origin of term "guinea"

Why are Italian people sometimes referred to as "guinea’s, and what is the origin of this usage of the word ?

As in ‘guinea pig’ (like for experimentation)? I don’t think I have ever heard of Italians being called that but here is a thorough explanation of that term.

No, it’s in the sense of “Guinea” in Africa. The term was applied to Italians because of their relatively dark skin compared to northern Europeans.

**dinoboy[/b[, you’ve never seen a movie about the Mafia?

Here’s the most recent thread on the subject, with links to earlier threads.