Guinea-Bissau - Ethnic groups



The principal African ethnic groups are the Balante (an estimated 30% of the African population), living mainly in the central region; the Fulani (20%), in the north; the Manjaca (14%); the Mandinga (13%); and the Pepel (7%), in the coastal areas. Other ethnic groups constitute the remaining 16% of the African population.

Of the nonindigenous people, the Cape Verdean mulatto community, which originated in the Cape Verde Islands, is the largest group, accounting for about 2% of the total population of Guinea-Bissau. Resentment over the disproportionate political and commercial influence held by this group played a role in the 1980 coup. There is also a small foreign community, consisting mainly of Portuguese and of Lebanese and Syrian merchants.

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