World History

Sierra Leone | History, Capital, Language, Flag, Facts

History of Sierra Leone:

Sierra Leon has been inhabited by tribal people for thousands of years. The name comes from the Portuguese word for Lion Mountain, Serra de Leao. The first European to discover Sierra Leon was Pedro da Cintra from Portugal. He mapped the hills around what is now the port of Freetown.

In the early 1900s, Freetown was home to the Governor of England’s Gold Coast. In 1961, Sierra Leon became a fully independent country. From 1991 to 2002, Sierra Leon was ravaged by civil war. Thousands of people were killed in the war and millions more were displaced. Today, the country is still trying to recover.

Information about Sierra Leone:

Capital Freetown
Population 8,825,544 (Source: 2023 worldometer)
Major Cities Freetown (capital), Kenema, Koidu, Bo, Makeni, Waterloo
Borders North and east by Guinea, on the south by Liberia, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $3,970,343,852 (2022 worldometer)
Currency leone (SLL)

Flag of Sierra Leone:

Sierra Leone Economy Key Industries:

Sierra Leone Major Industries: diamond mining; small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, cigarettes, footwear); petroleum refining, small commercial ship repair

Sierra Leone Agricultural Products: rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish

Sierra Leone Natural Resources: diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite

Sierra Leone Major Exports: diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish

Sierra Leone Major Imports: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels and lubricants, chemicals

The Geography of Sierra Leone:

Total Size of Sierra Leone: 71,740 km² (source: wikipedia)

Geographical Low Point of Sierra Leone: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Geographical High Point of Sierra Leone: Loma Mansa (Bintimani) 1,948 m

Climate of Sierra Leone: Tropical; hot, humid; summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April)

General Terrain of Sierra Leone: coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east

World Region or Continent of Sierra Leone: Africa

Geographical Coordinates: 8 30 N, 11 30 W

The People of  Sierra Leone & Culture

Sierra Leone Government Type: constitutional democracy

Sierra Leone Nationality: Sierra Leonean(s)

Sierra Leone National Holiday: Independence Day, 27 April (1961)

Sierra Leone Independence: 27 April 1961 (from UK)

Sierra Leone National Symbol: lion

Sierra Leone National Anthem or Song: High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free

Sierra Leone Languages Spoken: English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)

Sierra Leone Religions:  Muslim 60%, indigenous beliefs 30%, Christian 10%

Interesting Facts about Sierra Leone:

Sierra Leone’s official language is English, inherited from its colonial past.

Sierra Leone has a diverse population of various ethnic groups including Mende, Temne, Limba and Krio.

The country is known for its rich cultural heritage, traditional music and dance, especially the rhythmic Bubu rhythms and Krio’s energetic “African Pop” music.

Sierra Leone is rich in natural resources including diamonds, gold, bauxite and iron ore. However, the exploitation of these resources also contributed to conflicting periods in the country’s history.

The civil war in Sierra Leone that lasted from 1991 to 2002 left a deep mark on the country and its people. War has caused significant loss of life, displacement and damage to infrastructure.

Sierra Leone is famous for its beautiful and diverse wildlife. Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Outamba-Kilimi National Park are among the protected areas of the country.

The iconic Cotton Tree, located in the heart of Freetown, is a symbol of national unity and represents the history and resilience of Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone has a beautiful natural landscape that includes pristine beaches along the coast, lush rainforests and the picturesque island of Tiwai on the Moa River.

Traditional Sierra Leonean cuisine is diverse and includes items such as cassava leaves, palm butter, stewed peanuts and fried plantains.

The people of Sierra Leone are known for their warm hospitality and friendly nature, often welcoming visitors with open arms.

The main sport of the country is football and the national football team is known as the Leone Stars.

Sierra Leone has a vibrant arts and crafts scene, with skilled artisans producing traditional carvings, masks and textiles.

Sierra Leone’s film industry, known as Nollywood (not to be confused with Nigeria’s Nollywood), is gaining recognition and producing impactful films that explore social issues.

Sierra Leone is home to the famous Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, which rehabilitates and protects orphaned and injured chimpanzees.

The Loma Mountains in Sierra Leone are home to Mount Bintumani, the highest peak in West Africa, at 1,945 meters (6,381 feet).

Sierra Leone is known for its colorful traditional festivals, such as the Poro and Bondo, which celebrate young men and women entering adulthood. Sierra Leone gained independence from British colonial rule on April 27, 1961 and celebrates National Independence Day every year.

Sierra Leone is located on the west coast of Africa and is bordered by Guinea to the northeast and Liberia to the southeast.