Kankan (känkänˈ, käNkäNˈ) [key], city (1996 pop. 261,341), E Guinea, a port on the Milo River, a tributary of the Niger. It is the commercial center for a farm area where rice, sesame, corn, tomatoes, oranges, mangoes, and pineapples are grown. Diamonds are mined, and the national diamond exchange is there. Bricks and fruit juices are made in Kankan, which also has a tomato canning factory and a sawmill. The city is connected by rail with Conakry. Kankan was probably founded in the 18th cent. as a trade center that linked the Sudan region with the forest belt and the Atlantic coast. The W African Muslim leader Samori Touré began (c.1866) his career as a military head and empire builder in the Kankan district and in 1873 took Kankan itself. The French occupied the city in 1891. Kankan has a polytechnic institute, a center for research on rice cultivation, a teacher-training school, and the national police school.
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