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In Susu, the language spoken by the coastal Susu ethnic group, the word guinè means "woman." When a group of Europeans arrived on the coast they met some women washing clothes in an estuary.
The women indicated to the men that they were women.
Neighboring colonies also bore the name "Guinea." The British colony of Sierra Leone to the south was sometimes identified as British Guinea, and to the north, Portugal's colony was named Portuguese Guinea.
After Guinea gained independence, the first president, Sekou Touré, named the country the People's Revolutionary Republic of Guinea.
The Europeans misunderstood and thought the women were referring to a geographic area; the subsequently used the word "Guinea" to describe coastal West Africa.
The French claimed the coast of present-day Guinea in 1890 and named it French Guinea ( Guinée française ) in 1895.
Agricultural exploitation and the demand for tropical hardwoods have increased the rate of deforestation.
Many valuable resources are found, including gold, diamonds, and iron ore.
Since the early 1990s, the Forest Region has had a substantial rise in population as refugees from wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone have flooded over the border and doubled the size of the towns of Gueckedou, Macenta, and N'Zerekoré. The population is approximately 7.5 million, according to 2000 estimates.A substantial number of Europeans and Americans reside in Conakry, most of whom work for embassies and development organizations.Expatriates also live in the mining towns of Fria and Kamsar (bauxite) and Siguiri (gold).Siguiri and Kankan are the major cities, and there are many smaller agricultural settlements in the countryside.Kankan sometimes is referred to as the nation's second capital, although in recent years it has been dwarfed in size by cities in southern Guinea. Rainfall is heavy, and the area is dense with rain forests with mahogany, teak, and ebony trees.