorious from the presidential elections in January 2000. In November 2002 he dissolved parliament, prevented new elections on several occasions and restricted freedom of expression. After numerous strikes, following a bloodless coup on September 14, 2003, the military under Chief of Staff Verissimo Correia Seabra (* 1947, † 2004) took power and a few days later handed it over to businessman Henrique Pereira Rosa (independent). The new elections at the end of March 2004 were won by the PAIGC, and Carlos Gomez Júnior became Prime Minister of a PRS-supported minority government(* 1949, PAIGC). In the presidential elections in August 2005, former president João Bernardo Vieira, who was not part of the party, was victorious. In the period that followed, several changes in the office of prime minister made government work more difficult.
According to prozipcodes, the parliamentary elections on November 16, 2008 resulted in an absolute majority for the PAIGC (67 seats). Carlos Gomez Júnior took over the post of Prime Minister again on January 2, 2009. On March 2, 2009, President Vieira was assassinated in a coup by revolting soldiers. Former President Malam Bacai Sanhá was elected as successor to Vieira in a runoff election on July 26, 2009. The political situation remained unstable, especially due to the strong political influence of the army. For example, Prime Minister Carlos Gomez Júnior was temporarily arrested by mutinous soldiers in 2010 in connection with power struggles in the military leadership. President Malam Bacai Sanhá died on January 9, 2012 in a Paris hospital. Raimundo Pereira (* 1956), President of the National Assembly, took over the post of head of state on an interim basis. In the first round of the presidential elections on March 18, 2012, the previous Prime Minister Carlos Gomez Júnior received around 49% of the votes. In order to prevent his victory in the run-off election, parts of the army staged a coup on April 12, 2012. Under pressure from ECOWAS, the putschists took action on May 11, 2012 with Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo (* 1958) a transitional president. On May 18, 2012, a transitional cabinet was appointed. This was intended to lay the foundation for a return to civilian conditions and the preparation of elections. In October 2012, an army unit failed with another attempted coup. On April 13, 2014, the first round of the presidential elections took place. The PAIGC candidate and former finance minister J. M. Vaz got 40.9% of the vote in the first ballot and thus had to go to a runoff against the independent candidate Nuno Gomes Nabiam who received 24.8% of the vote. In the parliamentary elections held at the same time, the PAIGC won 57 of the 102 seats. The PRS had 41 seats. According to the electoral commission, José Mário Vaz won the casting vote on May 18, 2014 with a clear majority. On June 23, 2014 he was sworn in as president. However, as a result of party political power struggles and mutual blockades between government, parliament and president, the situation was not stabilized. There were several changes in the office of prime minister between July 2014 and April 2018 without ending the permanent domestic political crisis.