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Sierra Leone

Like Liberia for North America, Sierra Leone evolved as a nation when Britain wrestled with the question how to prevent the slaves of British Merchant ships from gaining significant assimilation into British society. It was determined that the best course of action was to repatriate the slaves gradually back to Africa and as close to a natural environment as possible so their resettlement would be relatively seamless. The delta of the Rokel River  appeared to be a most favorable settlement because the river, which traverses the entire British territory comes the closest to the French enclave of Guinea Conakry. This would afford ready absorption of the repatriated slaves among the Forest Highlanders from which stock most of them descended.

Source: The World Atlas

After a trial-run that did not go too terribly well, scores of slaves from Nova Scotia and the Caribbean (notably Jamaica) were shipped to the mouth of the Rokel River, a settlement which was given the name Freetown, to connote the status of the new settlers.

When the British government abolished the slave trade in 1807, Freetown would become the preferred destination of ship-loads of British slaves and those seized from merchants who constantly violated the slave trade abolition. Anglican and Methodist missionaries were tasked by the British government with developing a common culture and the religion of Christianity for the new settlers who came from various parts of Africa and the Caribbean. Father Samuel Crowther would become the first of these ordained Christians of Freetown under the governance of the British crown. He would later become Bishop of the Niger Diocese.

Freetown remained the exclusive settlement of freed British

slaves of West African descent and greater access to the hinterland would require negotiation with French Guinea and Free Liberia to establish the northern and southeastern borders of British territory in the region. In 1896 Britain declared a protectorate over what is now known as Sierra Leone, and later, through negotiations with indigenous chiefs and the agglomeration of settlers (known as Creoles), Britain would install a semblance of local municipal governance drawn from locals and settlers.

Sierra Leone gained her independence in 1961 amid the wave of the African Independence movement. Successive governments of Presidents Siaka Stevens, Joseph Momoh, and Valentine Strasser would see Sierra Leone descend into endemic corruption and general decrepitude, making way for the Foday Sankoh RUF rebellion which used northern Liberia as a forward base for operations into Sierra Leone. The RUF’s gains would be headed-off by another in a series of coups by the military leading to elections in 1996 when Ahmed Tijan Kabbah would be elected President. Kabbah would also be toppled only one year later in 1997 by another military coup led by Johnny Koroma. Koroma forms an alliance of convenience with Sankoh.

In 1998, a Nigerian-led contingent would remove Koroma from power and re-install Kabbah as President only for Sankoh to expel Kabbah from office once again. These were the times of the Sierra Leone civil war with diamonds as cardinal consideration. The turmoil in Sierra Leone was so devastating that the UN peacekeeping forces were rendered incapable of installing civil order and the eventual salvation of Sierra Leone would once again rest on the shoulders of Britain. This would usher in the rebirth of Sierra Leone.

Ref; Gascoigne, Bamber. “History of SierraLeone” HistoryWorld. From 2001, ongoing.
http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ad45

Also see: http://www.sierra-leone.org/Books/Amistad.pdf

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Please click on the link below to view a map of Sierra Leone

http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/sierrale.pdf

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Sierra Leone Facts

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Please click on the link below to view a drainage map of Sierra Leone:

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