Bissagos Archipelago

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Bissagos Archipelago
Satellite image 2003
Satellite image 2003
Waters Atlantic Ocean
Geographical location 11 ° 20 ′  N , 16 ° 0 ′  W Coordinates: 11 ° 20 ′  N , 16 ° 0 ′  W
Bissagos Archipelago (Guinea-Bissau)
Bissagos Archipelago
Number of islands 88
Main island Bolama
Total land area 2614 km²
Residents 28,211 (2007)
Geocover 2000 satellite image
Geocover 2000 satellite image
Bissagos txu-oclc-6654394-nc-28-4th-ed.jpg
Bissagos 250 txu-oclc-6595921-nc28-2.jpg
Map of the sectors of the Bolama Region, Guinea-Bissau.png

Maps of the Bissagos Archipelago

The Bissagos Islands (also Bijagós- archipelago or Bissagosinseln ) is made up of 88 islands archipelago off the coast of Guinea-Bissau in the Atlantic Ocean .


In pre-colonial times, the archipelago played a central role in West African trade and its inhabitants, the Bijagos , built a strong navy . This enabled the Bijagos to prevent the Portuguese from conquering the islands in 1535 . It was not until 1936 that the last Bijagos uprising was suppressed on the islands. Then these were finally annexed to the colony of Portuguese Guinea . The Bissagos Archipelago became independent Guinea-Bissau together with Portuguese Guinea in 1973/74. The islands have a considerable degree of autonomy from Guinea-Bissau.

Today around 21 islands have a larger population, the other islands are only sparsely populated. The islands of Bubaque , Bolama , Uno , Canhabaque are the most populated with more than 2000 inhabitants. There is a little tourism on the islands of Bubaque, Rubane, Bolama, Orango and João Vieira.


The entire archipelago was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1996 . The southern islands are now a nature reserve .

The 21 largest islands are

The uninhabited archipelago in the south-east around the islands of João Vieira , Cavalhos, Ilhéu do Meio and Poilão has a total area of ​​around 10 km² and also belongs administratively to the Bolama region, but geographically not to the Bissagos archipelago, as does the area in front of Bolama the mainland with 2549 inhabitants.


19 islands are more densely populated, many of the remaining islands are u. a. also uninhabited because of their small area. The population consists largely of the approximately 33,000 members of the Bijagos people who speak the language of the same name: the Bijago language .


The traditional economy is based on fishing , growing rice and extracting palm oil . Tourism has so far only played a subordinate role.


Sculpture of woman.

Women play an important role in social life. The majority of the Bissago people practice traditional religions and believe that the so-called Iran figures are owned by deities and have many properties. They serve as the central object of deity ceremonies , as household protectors against curses and as healers. They are placed in special places in the house and sacrifices are made to them.


Administratively, the archipelago forms the Bolama region , one of eight administrative regions in the country.

Web links

Commons : Bissagos Archipelago  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Inhabitants by region, sector and town by gender, 2009 census (p. 63), PDF access from the National Statistics Office INE of December 17, 2017.