Bissau bĭsou´ [key], town (1991 est. pop. 197,610), capital of Guinea-Bissau, a port in the Geba estuary, off the Atlantic Ocean. It is the country's largest city, major port, and administrative and military center. Bissau has been a free port since 1869 and handles transit trade. Peanuts, hardwoods, copra, palm oil, and rubber are the chief items shipped. Bissau has little industry, except for food and beverage processing. The city was founded in 1687 by the Portuguese as a fortified port and trading center. In 1942 it became the capital of Portuguese Guinea but was replaced briefly by Madina do Boe in 1973–74 when Guinea-Bissau became independent. The city suffered much damage during the 1998–99 military uprising. Amilcar Cabral Univ. is there.

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