Sierra Leone Profile

Today Sierra Leone is best known for one of the most savage and cruel civil wars in the history of mankind, but its actual history goes back around two and a half thousand years. Because of its dense tropical rainforest Sierra Leone (named after the mountains around Freetown harbour by the Portuguese 'Serra Lyoa' ~ Lion Mountains) Sierra Leone was mostly cut off from the rest of Africa. Europe made its first contact there in 1462 and soon established trading posts and inevitably introduced slavery. By the seventeenth century Portuguese imperialism was on the wan and their presence there was largely supplanted by the British.

By the 1800s Sierra Leone, whilst then a British colony, was much smaller than its present day area insofar as much of the land was still ruled by its indigenous people.

Over the next decades British rule extended either by treaty, agreement or by other means until it exerted full control over the area, mainly in order to exclude the French.

In April 1961 Sierra Leone was granted full independence from the United Kingdom and elections were arranged for May 1962 in which the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) were victorious.

A few years later military rule was imposed following a further election in 1967 however just over a year later democracy was restored. By 1991 there was an air of corruption in the politics of Sierra Leone and civil war broke out; a war in which tens of thousands died and over one third of the population was displaced. The precipitating factors for the civil war were an underlying sense of injustice that the ruling classes were benefiting from the income generated from alluvial diamond mining whilst the poor remained poor.

Today the poor are still poor with boys in particular, as they mature into adulthood, still having the scars of their child soldier years.


Sierra Leone Profile

Sierra Leone Profile

Sierra Leone Profile

Sierra Leone Profile


Civil War

Sierra Leone Civil War

A short introduction and guide to the decade long devastating civil war in Sierra Leone.
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Child Soldiers

Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone

A video documentary about the plight of child soldiers in Sierra Leone whose lives are still being affected today.
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Volunteer Work Sierra Leone

Check out all the latest African volunteer work placements and openings in Sierra Leone.
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Sierra Leone Profile: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Sierra Leone Profile

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The country's infrastructure is still weak and many are under educated, most un or under employed as well with high unemployment particularly affecting young people (60%), the very young people who were so brutalised as those child soldiers. As such, many attempt to cross illegally in Europe in the hope of finding a better life only for them to die at sea or end up in detention centres once arriving in the EU, mainly via Spain and Italy. Sierra Leone is in 177th place out of 186 countries and territories in 2013 when ranked in terms of life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and the living standards of a country not that these basic facts about Sierra Leone are reflected in the video (top, right.) Find out more about Sierra Leone today in the information pages above.


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