|Falaba, Koinadugu District|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC-5)|
Falaba is a former town in the Solima area, Koinadugu District of the Northern Province of Sierra Leone. The population of Falaba is largely from the Mandingo and Kuranko ethnic groups. The village is largely Muslim.
As the capital of Solimana, Falaba was a fortress town on the rich slave-trading routes to the western coast of Africa. It was visited in 1822 by Alexander Gordon Laing, and in 1869 by William Winwood Reade; and was thus deemed nominally British.
In 1884, Mandinka conqueror Samori joined the king of Kaliere in attacking Solimana, then under the rule of Manga Sewa. After Samori's general N'fa Ali destroyed a number of surrounding villages, the Mandinka forces began a five-month siege of Falaba itself. With the city's residents starved nearly to death, Manga Sewa gathered his family in Falaba's gunpowder magazine and lit a torch, simultaneously killing himself and breaching Falaba's walls. Falaba was then briefly assimilated into Samori's Wassoulou Empire; following Samori's own fall several years later, it was reclaimed by the British.
The Anglo-French treaty of 1895 left the town without an affluent hinterland, and the colonial administrative post was moved from Falaba to Kabala. As a result, Falaba declined after 1895. Falaba was situated approximately thirty miles north-east of Kabala; the location shown on the map above refers to a different settlement with the same name.
Reports indicate that fighting in Falaba during the Sierra Leone Civil War of the 1990s caused most people to flee the town. In a press report of May 27, 1998, one witness said "the towns of Falaba, Sinkunia, Musaia-Mongo Bendugu, Krubonia, Bafodia and Yiffin had all been partly or totally destroyed" 1. The roads and bridges into Fabala were also almost totally destroyed, and the town very severely damaged, according to a post-war damage survey. An air survey in 2001 reported Falaba as a "village" 2.
The British R.M.S. Falaba, a West African steamship, was hit and sunk by a U-boat torpedo in 1915. It was the first passenger ship sunk during World War I. Leon Thrasher, an American citizen, died on the Falaba, and his body was found after the Lusitania sank (Thrasher incident).