Portal:Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Portal

Location of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone (/siˌɛrə liˈn(i)/ (About this soundlisten), also UK: /siˌɛərə -/, US: /ˌsɪərə -/), officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, informally Salone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It is bordered by Liberia to the southeast and Guinea to the northeast. Sierra Leone has a tropical climate with a diverse environment ranging from savanna to rainforests, a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi) and a population of 7,092,113 as of the 2015 census. The capital and largest city is Freetown. The country is divided into five administrative regions which are subdivided into sixteen districts. Sierra Leone is a constitutional republic with a unicameral parliament and a directly elected president serving a five-year term with a maximum of two terms. The current president is Julius Maada Bio. Sierra Leone is a secular nation with the constitution providing for the separation of state and religion and freedom of conscience (which includes freedom of thoughts and religion). Muslims make up about three-quarters of the population, though with an influential Christian minority. Religious tolerance in the West African nation is very high and is generally considered a norm and part of Sierra Leone's cultural identity.

Although inhabited for millennia, Sierra Leone, as the country and its borders are known today, was founded by the British Crown in two phases: first, the coastal Sierra Leone Colony in 1808 (for returning Africans after the abolition of slavery); second, the inland Protectorate in 1896 (as the Crown needed to establish more dominion inland following the outcome of the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885). Hence, the country formally became known as the "Sierra Leone Colony and Protectorate" or simply British Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone gained independence from the United Kingdom on 27 April 1961, and became a Commonwealth realm on the same day; the country's name changed to the Dominion of Sierra Leone. Sir Milton Margai became Sierra Leone's first Prime Minister.

During the few decades following independence, Sierra Leone witnessed an increase in political activities, transformations, turmoil, humanitarian and socio-economic crises. The country had its first general elections as an independent nation on 27 May 1961. Margai's Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) won a plurality of parliamentary seats and he was re-elected Prime Minister. A new constitution was adopted in 1971, paving the way for Sierra Leone becoming a republic, and Siaka Stevens, leader of the All People's Congress (APC), becoming the first executive president of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Stevens held on to this position for 14 years (until 1985) under a one-party system of government facilitated by the controversial 1978 Constitution. However, Stevens' hand-picked successor Joseph Saidu Momoh promised to return the country back to a multi-party system; a new constitution was adopted in 1991 that provided the means for a multi-party democracy. A brutal civil war broke out the same year, which went on for 11 years with devastating effects on almost everything that defined Sierra Leone as a nation. In just a year after the war broke out (in 1992), President Momoh was ousted by a coup led by Sierra Leone Army captain Valentine Strasser. Strasser was later "ousted" by his army colleague and second-in-command Julius Maada Bio, for failing to commit to a quick transfer to civilian rule. Bio would then return the country back to a democratic republic in 1996 through a general election.

In early 1996, despite the country going through a brutal civil war, the emergence of the prospect of a transformation back to a multi-party democracy brought fresh hopes and great expectations among a majority of Sierra Leoneans, as the national debate "Peace before Elections vs Elections before Peace" became a hot topic. Eventually, "Elections before Peace" won the debate. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah won the 1996 presidential election and became the first multi-party democratically elected president of Sierra Leone. Since then, there has been a smooth succession to the presidency all via elections. However, a brief coup in 1997 led by Sierra Leone Army major Johnny Paul Koroma ousted Kabbah, who went into exile in Guinea. He was reinstated back after nine months through military intervention by ECOMOG. Kabbah's presidency marked the dawn of a new Sierra Leone, which included the end of the civil war in 2002, a focus on fostering national unity and reconciliation, trust in government, peace and stability, the improvement in relations with many countries, and the refounding of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces with special assistance and training led by the Government of the United Kingdom. (Full article...)

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The Sierra Leone Creole people (Krio: Krio people) is an ethnic group native to Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Creole people are descendants of freed African American, West Indian, and Liberated African slaves who settled in the Western Area of Sierra Leone between 1787 and about 1885. The colony was established by the British, supported by abolitionists, under the Sierra Leone Company as a place for freedmen. The settlers called their new settlement Freetown. Today, the Sierra Leone Creoles are 1.3% of the population of Sierra Leone.

Like their Americo-Liberian neighbors and sister ethnic group in Liberia, Sierra Leone Creoles have varying degrees of European ancestry due to the close historical relations between the ethnicities through decades of indenture, slavery and sexual abuse, and voluntary unions and marriages in North America. Some have Native American ancestry as well. In Sierra Leone, some of the settlers intermarried with other English or Europeans. Through the Jamaican Maroons, some Creoles probably also have indigenous Jamaican Amerindian Taíno ancestry. The Americo-Liberians and the Sierra Leone Creoles are the only recognised ethnic group of African-American, Liberated African, and West Indian descent in West Africa. The Sierra Leone Creole culture is primarily westernized. The Creoles as a class developed close relationships with the British colonial administration; they became educated in British institutions and advanced to prominent leadership positions in Sierra Leone under British colonial rule. Due to this history, the vast majority of Sierra Leone Creoles have European first names and/or surnames. Many have both British first names and surnames. (Full article...)
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The Sierra Leone women's national football team represents Sierra Leone in international women's football. It is governed by the Sierra Leone Football Association, which is part of the Confederation of African Football. Sierra Leone has played only four FIFA recognised matches, two in 1994 and two in 2010. The country has under-17 and under-20 women's national sides. The development of women's football in Sierra Leone faces challenges present throughout the continent. Domestically, it faces its own issues including the lack of a women's domestic competition and the decline in popularity of the sport among women. (Full article...)

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Provinces: Eastern ProvinceNorthern ProvinceSouthern ProvinceWestern Area

History: Sierra Leone Colony and ProtectorateKingdom of KoyaBritish West AfricaSierra Leone Liberated AfricansSierra Leone Civil WarUnited Nations Mission in Sierra Leone

Law: Sierra Leone PoliceSpecial Court for Sierra LeoneTruth and Reconciliation CommissionPrisons in Sierra Leone

Politics: List of PresidentsPolitical PartiesParliamentForeign relationsElectionsMilitary of Sierra Leone

Geography: ProtectedSierra Leone RiverWestern Guinean lowland forestsOutamba-Kilimi National ParkTransport

Society: SportDemographicsEducationCuisineMediaMusic

Symbols: FlagCoat of armsNational anthem (High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free)

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A map of Sierra Leone

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