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perjantai 17. kesäkuuta 2016

Sierra Leone, Cool Facts #117

<= 116. South Africa                                                                                                 118. Swaziland => 

1. Name of the country 

The first European in Sierra Leone was the Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra, who mapped the hills surrounding the present-day Freetown Harbour in 1462, naming the shaped formation Serra da Leoa, meaning Lioness Mountains.

The Spanish version of the geographic formation was Sierra Leona, which was later adapted and then misspelled becoming Sierra Leone, the country's current name.

Mount Bintumani 1948m, highest point of Sierra Leone

2. Founding of Sierra Leone

After the American Revolutionary War, the British evacuated thousands of freed African-American slaves and resettled them in Canada, the Caribbean and London. 

In 1787 about 400 blacks and 60 whites sailed to Sierra Leone to establish Granville Town, the first settlement, which was burned to the ground by the local Temne chief in 1789. 

In 1792 the Sierra Leone Company established the settlement of Freetown. This settlement was founded by slaves who had been re-settled to Nova Scotia, Canada, with the aid of British authorities and abolitionists. 

In 1807 the British abolished slavery and in 1808 they reorganized the Sierra Leone Company as the African institution. Diseases and hostile local people were major challenges for the settlements in Sierra Leone. 

Unlike the neighboring Liberia, which became independent in 1847, Sierra Leone got independence from Great Britain in 1961.

Freetown in 1803

3. Triangular trade

In 1562 the British started the triangular trade transporting slaves and goods between three points in different continents. Sir John Hawkins transported 300 enslaved Africans to the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo, where he sold the slaves.

In the classical example of triangular trade slaves were bought from Africa and traded to sugar in the Caribbean. The sugar was traded to Europe or New England and distilled into rum. The sugar profits were used to buy manufactured goods, which were then shipped to Africa and bartered for slaves.

The triangular trade route was not completed by individual fleets, but there were separate fleets to sail between Africa-the Americas, the Americas-Europe and Europe-Africa.

Simplified map of the Triangular Trade

4. Civil War

The civil war of Sierra Leone lasted from 1991 until 2002. The civil war was initiated by Foday Sankoh's Revolutionary United Front RUF to occupy the diamond-rich areas of Sierra Leone. Charles Taylor's NPFL from Liberia supported RUF fighting against Joseph Momoh's government.

The civil war had its roots in Siaka Stevens' president term between 1968-1985, which was called as the "17 year plague of locusts" followed by Joseph Momoh's presidency, who maintained the status quo.

Foday Sankoh's RUF forces threatened the locals and killed them brutally. About a half of the population left their homes during the civil war and over 50,000 people died.

In 1997 Johnny Paul Koroma carried out a coup taking taking of the country but he was overthrown by Nigeria-led ECOWAS forces and the power was reinstated to the civilian president.

In 1999 the Lome Peace Accord was signed but in 2000 the rebels were advancing again upon Freetown.

The war ended when the British intervened defeating the RUF forces and taking control of Freetown in 2002. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was re-elected as president.

RUF fighters during the civil war

5. Economy of Sierra Leone

- 80% of the people working on agriculture sector
- Among top 10 diamond producers of the world 
- Rutile deposits in Sierra Leone among the world's largest
- One of the world's poorest countries 
- Large amounts of diamonds, platinum, chrome, gold, titanium and bauxite
- Natural resources benefitted mainly the elite and international companies 

Diamond mining
Economy map of Sierra Leone


800s The use of iron had been adopted by the people in the area
1000s Agriculture was practiced by coastal tribes
1462 Pedro de Sintra, the Portuguese explorer, was the first European in Sierra Leone
1495 The Portuguese built a fortified trading post and the Dutch and French followed them using Sierra Leone as trading point for slaves
1562 The British started the triangular trade transporting slaves and goods between three points in different continents
1787 The British founded a settlement in Sierra Leone for the freed slaves as 400 African American slaves established the Granville Town
1792 Nearly 1200 frees slaves from Nova Scotia crossed the Atlantic establishing the second colony of Sierra Leone and the settlement of Freetown
1807 Great Britain abolished slavery and in the following years the British delivered thousands of freed slaves to Freetown
1808 Sierra Leone became a British Crown Colony
1827 Fourah Bay College established, which was the only European-style university in western sub-Saharan Africa over a century
1847 The neighboring Liberia became independent, which was established by the Americans
1896 The British annexed more areas to their Sierra Leone Protectorate 
1898 Hut Tax war between the British and the Temne and Mende people
1924 UK divided Sierra Leone into a Colony and a Protectorate as Freetown was the Colony and inland areas were the Protectorate
1935 Sierra Leone Selection Trust, run by De Beers, was granted the mineral mining monopoly
1957 First parliamentary election
1960 Successful negotiations between Sir Milton Margai and Queen Elizabeth II and the British Colonial secretary about the independence in London
1961 Sierra Leone became independent from Great Britain 
1962 First general elections as an independent nation
1964 First Prime Minister Milton Margai died unexpectedly and his half-brother Albert Margai was appointed as the Prime Minister by the parliament
1967 Riots broke out against Sir Albert's policies and in the end he had to call for free and fair elections, which were won by APC's Siaka Stevens
1967 Stevens was ousted in a bloodless military coup led by General David Lansana just hours after taking office and a few days later General Andrew Juxon-Smith made a coup d'etat arresting Lansana and suspending the constitution becoming the Head of State himself
1968 ACRM overthrew now Andrew Juxon-Smith and his NRC junta reinstating the constitution and returning the power back to Stevens
1970 The head of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces John Amadu Bangura was executed as Stevens became more paranoid about possible threats to him
1971 Stevens became the president as the new constitution turned Sierra Leone a republic
1978 Sierra Leone became a one-party state after the APC dominant parliament approved the new constitution
1985 Siaka Stevens retired from politics and Joseph Saidu Momoh became the next president after being the only candidate
1991 The Civil War began 
1992 Valentine Strasser became the world's youngest head of state when he seized power three days after his 25th birthday
1996 Strasser was overthrown by Brigadier Bio who handed power to civilian rule as Kabbah became the head of state
1997 After a coup John Paul Koroma became the head of state
1998 Koroma's junta overthrown by Nigeria-led ECOMOG forces and Kabbah reinstated as the president
1999 UN peacekeepers arrived at Sierra Leone, but in 2000 they were taken as hostages and the fighting continued against RUF
2002 The civil war was declared to be over and Kabbah was re-elected as the president
2007 Ernest Bai Koroma became the president
2012 Koroma re-elected 
2014 Ebola virus epidemic started in Sierra Leone

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