Sierra Leone Fun Facts: Learn More About The West African Country

Abhijeet Modi
Nov 01, 2023 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Apr 16, 2022
Enjoy these fun Sierra Leone facts!

Sierra Leone is a small country in west Africa that is home to around six million people.

In recent years, Sierra Leone has faced significant challenges, including a civil war and Ebola outbreaks. However, the people of Sierra Leone are resilient and continue to make progress both socially and economically.

Facts About Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is known for its beautiful beaches, lush rain forests, and mountains. The people of Sierra Leone are friendly and welcoming, and the country has a rich culture.

The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country located in west Africa, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and Liberia to the southeast.

The name Sierra Leone means 'roaring mountains' or 'lion mountains'. It came from the Portuguese word 'Sierra Lyoa'. The name was given by Portuguese explorer Pedro da Cintra, who discovered this mountainous part of the African continent in 1462, during a thunderstorm that sounded like the roar of a lion.

Rice is the staple food of the people of Sierra Leone, and most people have it for all meals. Kukhri, jollof rice, plassas, groundnut stew, krinkrinand fish balls, and yebe are some of the popular local dishes.

As per the United Nation's Human Development Index 2020, Sierra Leone is the eighth least-developed country. This country has rich deposits of precious minerals like diamond, gold, bauxite, and aluminum. Sierra Leone is known for blood diamonds, diamond mining, and trade that took place during the civil war of 1991-2002.

Freetown is Sierra Leone's capital city. It is located in the western area of Sierra Leone and is the seat of the government.

The country's capital is home to the world-famous cultural symbol, the Cotton Tree. The Cotton Tree in Freetown was planted by freed slaves from America who came to west Africa in 1792. Some experts say that the tree in Freetown might be the oldest such cotton tree in the world.

Sierra Leone is home to Fourah Bay College, the first university to take after the west in Sub-Saharan Africa. Fourah Bay College is also the first educational institution at the university level in Africa.

The tropical climate of the country makes it rich in biodiversity. However, human activities pose a serious threat to wildlife.

This tropical country is home to the Ghana snail, a giant snail that can grow up to a length of 12 in (30.5 cm). The Western Area Peninsula National Park is a wildlife refuge in Sierra Leone.

The Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary is located in a rain forest inside the National Park, a perfect spot for chimpanzee lovers. This sanctuary was founded by a native of Sri Lanka in 1995, and it works to rehabilitate primates.

Sierra Leone is a popular tourist attraction due to its history and cultural diversity.

Sierra Leone's History

Did you know that the Republic of Sierra Leone is one of the oldest countries in the world? It has a rich history that goes back thousands of years.

Before the discovery of Sierra Leone by Pedro da Cintra, it was inhabited by the forefathers of the Limba people. Around 2,500 years ago, Sierra Leone is believed to have been inhabited by indigenous groups. Limba tribe is the oldest community of Sierra Leone.

Other ethnic groups include the Bullom (Sherbros), Temne, Mende, and Loko people. After Pedro da Cintra's discovery, Sierra Leone began to gain attention as a port. Mane people invaded the country during the 16th century, and a period of perpetual tribal wars followed.

Sierra Leone was severely affected by the slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries. The British colony in Freetown became a refuge for freed slaves seeking shelter and freedom when the slave trade was abolished in 1807.

The capital city of Freetown had turned into the focal point of colonial rule in west Africa. This colony grew as more people returning to their African homeland settled in Sierra Leone. The descendants of these settlers are referred to as 'Krios' or 'Creoles'.

Tribal wars and slave trade subsided as the British and Krios gained power in the area. There was considerable peace in the country, as well as better commerce.

The British faced resistance after they drew borders for a colonial protectorate in 1895. This led to the Hut Tax War of 1898 and further political unrest in Sierra Leone. On April 27, 1961, Sierra Leone gained freedom from British colonial rule.

After gaining independence, Sierra Leone became part of the Commonwealth of Nations. This country continues to be riddled with political instability that is still felt from the time of these wars.

Read on for more details about the history and culture of Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone's Geography

Did you know that Sierra Leone is located on the west coast of Africa? It is a small country, but it has a lot of interesting geography.

Sierra Leone covers an area of 27,699 sq mi (71,740 km²). Sierra Leone's terrain is made up of a motley of forests, mountains, and upland plateaus. This country has an Atlantic coastline with Guinea to the north and Liberia to the south and southeast.

Sierra Leone is one of the wettest countries on the west African coast. Precipitation in the form of rainfall reaches up to 195 in (495 cm) in a year.

This country experiences high temperatures and spells of dry and wet periods. Being in a tropical zone, Sierra Leone always has high humidity. In Freetown, the average humidity is around 80%.

Sierra Leone's Culture

Despite its small size, Sierra Leone has a rich culture that spans centuries. Some of the country's most notable traditions include music and dance, as well as traditional dress.

The official language of Sierra Leone is English, though there are also a number of local languages spoken. The majority of the population practices Islam, though there is also an influential Christian minority. Besides Islam and Christianity, people in Sierra Leone practice indigenous beliefs. Traditionally, the people of Sierra Leone have been involved in mining and subsistence agriculture.

British, French, Creole, and West Indian influences can be seen in the music of this region. At present, Temne and Mende are the largest ethnic groups in the country.

Krio is a language understood by almost the entire population, serving as a means of national unity. This west African country has a heritage of storytelling, and people use it to make a living. Mask-making, basket weaving, batik-printing, and tie-dyeing are some of the crafts found here that appeal to tourists.

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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

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Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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