Sierra Leoneans in the United Kingdom

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Sierra Leoneans in the United Kingdom
Total population
17,048 Sierra Leonean born (2001)[1]
Ancestral Numbers Unknown
Regions with significant populations
London, Sheffield, Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Leicester and Bristol.
Krio, English, Mende, Temne, Mandingo
Christianity · Sunni Islam · Atheism

Sierra Leoneans in the United Kingdom are citizens or residents of the United Kingdom who are of Sierra Leonean descent. In 2001, there were 17,048 Sierra Leonean-born residents of the UK.[1]


Sierra Leonean migration to the UK has a long history, with traders, chiefs, doctors and lawyers sending their children to be educated in Britain in increasing numbers from the mid-19th century.[2] In the late 18th century, the Province of Freedom was founded by free and freed African Americans, West Indians, and Black Britons from England who were transported to Sierra Leone. The Province of Freedom was founded with the support of the Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor. This colony lasted from 1787 to 1789 when it was destroyed.[3] The city of Freetown was founded as a refuge for freed slaves.

Migration in the 17th century[edit]

Many British traders in the Service of the Royal African Company went to Sierra Leone during the 17th and 18th centuries. Many had children with women from the Sherbro tribe and their descendants can be found in Sierra Leone today. Thus a number of Sierra Leoneans (particularly those from the Sherbro and Creole ethnic groups) can trace their ancestry back to British traders, colonial officials, and former slave traders.

Migration in the 20th century[edit]

There was a small Sierra Leonean population in the UK in the early part of the 20th century and Sierra Leoneans served in the British armed forces during World War II.[4] More recent migration from Sierra Leone to the UK has included refugees fleeing the Sierra Leone Civil War. One author states that some 17,000 Sierra Leonean refugees arrived in the UK between 1992 and 2003.[4] Prior to the war, starting in the 1960s, smaller numbers of refugees arrived in the UK.[4] The Sierra Leonean migrant population includes numerous ethnic groups, including Sierra Leonean-Lebanese.[4] Most Sierra Leonean refugees in the UK live in London, with smaller numbers found in Manchester and other major cities.[4]

Migration in the 21st century[edit]

The UK Office of National Statistics recorded 23,000 Sierra Leoneans living in England Wales in 2011.[5]

Diaspora organisations in the UK[edit]

Notable individuals[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  2. ^ Debrunner, Hans Werner (1979). Presence and Prestige: Africans in Europe. Basel: Basler Afrika Bibliographien. p. 368. 
  3. ^ "The Black Poor". Black Presence: Asian and Black History in Britain. National Archives. Retrieved 2009-07-16. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Rutter, Jill (2003). Supporting Refugee Children in 21st Century Britain: A Compendium of Essential Information (revised ed.). Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books. pp. 260–263. ISBN 1-85856-292-9. 
  5. ^ "Immigration Patterns of Non-UK Born Populations in England and Wales in 2011". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 13 February 2016.