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Guinea-Bissau Creole is the lingua franca of the West African country of Guinea Bissau. It is a Portuguese-based creole language, closely related to Cape Verdean creole. Kriolu is spoken as a first language by approximately 15% (190,000) of Bissau-Guineans, and as a second language by approximately 46% (600,000); it is also spoken in parts of Senegal, primarily as a trade language. Portuguese itself is the official language of Guinea Bissau, although it is not spoken regularly by a majority of the population. Upper Guinea creoles are the oldest Portuguese-based creoles, first appearing around the Portuguese settlements along the northwest coast of Africa. Bissau-Guinean Creole is therefore among the first Portuguese Creoles. Portuguese merchants and settlers started to mix with locals almost immediately; this became a rule among Portuguese explorers and the main reason for the large number of Portuguese Creoles throughout the world. A small body of settlers called lançados ("the thrown out ones"), contributed to the spread of the Portuguese language and influence by being the intermediaries between the Portuguese and natives. There are three main dialects of this Creole in Guinea-Bissau and Senegal: Bissau and Bolama, Bafata & Cacheu Ziguinchor.