Sierra Leone Liberated African

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An 1835 illustration of liberated slaves arriving in Sierra Leone.

The Sierra Leone Liberated Africans or the Recaptives were slaves freed by the British Royal Navy from slave ships on the high seas and brought to Freetown, now Sierra Leone's capital city.


After the British abolished the slave trade in 1808, the Royal Navy started patrolling along the African coast and high seas, seizing all slave vessels. They transported most liberated Africans to Freetown, but sent some to Liberia, a colony established by the United States; Saint Helena, Guyana in South America, and the British West Indies. Over 40,000 liberated Africans arrived in Freetown between 1808 and about 1855. They were given land, baptised and given Christian first and last names. It took decades for them and the other groups of colonists, such as the Maroons and the Nova Scotian Settlers who were African American in background, to mix with each other and form the distinctive ethnic group known as the Creole people. None were native to Sierra Leone, and they had some conflict with native tribes.

Tension with other groups in Freetown[edit]

The Colony-born children of Liberated Africans, the Jamaican Maroons and West Indian immigrants called the liberated Africans "Willyfoss niggers".[1] They and the Creole settlers eventually developed into the Sierra Leone Creole people.

The liberated Africans came from all over West Africa and some Central African countries; of the people who settled in Freetown, however a significant portion of the Recaptives settled in Freetown were Bakongo, Beninese, Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and Akan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A history of the colonization of ... - Google Books. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 


External links[edit]