Thursday, December 01, 2005

History of Sierra Leone

History of Sierra Leone. This is a brief history to the very troubled African nation of Sierra Leone.

Wikipedia notes, "The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea on the north and Liberia on the southeast, with the Atlantic Ocean on the southwest. The name Sierra Leone was adapted from the Spanish version: Sierra León, and in turn, from the Portuguese Serra-Leão [or Serra Leoa] which stands for 'lioness mountains.' It was an important centre of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Much like neighbouring Liberia, it was founded by freed slaves, who in 1791 founded the capital, Freetown. In 1806, Freetown became a British Protectorate (as did the remainder of the country in 1896), reaching independence in 1961. From 1991 to 2002, the country suffered greatly under a devastating series of civil and political violence."

Some other good history related Sierra Leone links include:

Civil War in Sierra Leone - Focus on Human Rights - News, campaign and advocacy documents on Civil War in Sierra Leone with a special focus on Human Rights concerns during conflict situation.

Diamond In the Rough: Ahmad Tejan Kabbah - Short profile and interview with Sierra Leone's President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah by Time Magazine in 2002.

History of Sierra Leone before 1990 - Offers a timeline of history.

From the site:

European contacts with Sierra Leone were among the first in West Africa. In 1652, the first slaves in North America were brought from Sierra Leone to the Sea Islands off the coast of the southern United States. During the 1700s there was a thriving trade bringing slaves from Sierra Leone to the plantations of South Carolina and Georgia where their rice-farming skills made them particularly valuable.

In 1787 the British helped 400 freed slaves from the United States, Nova Scotia, and Great Britain return to Sierra Leone to settle in what they called the "Province of Freedom." Disease and hostility from the indigenous people nearly eliminated the first group of returnees. This settlement was joined by other groups of freed slaves and soon became known as Freetown. In 1792, Freetown became one of Britain's first colonies in West Africa.

Thousands of slaves were returned to or liberated in Freetown. Most chose to remain in Sierra Leone. These returned Africans--or Krio as they came to be called--were from all areas of Africa. Cut off from their homes and traditions by the experience of slavery, they assimilated some aspects of British styles of life and built a flourishing trade on the West African coast.

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