A trade crossroads long before Europeans appeared on the scene, Guinea was part of several empires over the 500 year period between the 10th and 15th centuries. The French came early in the 1600s and in 1845, they formalized the relationship by making Guinea a French colony (it was named French Guinea in 1893). After World War II, French Guinea became part of the Federation of French West Africa. In 1958, the region rejected membership in the Fifth French Republic and all political ties were dissolved. Independence was declared. Sekou Toure led the new government, remaining in power until his death in 1984. A military government, headed by General Lansana Conti, took over almost immediately upon Toure's passing. Conti was elected president in 1993 and in 1995, Guineas's first multiparty elections took place, with Conti's Unity Progress party taking 71 of 114 seats in the legislature. In 1996, Conti was succeeded by Sidia Toure.

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