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Guinea-Bissau endeavors for autonomy under weight of history

Reuters reports — Since Guinea-Bissau switched to a multiparty system in 1995, no president has completed a full term. Before that, the country had a long history of coping with violence: it took 14 years of fighting for Guinea-Bissau to free itself from its brutal Portuguese rulers, who themselves had inflicted a 49-year war of pacification against the local African communities who resisted their rule. In total, the country has been officially at war for 65 out of the 122 years since its colonial creation. The extreme violence has scarred every citizen.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Image made available to NBC News on Nov. 20

People leave the colonial-era dock on the island of Bolama by pirogue, Guinea-Bissau, Nov. 6. Established in 1890, Bolama was the first Portuguese colonial capital of Guinea-Bissau. In 1941 the Portuguese moved to the present capital, Bissau.Joe Penney / Reuters
A farmer, carrying wheat on his head, poses for a picture as he walks home after a day's work in Guiledge, Guinea-Bissau, Nov. 3. Guiledge was a stronghold of the Portuguese army and its fall to anti-colonial rebels in early 1973 marked the final stages of Portuguese rule.Joe Penney / Reuters
A woman washes clothes in front of a colonial-era building on the island of Bolama, Guinea-Bissau, Nov. 5.Joe Penney / Reuters
Former independence fighter Samba Diakite, 69, shows his prosthetic leg in his bedroom in Gabu, Guinea-Bissau, Nov. 3. In 1969, Diakite lost his leg in a mine blast set by the Portuguese army. Today there are still live mines in Guinea-Bissau's countryside, planted by the Portuguese during the independence war.Joe Penney / Reuters
Former independence fighter Mamadu Sonaco Diallo, 80, gives a salute in Gabu, Guinea-Bissau, Nov. 3. Diallo joined the anti-colonial rebels to escape a life of raising cattle and became a specialist in clearing mines.Joe Penney / Reuters


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