a republic in western africa, south of senegal and west of guinea. Its capital is bissau. It was discovered by the portuguese in 1446. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was active in slave trading. Its boundaries were established by convention with france in 1886 and 1902-05 and in 1974 it gained its independence. As a portuguese overseas province, the country was called portuguese guinea; it was named guinea-bissau in 1974. The name guinea is from the tuareg word aginaw, meaning black people. Bissau is from the native name of the people there, the bijuga, whose meaning is uncertain.