The Portuguese also claimed Bolama in 1830 and a dispute developed. In 1860, the British proclaimed the island annexed to Sierra Leone, but in 1870 a commission chaired by Ulysses S. Grant awarded Bolama to Portugal. Subsequently, in 1879, Bolama became the first capital of Portuguese Guinea and remained so until its transfer to Bissau in 1941. Bissau had been founded in 1687 by Portugal as a fortified port and trading center. This transfer was needed due to the shortage of fresh water in Bolama. Bolama later became a seaplane stop, and a seaplane crash in 1931 is commemorated by a statue in the town.
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