Guinea-Bissau is one of the world's poorest and most fragile countries. Following its independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has suffered from frequent political upheavals and repeated economic shocks, resulting in fragility and a poverty trap that has made it difficult for the country to achieve a sustained push for development. Guinea-Bissau has historically been a land of open conflicts and ongoing armed confrontations. The violent conflicts followed by consecutive military coups left a substantial part of the economic and social infrastructure in ruins, and contributed to intensifying the already widespread poverty. President Vieira, who had seized power in 1980 and ruled the country for almost 20 years was killed on March 1, 2009. Following that, democratic presidential elections were held in July 2009 which resulted in Malam Sanha becoming President. In April 2012, the latest coup reversed the social and economic gains that Guinea-Bissau had previously achieved, and again pulled the country into a political and economic crisis. However, general elections were held in early 2014, restoring the course to a democratic order. The population is 1.7 million in 2017.