Paternal Lineage


African Ancestry




The Balanta People


Nigerian Connection


The Fulani People


The Yoruba People


How Did We Get Here








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The Balanta people live in Guinea Bissau, which is one of the smallest and poorest countries on the Africa continent, about twice the size of Connecticut. Formerly call Gabu, it is located in West Africa, between Senegal, Guinea, and the Atlantic Ocean. On its coast are many smaller islands called Archipelago Bijagos.
     Archaeologists believe that small groups of hunter, gatherers, and fishermen, occupied this area by 9000 BCE.  Around 900 CE, wars, famines, and climate changes brought many more peoples into the area. Some archeologists believe that the use of ore for iron smelting was used over 1000 years ago, long before the Europeans had it. However, some other archaeologists dispute the time frame.
     Guinea Bissau was once part of the Ghanian Empire from the 7th to 13th century. It was succeeded by the Great Mali Empire which lasted between 1235 to 1600 CE.
Guinea Bissau is a low lying country with daily tidal water reaching as much as 62 miles inland. The plateau rises only 600 feet. The coast has a network of drown valleys call rias, (similar to a swamp). The rainy season is from May to October, and the hottest months are April and May, when temperatures are in the mid 90s. Guinea Bissau has 3 vegetation zones. On the coast are swamps and plains with mangroves and palm trees. The interior plain is heavily forested, while the savanna plain in the north, has a great variety of wildlife, with more than 491 species of birds, crocodiles, snakes, gazelles, apes, leopards and hyenas. Guinea Bissauís GDP (gross domestic products) are forestry, fish, rice, peanuts, cashews, palm products, and salt production.
     The natives of Guinea Bissau are comprised of  30% Balanta,  20% Fulani,  14% Malinke,  13% Mandyako,  7% Pepel,  7% Bram, Mulattos and Europeans. The Balanta people occupy the central and southern parts of Guinea Bissau. They are renown as paddy rice growers and for their skill in farming without irrigation.
     The religion of the Balanta people is basically Islam; some still have Animist (voodoo) beliefs. They try to reach God through spirits and sacrifice. Some are now accepting Christianity, but it is a slow progress for Islam and Animist is deeply rooted.