Portal:Sierra Leone

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The Sierra Leone Portal

Location of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone (/siˌɛrə liˈn(i)/ (About this soundlisten), also UK: /siˌɛərə -/, US: /ˌsɪərə -/), officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, informally Salone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It is bordered by Liberia to the southeast and Guinea to the northeast. Sierra Leone has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savanna to rainforests, and a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi) and a population of 7,075,641 as of the 2015 census. The capital and largest city is Freetown. Sierra Leone is divided into five administrative regions, which are further subdivided into sixteen districts.

Sierra Leone was a British Crown Colony from 1808 to April 27, 1961, when it achieved independence from Britain as Milton Margai became the country's first Prime Minister. Milton Margai's political party, the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), under the leadership of Albert Margai, narrowly lost the 1967 Sierra Leone parliamentary elections to the main opposition party, the All People's Congress (APC), led by Siaka Stevens. Stevens, a political strongman, ruled Sierra Leone from 1967 to 1985 when he retired from politics due to poor health. On 19 April 1971, Stevens' government abolished Sierra Leone's parliamentary government system and declared Sierra Leone a presidential republic. From 1978 to 1985, president Stevens" APC party was the only legal political party in Sierra Leone. The current multiparty democratic constitution of Sierra Leone was adopted in 1991 by the government of President Joseph Saidu Momoh, Stevens' hand picked successor, just as the rebel group Revolutionary United Front, led by former imprisoned Sierra Leone army officer Foday Sankoh, launched a brutal civil war in the country.

On 29 April 1992, a group of Junior soldiers in the Sierra Leone Army led by a 25 year old Captain Valentine Strasser overthrew President Momoh, and Sierra Leone was under Military rule from 1992 to 1996 during the civil war. Sierra Leone returned to a democratically elected government when the military Junta under Brigadier General Julius Maada Bio, who had ousted Strasser in a coup in 1996, handed the presidency to Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of the SLPP after his victory in the 1996 Sierra Leone presidential election. However, on 25 May 1997, the Sierra Leone military overthrew President Kabbah in a coup and Major General Johnny Paul Koroma became the country's Head of State. However, in February 1998, a coalition of West African Ecowas armed forces led by Nigeria reinstated President Kabbah by military force, and the leaders of the coup were executed after they were sentenced to death by a Sierra Leone military court. In January 2002, President Kabbah announced the ending of the civil war with the help and support of Ecowas, the British government, the African Union, and the United Nations. Sierra Leone has had an uninterrupted democratic government from 1998 to present.

Sixteen ethnic groups inhabit Sierra Leone, each with its own language and customs. The two largest and most influential are the Temne and Mende. The Temne are predominantly found in the northwest of the country, and the Mende in the southeast. Comprising a small minority, about 2%, are the Krio people, who are descendants of freed African-American and West Indian slaves. Although English is the official language, used in schools and government administration, Krio, an English-based creole, is the most widely spoken language across Sierra Leone. Spoken by 98% of the population, Krio unites all the ethnic groups in the country, especially in their trade and social interaction. Read more...

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A satellite picture of Freetown, 2006.

Bunce Island (also spelled "Bence," "Bense," or "Bance" at different periods) is an island in the Sierra Leone River. It is situated in Freetown Harbour, the estuary of the Rokel River and Port Loko Creek, about 20 miles (32 kilometres) upriver from Sierra Leone's capital city Freetown. The island measures about 1,650 feet (502.9 metres) by 350 feet (106.7 metres) and houses a castle that was built by a British slave-trading company in c.1670. Tens of thousands of Africans were shipped from here to the North American colonies of South Carolina and Georgia to be forced into slavery, and are the ancestors of many African Americans of the United States.

Although the island is small, its strategic position at the limit of navigation for ocean-going ships in Africa's largest natural harbour made it an ideal base for European slave traders. To mark the 2007–2008 bicentennial of Great Britain's abolition of the African slave trade, a team at James Madison University created a three-dimensional animation of the castle as it was in 1805, and an exhibit on the site that was displayed to museums all across the U.S. which is now held by the Sierra Leone National Museum. Read more...
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Aniru Conteh

Aniru Sahib Sahib Conteh (6 August 1942 – 4 April 2004) was a Sierra Leonean physician and expert on the clinical treatment of Lassa fever, a viral hemorrhagic fever endemic to West Africa caused by the Lassa virus. Conteh studied medicine at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and taught at Ibadan Teaching Hospital. He later returned to Sierra Leone where he joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Lassa fever program at Nixon Methodist Hospital in Segbwema, first as superintendent and then as clinical director.

After the Sierra Leone Civil War began in 1991, the CDC closed their program in Segbwema. Conteh and his medical team moved from Segbwema to the Kenema Government Hospital (KGH), where he spent the next two decades running the only dedicated Lassa fever ward in the world. Conteh collaborated with the British charity Merlin to promote public health in Sierra Leone through education and awareness campaigns intended to prevent Lassa fever. With little funding and few supplies, Conteh successfully reduced mortality rates and saved many lives until an accidental needlestick injury led to his own death from the disease in 2004. Read more...


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Provinces: Eastern ProvinceNorthern ProvinceSouthern ProvinceWestern Area

History: Sierra Leone Colony and ProtectorateKingdom of KoyaBritish West AfricaSierra Leone Liberated AfricansSierra Leone Civil WarUnited Nations Mission in Sierra Leone

Law: Sierra Leone PoliceSpecial Court for Sierra LeoneTruth and Reconciliation CommissionPrisons in Sierra Leone

Politics: List of PresidentsPolitical PartiesParliamentForeign relationsElectionsMilitary of Sierra Leone

Geography: ProtectedSierra Leone RiverWestern Guinean lowland forestsOutamba-Kilimi National ParkTransport

Society: SportDemographicsEducationCuisineMediaMusic

Symbols: FlagCoat of armsNational anthem (High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free)

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The road from Kenema to Kailahun District
Credit: Lindsay Stark
The road from Kenema to Kailahun District. (read more . . . )

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