Fourah Bay College

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Fourah Bay College
Fourah Bay College (Old building, 1930s)
Latin: Collegium Fourah Bay
EstablishedFebruary 18, 1827; 194 years ago (1827-02-18)
Students3,465 total
8°28′37.9″N 13°13′16.3″W / 8.477194°N 13.221194°W / 8.477194; -13.221194Coordinates: 8°28′37.9″N 13°13′16.3″W / 8.477194°N 13.221194°W / 8.477194; -13.221194
CampusFreetown campus (urban)
AffiliationsUniversity of Sierra Leone
FBC shield.svg

Fourah Bay College is a public university in the neighbourhood of Mount Aureol in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Founded on 18 February 1827, it is the first western-style university built in West Africa. It is a constituent college of the University of Sierra Leone (USL) and was formerly affiliated with Durham University (1876–1967).[1]



The college was established in February 1827 as an Anglican missionary school by the Church Missionary Society with support from Charles MacCarthy, the governor of Sierra Leone. Samuel Ajayi Crowther was the first student to be enrolled at Fourah Bay.[2] Fourah Bay College soon became a magnet for Sierra Leone Creoles and other Africans seeking higher education in British West Africa. These included Nigerians, Ghanaians, Ivorians and many more, especially in the fields of theology and education. It was the first western-style university in West Africa. Under colonialism, Freetown was known as the "Athens of Africa" due to the large number of excellent schools in Freetown and surrounding areas.

The first black principal of the university was an African-American missionary, Reverend Edward Jones from South Carolina, United States. Lamina Sankoh was a prominent early academic; Francis Heiser was principal from 1920 to 1922. Davidson Nicol was the first Sierra Leonean administrator in 1966.


The old building of Fourah Bay College


  • Faculty of Arts
  • Faculty of Engineering
  • Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences
  • Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
  • Faculty of Applied Accounting


Institute of Adult Education and Extra-Mural Studies[edit]

Institute of African Studies[edit]

Work began on the building of the Institute of African Studies in 1966 with half the £40,000 being provided by the UK Technical Assistance Programme. The first Director was Michael Crowder with J. G. Edowu-Hyde as secretary. The journal Sierra Leone Studies was also relaunched at this time.[3]

Institute of Marine Biology and Oceanography[edit]

Institute of Population Studies[edit]

Institute of Library, Information and Communication Studies[edit]


As of 1998/1999, the student enrollment was around 2,000 in four faculties and five institutes. It had consistently expanded in the 10 previous years.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also Category:Fourah Bay College alumni


  1. ^ "About Us". Fourah Bay College. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  2. ^ Kopytoff, Jean Herskovits. A Preface to Modern Nigeria: The "Sierra Leonians" in Yoruba, 1830–1890. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 35.
  3. ^ Crowder, Michael (1966). "Institute of African Studies, Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone". The Journal of Modern Sierra Leone Studies. 4 (1): 95–6. JSTOR 159418.
  4. ^ Liddell, Marcus (18 October 2017). "Christian Cole: Oxford University's first black student". Retrieved 18 October 2017.

External links[edit]