Sierra Leone is found in West Africa, fronting onto the Atlantic Ocean, and flanked by Liberia and Guinea.
The very earliest inhabitants of Sierra Leone were possibly the Bulom people. The 15th century saw the Mende, Temne and Fulani peoples follow them. The first peoples from Europe to explore here were the Portuguese. They gave Sierra Leone its present name, meaning "lion mountains.Ã¢â¬ The coastal port of Freetown was ceded to English settlers in 1787 as a home for runaway slaves and Blacks discharged from the British Army. In 1808 the coastal zone was colonized by the British, and in 1896 the British proclaimed a protectorate inland.
Sierra Leone became an independent nation on April 27, 1961. This was followed by a long history of coups and military dictatorships. In 1996, another military coup led surprisingly to a multiparty presidential election and Ahmad Kabbah became Sierra Leone's first democratically elected president. Political power and rich diamond fields were hotly contested so yet another coup followed a year later. This began a destructive reign of terror -including torture, rape, and brutal amputations of thousands, including children.
The official ending of conflict in January 2002 left some 50,000 people dead after the decade-long civil war. The UN installed a large peacekeeping force and shortly after, Kabbah was reelected.
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/country_profiles/1061561.stm is a brief country profile with map which outlines the latest period of conflict
- http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/africa/sierra_leone_rel82.jpg is a shaded relief map from a http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/sierra_leone.html which offers historical, geographic and city maps
- http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107959.html is a brief intro to the geography, history and basic stats
- http://www.vreug.com/sl.html gives a very brief history, and has the words to the national anthem, with audio
- http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/world/A0861084.html has a more detailed history coverage than above
- http://www.sierra-leone.org/links.html#History is a wide-ranging links list with a rich selection of maps accessed from the page index
- http://www.sierra-leone.org/links.html#History is an online book: Sierra Leonean Heroes: Fifty Great Men and Women Who Helped to Build Our Nation, covering the history of Sierra Leone from ancient times through selected biographies
- http://www.sierra-leone.org/documents-kabbah.html for speeches and a biography of the President (1996 à )
- http://www.sierra-leone.org/heroes11.html has a chronology of significant dates in Sierra Leone
- http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/sierra/ is the Human Rights Watch review of recent years
- http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Africa/SierraLeone.asp is an exciting site, intricately linked and richly rewarding
- http://www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/Country_Specific/S_Leone.html provides an annotated list of resources to inform yourself on Sierra Leone
- http://allafrica.com/sierraleone/ an excellent site for the latest news on this country