Sierra Leone Profile

Sierra Leone, with its population of 8.606 million (2022), is located on the west coast of Africa bordered by Guinea to its north and east, by 291 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline to its west and south-west and Liberia to its south-east. Because of its dense tropical rainforest, Sierra Leone (named after the mountains around Freetown harbour by the Portuguese 'Serra Lyoa' ~ Lion Mountains) 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 17th 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. Cont/...

Complete Sierra Leone Profile

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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Blood Diamonds

Blood Diamonds

A video and article about how diamonds were used to fund the brutal civil war in Sierra Leone.
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Volunteer Work

African Volunteer Work: Sierra Leone

Check out all the latest fee paying and free volunteer work placements in Sierra Leone.
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Sierra Leone Profile

Sierra Leone Profile




Sierra Leone Country ProfileBy 1991 there was an air of corruption in the politics of Sierra Leone and civil war broke outa and, by the time the war was declared over in January 2002, thousands of people, especially children, had been killed, tortured and maimed 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.

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 184th place out of 191 countries and territories in 2021 when ranked in terms of life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and the living standards of a country.

Find out more about Sierra Leone today in the profile pages above.


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