The populations quoted above for the five largest cities are from the 2004 census. Other figures are estimates from the source cited. Different sources give different estimates. Some claim that Magburaka should be included in the above list(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31J battery), but one source estimates the population at only 14,915, whilst another puts it as high as 85,313. "Pandebu-Tokpombu" is presumably the extended town of Torgbonbu which had a population of 10,716 in the 2004 census, though "Gbendembu" had a larger population of 12,139 in that census. In the 2004 census, Waterloo had a population of 34,079(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31Z battery).
Followers of Islam constitute the majority of the population, while Christians form a significant minority. Muslims are estimated to comprise 60% of Sierra Leone's population according to the US Department of State, while 20 to 30% are reported to be followers of Christianity, and 5 to 10% of the population practice indigenous animist beliefs. The 2007 UNHCR's "Report on International Religious Freedom in Sierra Leone"(Sony VGN-NR11Z Battery) estimated 60% Muslim, 20 to 30% Christian and 5 to 10% other beliefs, with many citizens practising a mixture of Islam and traditional indigenous religious beliefs or Christianity and traditional indigenous beliefs. The Pew Research Center estimates the Muslim population at 71.3% (4,059,000). Muslims predominate in all of the country's three provinces and the Western Area, though formerly they were concentrated in the north with the south being mainly Christian(Sony VGN-NR11S Battery).
The constitution of Sierra Leone provides for freedom of religion and the government generally protects this right and does not tolerate its abuse.
Sierra Leone is home to about sixteen ethnic groups, each with its own language. The largest and most influential are the Temne at about 35% and the Mende at about 31%. The Temne predominate in the Northern Sierra Leone and the Areas around the capital of Sierra Leone(Sony VGN-NR110E Battery) . The Mende likewise predominate in the South-Eastern Sierra Leone with the exception of Kono District. The Temne are predominantly Muslims, while the Mende are about equal in numbers between Muslims and Christians. Sierra Leone's national politics centres on the competition between the north-west, dominated by the Temne, and the south-east dominated by the Mende . The Mende, who are believed to be descendants of the Mane, were originally in the Liberian hinterland(Sony VGN-CR11Z Battery). They began moving into Sierra Leone slowly and peacefully in the eighteenth century. The Temne are thought to have come from Futa Jallon, which is in present-day Guinea. Sierra Leone's current president Ernest Bai Koroma is an ethnic Temne.
The third-largest ethnic group are the Limba at about 8.5% of the population. The Limba are native people of Sierra Leone. They have no tradition of origin and it is believed that they have lived in Sierra Leone since it was discovered(Sony VGN-CR11S Battery). The Limba are primarily found in Northern Sierra Leone, particularly in Bombali, Kambia and Koinadugu District. Since Independence to present, the Limba have traditionally been very influential in Sierra Leone's politics, along with the Mende. The Limba have traditionally held several senior government positions including the presidency under Sierra Leone's first president Siaka Stevens(Sony VGN-CR11M Battery), second president Joseph Saidu Momoh and former Military Head of State Johnny Paul Koroma.
The fourth largest ethnic group are the Fula at over (8%) of the population (descendants of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Fulani settlers from the Fouta Djalon region of Guinea); they live primarily in the northeast and the western area of Sierra Leone. The Fula are primarily traders and many live in middle class homes. Because of their trading, the Fulas are found in virtually all parts of the country(Sony VGN-CR11E Battery).
The fifth-largest ethnic group are the Mandingo (also known as Mandika) at about 6% (they are the descendants of Mandika traders from Guinea, who migrated to Sierra Leone during the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century). The Mandika are predominantly found in the east and the northern part of the country, and they are the largest inhabitant of the large towns(Sony VGN-CR21E Battery), most notably Kabal and Falaba in Koinadugu District in the north and Yengema, Kono District in the east of the country. Sierra Leone's third president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and Sierra Leone's first vice president Sorie Ibrahim Koroma are both ethnic Mandingo.
After the Mandika, are the Kono at around 5% of the population, who live primarily in Kono District in Eastern Sierra Leone. The Kono are descendants from Guinea and they are primarily farmers and diamond miners. Sierra Leone's current Vice President Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana is an ethnic Kono(Sony VGN-CR21S Battery).
The small but significant Creole (descendants of freed African American, West Indian an Liberated African slaves landed in Freetown between 1787 and about 1885) make up about 4% of the population and they are primarily found in the capital city of Freetown and its surrounding Western Area. Creole culture is unlike that of virtually all other ethnic groups in Sierra Leone(Sony VGN-CR21Z Battery), and it is typical of Western culture and ideals. The Krios have traditionally dominated Sierra Leone's judiciacy and Freetown's city council and they have traditionally been influential in the civil service. Notable Krios include One of Sierra Leone's Independent leader Isaac Wallace-Johnson; former Sierra Leone Heads of State Valentine Strasser and Andrew Juxon-Smith; current Speaker of Sierra Leone's Parliament Abel Nathaniel Bankole Stronge(Sony VGN-CR31S Battery); and the Chief Commissioner of the Sierra Leone National Electoral Commission Christiana Thorpe.
The much smaller Oku people, who are often considered a branch of the Krio people, with whom they share similar culture and history and are usually known as the Krio Muslims due to the fact that the Oku are predominantly Muslims. The Oku are found primarily in the capital Freetown and its surrounding Western Area(Sony VGN-CR31E Battery), particularly in the neighbourhood's of Fourah Bay and Foulah Town. A significant numbers of Oku can be found in the city of Waterloo in the Western Area. Notable Oku include One of Sierra Leone's Independent leader and former government minister Mohamed Sanusi Mustapha; and former Commissioner of Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commission Abdul Tejan-Cole(Sony VGN-CR31Z Battery).
Other minority ethnic groups are the Kuranko, who are related to the Mandingo. The Kuranko are believed to have begun arriving in Sierra Leone from Guinea in about 1600 and settle in the north, particularly in Koinadugu District. The Kuranko are primarily farmers and they have traditionally held several senior positions in the Military. The Loko in the north are native people of Sierra Leone and they are believed to have lived in Sierra Leone since it was discovered(Sony VGN-CR41Z Battery). The Susu and Yalunka are traders and are primarily found in the far north in Kambia and Koinadugu District close to the border with Guinea. The Susu and Yalunka are related people and they are both descendants from Guinea. The Kissi are further inland in South-Eastern Sierra Leone. The Vai and the much smaller group of Kru are primarily found in Kailahun and Pujehun District around the border with Liberia. On the coast in Bonthe District in the south are the Sherbro(Sony VGN-CR41S Battery), who are native people of Sierra Leone and have settled in Sherbro Island since it was founded.
A small but significant numbers of Sierra Leoneans are of partial or full Lebanese ancestry and they are locally known as Sierra Leonean-Lebanese. The Sierra Leonean-Lebanese community are primarily traders and they mostly live in middle class household in the urban areas, primarily in Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Koidu Town and Makeni(Sony VGN-CR41E Battery). Some notable Sierra Leoneans of Lebanese descent include former Sierra Leonean international footballer and the current president of the Sierra Leone football association Nahim Khadi; former Sierra Leone minister of Infrastructural Development John Saad; Sierra Leonean influential businessmen Jamil Sahid Mohamed and Kassim Basma.
A secondary school class in Pendembu, Kailahun District.
Second grade class in Koidu Town.
Main article: Education in Sierra Leone
Education in Sierra Leone is legally required for all children for six years at primary level (Class P1-P6) and three years in junior secondary education, (Sony VGN-CR42Z Battery)but a shortage of schools and teachers has made implementation impossible. Two thirds of the adult population of the country are illiterate. The Sierra Leone Civil War resulted in the destruction of 1,270 primary schools, and in 2001, 67% of all school-age children were out of school. The situation has improved considerably since then with primary school enrollment doubling between 2001 and 2005 (Sony VGN-CR42S Battery)and the reconstruction of many schools since the end of the war. Students at primary schools are usually 6 to 12 years old, and in secondary schools 13 to 18. Primary education is free and compulsory in government-sponsored public schools.
The Kailahun Government Hospital at its reopening in 2004.
The country has three universities: Fourah Bay College, founded in 1827 (the oldest university in West Africa), University of Makeni (established initially in September 2005 as The Fatima Institute, the college was granted university status in August 2009(Sony VGN-CR42E Battery), and assumed the name University of Makeni, or UNIMAK), and Njala University, primarily located in Bo District. Njala University was established as the Njala Agricultural Experimental Station in 1910 and became a university in 2005. Teacher training colleges and religious seminaries are found in many parts of the country(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/L Battery).
Main article: Healthcare in Sierra Leone
Health care is provided by the government and others. Since April 2010, the government has instituted the Free Health Care Initiative which commits to free services for pregnant and lactating women and children under 5. This policy has been supported by increased aid from the United Kingdom and is recognised as a progressive move that other African countries may follow. Life expectancy at birth is estimated to be 56.55 years in 2012. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/P Battery)Estimates for infant mortality in Sierra Leone are among the highest in the world; for every 1,000 live births, approximately 77 children do not survive to their first birthday. The maternal death rates are also the highest in the world, at 2,000 deaths per 100,000 live births. The country suffers from epidemic outbreaks of diseases including yellow fever, cholera, lassa fever and meningitis.  The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the population is 1.6%, higher than the world average of 1% but lower than the average of 6.1% in Sub-Saharan Africa(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/W Battery).
During the Civil War (1991–2002) many soldiers took part in atrocities and many children were forced to fight. This left them traumatized with an estimated 400.000 people (by 2009) being mentally ill. Also thousands of former child soldiers have fallen into substance abuse as they try to blunt their memories. Neurological health care is still not a service offered in the country five years after the Civil War ended in 2002(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/B Battery). Mental healthcare in the country is almost non existing with many patients trying to cure themselves with the help of traditional healers.
Main article: Military of Sierra Leone
The Military of Sierra Leone, officially the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), are the unified armed forces of Sierra Leone responsible for the territorial security of Sierra Leone's border and defending the national interests of Sierra Leone within the framework of its international obligations. The armed forces were formed after independence in 1961(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/L Battery), on the basis of elements of the former British Royal West African Frontier Force present in the country. The Sierra Leone Armed Forces currently consists of around 15,500 personnel, comprising the largest Sierra Leone Army, the Sierra Leone Navy and the Sierra Leone Air Wing. The president of Sierra Leone is the Commander in Chief of the military, with the Minister of Defence responsible for defence policy and the formulation of the armed forces(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/P Battery). The current Sierra Leone Defence Minister is Ret. Major Alfred Paolo Conteh. The Military of Sierra Leone also has a Chief of the Defence Staff who is a uniformed military official responsible for the administration and the operational control of the Sierra Leone military. Brigadier General Alfred Nelson-Williams who was appointed by president Koroma succeeded the retired Major General Edward Sam M’boma on 12 September 2008 as the Chief of Defence Staff of the Military. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/R Battery)
Before Sierra Leone gained independence in 1961 the military was known as the Royal Sierra Leone Military Force. The military seized control in 1968, bringing the National Reformation Council into power. On 19 April 1971, when Sierra Leone became a republic, the Royal Sierra Leone Military Forces were renamed the Republic of Sierra Leone Military Force (RSLMF). (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G Battery) The RSLMF remained a single service organization until 1979, when the Sierra Leone Navy was established. It then remained largely unchanged for 16 years until in 1995 when Defence Headquarters was established and the Sierra Leone Air Wing formed. This gave the need for the RSLMF to be renamed the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone (AFRSL) (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/B Battery).
Law enforcement in Sierra Leone is primarily the responsibility of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP). Sierra Leone Police was established by the British colony back in 1894 and is one of the oldest police forces in West Africa. The key mission of the Sierra Leone Police include to prevent crime, to protect life and property, to detect and prosecute offenders, to maintain public order, to ensure safety and security, to enhance access to justice(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/L Battery). The Sierra Leone Police is headed by the Inspector General of Police, the professional head of the Sierra Leone Police force and is appointed by the President of Sierra Leone. Each one of Sierra Leone's 14 districts is headed by a District Police commissioner who is the professional head of their respective district. The Districts Police Commissioners report directly to the Inspector General of Police at the Sierra Leone Police headquarters in Freetown(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/P Battery). The current Inspector General of Police is Brima Acha Kamara who was appointed to the position by former president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.
Main article: Transport in Sierra Leone
The road from Kenema to Kailahun District.
There are a number of systems of transport in Sierra Leone, which has a road, air and water infrastructure, including a network of highways and several airports. There are 11,300 kilometres of highways in Sierra Leone, of which 904 km (562 mi) are paved (about 8% of the roads). Sierra Leone highways are linked to Conakry, Guinea(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/L Battery), and Monrovia, Liberia. Sierra Leone has the largest natural harbour on the African continent, allowing international shipping through the Queen Elizabeth II Quay in the Cline Town area of eastern Freetown or through Government Wharf in central Freetown. There are 800 km (497 mi) of waterways in Sierra Leone, of which 600 km (373 mi) are navigable year-round. Major port cities are Bonthe, Freetown, Sherbro Island and Pepel(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/P Battery).
There are ten regional airports in Sierra Leone, and one international airport. The Lungi International Airport located in the coastal town of Lungi in Northern Sierra Leone is the primary airport for domestic and international travel to or from Sierra Leone. Passengers cross the river to Aberdeen Heliports in Freetown by hovercraft, ferry or a helicopter(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/R Battery). Helicopters are also available from the airport to other major cities in the country. The airport has paved runways longer than 3,047m. The other airports have unpaved runways, and seven have runways 914 to 1,523 metres long; the remaining two have shorter runways. This country appears on the E.U. list of prohibited countries with regard to the certification of airlines. This means that no airline which is Sierra Leone registered may operate services of any kind within the European Union(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21/B Battery). This is due to substandard safety standards.
Drinking water supply
Main article: Water supply in Sierra Leone
Water supply in Sierra Leone is characterized by limited access to safe drinking water. Despite efforts by the government and numerous non-governmental organizations, access has not much improved since the end of the Sierra Leone Civil War in 2002, stagnating at about 50% and even declining in rural areas. In the capital Freetown, taps often run dry. It is hoped that a new dam in Orugu, for which China committed financing in 2009, will alleviate water scarcity. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/L Battery)
According to a national survey (Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey) carried out in 2006, 84% of the urban population and 32% of the rural population had access to an improved water source. Those with access in rural areas were served almost exclusively by protected wells. The 68% of the rural population without access to an improved water source relied on surface water (50%)(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/P Battery), unprotected wells (9%) and unprotected springs (9%). Only 20% of the urban population and 1% of the rural population had access to piped drinking water in their home. Compared to the 2000 survey access has increased in urban areas, but has declined in rural areas, possibly because facilities have broken down because of a lack of maintenance(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/W Battery).
With a new decentralization policy, embodied in the Local Government Act of 2004, responsibility for water supply in areas outside the capital was passed from the central government to local councils. In Freetown the Guma Valley Water Company remains in charge of water supply.
Food and customs
Rice is the staple food of Sierra Leone and is consumed at virtually every meal daily. The rice is prepared in numerous ways(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/L Battery), and topped with a variety of sauces made from some of Sierra Leone's favorite toppings, including potato leaves, cassava leaves, crain crain, okra soup, fried fish and groundnut stew.
Along the street of towns and cities one can find snacks such as fresh mangoes, oranges, pineapple, fried plantains, ginger beer, fried potato, fried cassava with pepper sauce; small bags of popcorn or peanuts, bread, roasted corn, or skewers of grilled meat or shrimp(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/P Battery).
Poyo is a popular Sierra Leonean drink. It is a sweet, lightly fermented palm wine, and is found in bars in towns and villages across the country. Poyo bars are areas of lively informal debate about politics, football, entertainment and other issues.
See also: Music of Sierra Leone
The arts in Sierra Leone are a mixture of tradition and hybrid African and western styles.
Main article: Sport in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leonean football star Sheriff Suma just after a Leone Stars training session on 4 September 2008 at the National Stadium in Freetown(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/W Battery).
Football is by far the most popular sport in Sierra Leone. Children, youth and adult are frequently seen playing street football across Sierra Leone. There are organised youth and adult football tournaments across the country, and there are various primary and secondary schools with football teams across Sierra Leone(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/B Battery).
The Sierra Leone national football team, popularly known as the Leone Stars, represents the country in international competitions. It has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup but participated in the 1994 and 1996 African Cup of Nations. When the national football team, the Leone Stars, have a match, Sierra Leoneans across the country come together united in support of the national team and people rush to their local radio (Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/P Battery)and television stations to follow the live match. The country's national television network, The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) broadcasts the national football team live match, along with many local radio stations across the country. When the Leone Stars win an important match, many youth across the county rush to the street to celebrate. Many of the Sierra Leone national team footballers play their clubs football in Europe(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/L Battery), though virtually all of them started professional football in the Sierra Leone National Premier League. Many of the national team footballers are celebrities across Sierra Leone and they are often well known by most of the country's general population. Some well known Sierra Leonean international footballers include Mohamed Kallon, Mohamed Bangura, Rodney Strasser, Ibrahim Teteh Bangura, Alhassan Bangura, Sheriff Suma, Mohamed Kamara, Umaru Bangura, Julius Wobay and Kei Kamara(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21EF/S battery).
The Sierra Leone National Premier League is the top professional football league in Sierra Leone and is controlled by the Sierra Leone Football Association. Fourteen clubs from across the country compete in the Sierra Leone Premier League. The two biggest and most successful football clubs are East End Lions and Mighty Blackpool. East End Lions and Mighty Blackpool have an intense rivalry and when they play each(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21JF battery) other the national stadium in Freetown is often sold out and supporters of both clubs often clash with each other before and after the game. There is a huge police present inside and outside the national stadium during a match between the two great rivals to prevent a clash. Many Sierra Leonean youth follow the local football league(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF battery).
Many Sierra Leonean youth, children and adult follow the major football leagues in Europe, particularly the English Premier League, Italian Serie A, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga and French Ligue 1. The Sierra Leone cricket team represents Sierra Leone in international cricket competitions, and is among the best in West Africa. It became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council in 2002(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF/W battery). It made its international debut at the 2004 African Affiliates Championship, where it finished last of eight teams. But at the equivalent tournament in 2006, Division Three of the African region of the World Cricket League, it finished as runner-up to Mozambique, and just missed a promotion to Division Two(Sony VAIO VGN-NW31EF/W battery).
In 2009 the Sierra Leone Under-19 team finished second in the African Under-19 Championship in Zambia, thus qualifying for the Under-19 World Cup qualifying tournament with nine other teams. However, the team was unable to obtain Canadian visas to play in the tournament, which was held in Toronto(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21ZF battery).
Basketball is not a very popular sport in Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone national basketball team represents Sierra Leone in international men's basketball competitions and is controlled by the Sierra Leone Basketball Federation.
Main article: Media in Sierra Leone
Radio listener in Kailahun
Media in Sierra Leone began with the introduction of the first printing press in Africa at the start of the 19th century. A strong journalistic tradition developed with the creation of a number of newspapers. In the 1860s, the country became a journalist hub for Africa(Sony VAIO VGN-NW31JF battery), with professionals travelling to the country from across the continent. At the end of the 19th century, the industry went into decline, and when radio was introduced in the 1930s, it became the primary communication media in the country. The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) was created by the government in 1934 making it the earliest English language radio broadcaster service in West Africa. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/B battery) The service began broadcasting television in 1963, with coverage extended to all the districts in the country in 1978.
Print media is not widely read in Sierra Leone, especially outside Freetown, partially due to the low levels of literacy in the country. In 2007 there were 15 daily newspapers in the country, as well as those published weekly. Among newspaper readership, young people are likely to read newspapers weekly and older people daily(Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/TC battery). The majority of newspapers are privately run and are often critical of the government. The standard of print journalism tends to be low due to lack of training, and people trust the information published in newspapers less than that found on the radio.
Isata Mahoi shown editing radio programmes in Talking Drum studio Freetown; she is also an actress in Sierra Leone radio soap opera Atunda Ayenda(Sony VAIO VGN-NW35e battery)
Radio is the most-popular and most-trusted media in Sierra Leone, with 85% of people having access to a radio and 72% of people in the country listening to the radio daily. These levels do vary between areas of the country, with the Western Area having the highest levels and Kailahun the lowest. Stations mainly consist of local commercial stations with a limited broadcast range, combined with a few stations with national coverage(Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/S battery). The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) runs one of the most popular stations in the country, broadcasting programs in a range of languages. Content includes news of UN activities and human rights information, as well as music and news. The UN missions will withdraw in 2008 and the UN Radio's future is uncertain. There is also a government station run by the SLBS that transmits on FM and short-wave. FM relays of BBC World Service, Radio France Internationale and Voice of America are also broadcast(Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/S battery).
Outside the capital Freetown television is not watched by a great many people. There are two national, free terrestrial television stations in Sierra Leone, one run by the government SLBS and the other a private station, ABC Television-Africa (ABC). In 2007, a pay-per-view service was also introduced by GTV as part of a pan-African television service in addition to the nine-year-old sub-Saharan Digital satellite television service (DStv) (Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/T battery) originating from Multichoice Africa in South Africa. Internet access in Sierra Leone has been sparse but is on the increase, especially since the introduction of wireless services across the country. There are nine internet service providers (ISPs) operating in the country. Freetown has a city wide wireless network and internet cafes and other businesses offering internet access(Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/T battery). Problems experienced with access to the Internet include an intermittent electricity supply and a slow connection speed in the country outside Freetown.
The Sierra Leone constitution guarantees freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; however, the government maintains strong control of media, and at times restricts these rights in practice. Some subjects are seen as taboo by society and members of the political elite(SONY VGP-BPS10A battery); imprisonment and violence have been used by the political establishment against journalists. Under legislation enacted in 1980, all newspapers must register with the Ministry of Information and pay sizeable registration fees. The Criminal Libel Law, including Seditious Libel Law of 1965, is used to control what is published in the media. In 2006, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah committed to reforming the laws governing the press and media to create a freer system for journalists to work in. (SONY VGP-BPS10A/B battery)As of 2012, Sierra Leone is ranked 63rd on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.
Freetown is the capital and largest city of Sierra Leone. It is a major port city in the Atlantic Ocean and is located in the Western Area of Sierra Leone. Freetown is Sierra Leone's major urban, economic, financial, cultural, educational and political center. The city proper had a population of 772,873 at the 2004 census, As of 2010, the population of Freetown is estimated at 1.2 million(SONY VGP-BPS10/B battery). The city's economy revolves largely around its harbor - occupying a part of the estuary of the Sierra Leone River in one of the world's largest natural deep water harbours.
Freetown is home to the Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa, founded in 1827. The university not only played a key role in Sierra Leone’s colonial history, but also a key role in the history of the English-speaking West-African nations(SONY VGP-BPS10/S battery).
As the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown is home to the Sierra Leone House of Parliament, the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone and the State House, the official workplace of the President of Sierra Leone. All of the foreign embassies in Sierra Leone are based in the city.
Freetown is one of Sierra Leone's six municipalities and is locally governed by a directly elected city council, headed by a mayor. The mayor and members of the Freetown city council are directly elected every four years by the residents of Freetown(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ130E battery). The municipality of Freetown is politically divided into three regions: East End Freetown, Central Freetown, and West End Freetown, which are subdivided into wards.
The population of Freetown is ethnically, culturally, and religiously diverse among Muslims and Christians. The city is home to a large population of all of the country's ethnic groups, with no single ethnic group forming a majority(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15L battery). As in virtually all parts of Sierra Leone, the Krio language is the city's primary language of communication and is by far the most widely spoken language in the city.
The city of Freetown was founded in 1792 by Abolitionist John Clarkson as a land for freed African American slaves, called the Nova Scotian who had fought on the side with British during the American Revolutionary War. The settlers called their new settlement Freetown, as a land for freed slaves (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15M battery). Around 500 Freed Jamaican slaves made the journey to Freetown in 1800 through the Sierra Leone Company. During the next decades, thousands of freed African American, West Indian and Liberated Africans came to Freetown as settlers, through the Sierra Leone Company. Their descendants are known today as the Sierra Leone Creole people.
Province of Freedom 1787–1789
The area was first settled in 1787 by 400 formerly enslaved Black Britons sent from London, England, under the auspices of the Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor, an organisation set up by the British abolitionist(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15S battery), Granville Sharp. They established the 'Province of Freedom' or Granville Town on land purchased from local Koya Temne subchief King Tom and regent Naimbana, a purchase which the Europeans understood to cede the land to the new settlers "for ever." The established arrangement between Europeans and the Koya Temne did not include provisions for permanent settlement, and some historians question how well the Koya leaders understood the agreement(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ160E battery).
Disputes soon broke out, and King Tom's successor, King Jimmy, burnt the settlement to the ground in 1789. Alexander Falconbridge was sent to Sierra Leone in 1791 to collect the remaining Black Poor settlers, and they re-established Granville Town (later on renamed Cline Town, Sierra Leone) near Fourah Bay. It should be noted that these 1787 settlers did not establish Freetown. The bicentennial of Freetown was celebrated in 1987(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ17 battery), when in reality Freetown was founded in 1792.Shaw, Rosalind, Memories of the Slave Trade: Ritual and the Historical Imagination in Sierra Leone (2002), University of Chicago Press, p. 37.
Freetown Colony 1792–1808
Street-level view of Freetown and the Cotton Tree under which former African slaves prayed and christened Freetown in 1792.
The basis for the Freetown Colony began in 1791, when Thomas Peters, an African American who had served in the Black Pioneers, went to England to report the grievances of the black population. Peters met with the directors of the Sierra Leone Company(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ17G battery), and it was there he learned of proposals for a new settlement at Sierra Leone (following the collapse of the 1787 colonization attempt). The directors were eager to allow the Settlers to build a settlement at Sierra Leone; the London-based and newly created Sierra Leone Company had decided to create a new colony but before Peters' arrival had no colonists. Lieutenant John Clarkson was sent to Nova Scotia in British North America to register immigrants (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ17L battery)to take to Sierra Leone for the purpose of starting a new settlement. Over 1,100 former American slaves from Nova Scotia sailed in 15 ships and arrived in St. George Bay between February 26-March 9. Sixty four settlers died en route to Sierra Leone, and even Lieutenant Clarkson was ill during the voyage. Upon reaching Sierra Leone, Clarkson and some of the Nova Scotian 'captains' "dispatched on shore to clear or make roadway for their landing"(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ180E battery). The Nova Scotians were to build Freetown on the former site of the first Granville Town which had become a "jungle" since its destruction in 1789. Though they built Freetown on Granville Town's former site, their settlement was not a rebirth of Granville Town, which had been re-established at Fourah Bay in 1791 by the remaining Old Settlers. The women remained in the ships while the Settler men worked tirelessly to clear the land. Lt. Clarkson told the men to clear the land until they reached a large cotton tree(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18E battery). The Settler men toiled and many were scratched and hurt by the shrubbery and bush. After the work had been done and the land cleared all the Nova Scotians, men and women, disembarked and marched towards the thick forest and to the cotton tree, and their preachers (all African Americans) began singing: Awake and Sing Of Moses and the Lamb Wake! every heart and every tongue To praise the Saviour's name The day of Jubilee is come; Return ye ransomed sinners home On March 11, 1792, Nathaniel Gilbert, (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18G battery) a white preacher, prayed and preached a sermon under the large Cotton Tree, and Reverend David George preached the first recorded Baptist service in Africa. The land was dedicated and christened 'Free Town' according to the instructions of the Sierra Leone Company Directors. This was the first thanksgiving service in the newly christened Free Town. Eventually John Clarkson would be sworn in as first governor of Sierra Leone. Small huts were erected before the rainy season(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18S battery). The Sierra Leone Company surveyors and the Settlers built Freetown on the American grid pattern, with parallel streets and wide roads, with the largest being Water Street. On August 24, 1792, the Black Poor or Old Settlers of the second Granville Town were incorporated into the new Sierra Leone Colony but remained at Granville Town.Post of the Month: Freetown(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18T battery)
The colony of Freetown in 1856
It survived being pillaged by the French in 1794, and was rebuilt by the Nova Scotian settlers. By 1798, Freetown had between 300-400 houses with architecture resembling that of the United States-3–4 feet stone foundations with wooden superstructures. Eventually this style of housing (brought by the Nova Scotians) would be the model for the 'bod oses' of their Creole descendants(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190E battery). In 1800, the Nova Scotians rebelled and it was the arrival of the 500 Jamaican Maroons which caused the rebellion to be suppressed. Thirty-four Nova Scotians were banished and sent to either the Sherbro or a penal colony at Gore[disambiguation needed]. Some of these of the Nova Scotians were eventually allowed back into Freetown. After the Maroons captured the rebels, they were granted the land of the Nova Scotian rebels(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ19L battery). Eventually the Maroons would have their own district at Maroon Town, Freetown.
Freetown as a Crown Colony 1808–1961
Later on, indigenous inhabitants attacked the colony in 1801, but the British eventually took control of Freetown making it a Crown Colony in 1808, beginning the expansionism that led to the creation of Sierra Leone.
Liberated African slaves landing in Freetown, sparking the foundation of Freetown's suburbs.
From 1808 to 1874, the city served as the capital of British West Africa. It also served as the base for the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron which was charged with halting the slave trade. Most of the slaves liberated by the squadron chose to settle in Sierra Leone(SONY Vaio VGN-SR11M Battery), and Freetown in particular, rather than return home; thus the population included descendants of many different peoples from all over the west coast of Africa. The Liberated Africans established the suburbs of Freetown Peninsula, and they were the largest group of immigrants which made up the Creole people of Freetown. The city expanded rapidly as many freed slaves settled, accompanied by West Indian and African soldiers who had fought for Britain in the Napoleonic Wars(SONY Vaio VGN-SR12G/B Battery). During World War II, Britain maintained a naval base at Freetown. Descendants of the various freed slaves who landed in Sierra Leone between 1787 and 1792, are called the Creoles. The Creoles play a leading role in the city, even though they are a minority of the overall Sierra Leone population.
The city was the scene of fierce fighting in the late 1990s. It was captured by ECOWAS troops seeking to restore President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in 1998, and later it was unsuccessfully attacked by rebels of the Revolutionary United Front(SONY Vaio VGN-SR12G/P Battery).
Government and Politics
The city of Freetown is one of Sierra Leone's six municipalities and is governed by a directly elected city council, headed by a mayor, in whom executive authority is vested. The mayor is responsible for the general management of the city. The mayor and members of the Freetown Municipaity are elected directly by the residents of Freetown in every four years. (SONY Vaio VGN-SR12G/S Battery)
The government of the Freetown Municipality has been dominated by All People's Congress (APC) since 2004. The APC won the city's mayorship and majority seats in the Freetown city council in both 2004 and 2008 local elections.
In November 2011, Freetown Mayor Herbert George-Williams was removed from office and replaced by counci member Alhaji Gibril Kanu as Acting Mayor; after Mayor Herbert George-Williams and eight others(Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN battery), including the Chief Administrator of the Freetown city council Bowenson Fredrick Philips; and the Freetown city counci Treasurer Sylvester Momoh Konnehi were arrested and indicted by the Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commissionon on twenty five counts on graft charges, ranging with conspiracy to commit corruption and misappropriation of public funds]. Mayor Herbert George-Williams was acquitted of seventeen of the nineteen charges against him(Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN battery); and was only convicted of two less serious charges by the Freetown High Court judge Jon Bosco Katutsi who gave him a fine.
Acting Mayor Alhaji Gibril Kanu, however, lost the APC nomination for the mayor of Freetown in the 2012 Mayoral elections with 56 votes to council member Sam Franklyn Bode Gibson, who won 106 in a landslide victory
In the national presidential and Parliamentary elections, Freetown is similar to swing states in American politics, primarily due to the city being so ethnically diverse and is home to a significant population of all of the country's ethnic groups; with no single ethnic group forming a majority of the population of the city(Sony VAIO VGN-SR21M/S battery).
Traditionally, the APC and the SLPP, two of the country's major political parties, have about equal supports in the city. Though, in the 2007 Sierra leone Presidential election, the APC candidate, then main opposition leader, Ernest Bai Koroma, won just over 60% of the votes in the Western Area Urban District, including the city of Freetown, where almost the entire District population reside(Sony VAIO VGN-SR23H/B battery).
The Freetown municipality is politically divided into three regions: East End Freetown, Central Freetown, and West End of Freetown
The wards in the East End of Freetown (East I, East II, and East III) contain the city's largest population center and generally the poorest part of the city. The Queen Elizabeth II Quay is located within East end.
The two central wards (Central I and Central II) make up Central Freetown which includes Downtown Freetown and the central business district (Central II) (Sony VAIO VGN-SR25G/B battery). Most of the tallest and most important government building and foreign embassies are based in Central Freetown. Sierra Leone's Sierra Leone House of Parliament and the State House, the principle workplace of the president of Sierra Leone, are on Tower Hill in central freetown. At the neighborhood of Brookfields within central Freetown, sits the National Stadium, the home stadium of the Sierra Leone national football team (popularly known as the Leone Stars) (Sony VAIO VGN-SR25G/P battery).
The three westernmost wards (West I, West II, and West III) of the city constitute the West End of Freetown. These wards are relatively affluent. Most of the city's luxury hotels, a number of casinos, and the Lumley beach are in the west end of the city. The west end neighborhood of Hill Station is home to the State Lodge, the official residence of the president of Sierra Leone(Sony VAIO VGN-SR25G/S battery).
Freetown has an abundance of historically significant landmarks that link the legacy of West Africans with African-Americans, Liberated African slaves, and West Indians. A famous landmark in the center of the east of Freetown is the Cotton Tree, which is a treasured symbol of the city because it represents the christening of Freetown in March 1792(Sony VAIO VGN-SR25M/B battery). In downtown Freetown is the Connaught Hospital, which was the first hospital in West Africa modeled after Western medical practices. Nearby is "King's Gate", built in stone with a statement inscribed which reads "any slave who passes through this gate is declared a free man", and it was this gate through which Liberated Africans passed through.
Down by the Naval Wharf are slave steps carved out of stone. It was here that the Portuguese slave traders bought and sold many Africans and from which their last footsteps on African soil were made(Sony VAIO VGN-SR25S/B battery). Freetown is home to Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa, founded in 1827. The university played a key role in Sierra Leone’s colonial history. The college’s first student, Samuel Ajayi Crowther, went on to become the first indigenous Bishop of West Africa. Next to the college is the little-visited National Railway Museum, whose prize exhibit is a coach built for the state visit of Elizabeth II in 1961(Sony VAIO VGN-SR25T/P battery). The Big Market on Wallace Johnson Street is the showcase for local artisans’ work and the place to pick up a bargain souvenir. The Freetown peninsula is ringed by long stretches of white sand. Lumley Beach, on the western side of the peninsula, forms a focal point for local parties and festivals. Freetown is the seat of St John's Maroon Church (built around 1820), St. George Cathedral (completed in 1828), and Foulah Town Mosque (built in the 1830s). Also in Freetown are assorted beaches and markets, and the Sierra Leone Museum featuring the Ruiter Stone(Sony VAIO VGN-SR25T/S battery).
Freetown is the economic and financial center of Sierra Leone. The country's state television and radio station, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, is primarily based in Freetown, although they also have regional headquarters in the country's other primary cities of Bo, Kailahun, Kenema, Koidu Town, Magburaka and Makeni. The other national broadcasters such as Capital Radio are also based in Freetown(Sony VAIO VGN-SR26/B battery). Freetown is home to one of the country's two main Universities, the Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa, founded in 1827. Many of the country's largest corporations locate their headquarters' home offices in Freetown as well as the majority of international companies.
The city's economy revolves largely around its fine natural harbor, which is the largest natural harbor on the continent of Africa(Sony VAIO VGN-SR26/P battery). Queen Elizabeth II Quay is capable of receiving oceangoing vessels and handles Sierra Leone's main exports. Industries include food and beverage processing, fish packing, rice milling, petroleum refining, diamond cutting, and the manufacture of cigarettes, paint, shoes, and beer. the Fula and Sierra Leonean-Lebanese play a major role in local trade in the city. The city is served by the Lungi International Airport, located in the city of Lungi, across the river estuary from Freetown(Sony VAIO VGN-SR26/S battery).
British Expeditionary Force in Freetown, c. 1914–1916 during the West Africa Campaign
Like the rest of Sierra Leone, Freetown has a tropical climate with a rainy season from May through to October; the balance of the year represents the dry season. The beginning and end of the rainy season is marked by strong thunderstorms. Under the Köppen climate classification, Freetown has a tropical monsoon climate primarily due to the heavy amount of precipitation it receives during the rainy season(Sony VAIO VGN-SR29VN/S battery). Freetown's high humidity is somewhat relieved November through to February by the famous Harmattan, a gentle wind flowing down from the Sahara Desert affording Freetown its coolest period of the year. Temperature extremes in Freetown are from 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) to 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit) all year. Temperatures around 28 degrees Celsius are normal, with very little day/night variation(Sony VAIO VGN-SR29XN/S battery).
The population of Freetown is almost equally divided between Muslims and Christians. As in virtually all parts of Sierra Leone, the Krio language (the native language of the Creole people who only make up 5% of country's population) is by far the most widely spoken language in the city. The language is spoken at home as a first language by over 95% of the city's population and is spoken as a lingua franca by the entire population in the city. English (the country's official language) is also widely spoken, particularly by the well educated(Sony VAIO VGN-SR31M/S battery).
Since the end of civil war in 2002 Freetown has experienced an increase in robberies, murders, home invasion, and assault. This effect is most pronounced in the East End of Freetown. However, crime levels (especially violent crime) are comparatively low by regional and international standards.
Freetown (as the rest of Sierra Leone) has an education system with six years of primary school (Classes 1 to 6), and six years of secondary school (Forms 1 to 6) (Sony VAIO VGN-SR33H/B battery). Secondary schools are further divided into Junior secondary school (Forms 1 to 3) and Senior secondary school (Forms 4 to 6). This system is known as the 6-3-3-4 education system, which means: 6 years of Primary, 3 years of Junior Secondary, 3 years of Senior Secondary, and 4 years of University. Primary school pupils are usually aged 6 to 12, and secondary schools are usually aged 13 to 18. Primary Education is free and compulsory in government-sponsored public schools(Sony VAIO VGN-SR33H/P battery). Freetown is home to one of the country's two main universities, the Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa, founded in 1827.
Lungi International Airport is the international airport that serves Freetown and the rest of the country. It is located in the town of Lungi, across the sea from Freetown. It serves as the primary airport for domestic and international travel to or from Sierra Leone. The airport is operated by Sierra Leone Airports Authority. There is a frequent commercial hovercraft, buses and ferry-service to Freetown and other parts of the country(Sony VAIO VGN-SR33H/S battery).
Transfers to Freetown
Passengers have the choice of hovercraft, ferry, road (5 hours), speedboat, water taxi, local banana boats and helicopter to cross the river to Freetown. Ferry is the cheapest option. Hovercraft and ferry operations have at times been suspended due to passenger overloads and safety issues(Sony VAIO VGN-SR33H battery).
Sierra Leone has the largest natural harbor in the African continent. Ships from all over the globe berth at Freetown's Queen Elizabeth II Quay. Passenger, cargo, and private craft also utilize Government Wharf nearer to central Freetown. Recent investment has seen the introduction of high-tech cargo scanning facilities(Sony VAIO VGN-SR35G/B battery).
Sierra Leone's infrastructure is limited, and its highways and roads reflect this. The roads and highways of the country are administered by the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) which has often been crippled by corruption. Highway 1 enters the city from the town of Waterloo several kilometers to the south. Despite the SLRA's limited capabilities, main feeder/trunk roads have been reconstr
Following a recommendation from the IBRD, the national railway which linked Freetown to the rest of the country was permanently closed in 1974. The iron rails were looted in the following years.
Like the rest of Sierra Leone, football is the most popular sport in Freetown. The Sierra Leone national football team, popularly known as the Leone Stars plays all their home games at Freetown's National Stadium, the largest stadium in Sierra Leone(Sony VAIO VGN-SR35G/S battery). Eight of the fifteen clubs in the Sierra Leone National Premier League are from Freetown, including two of Sierra Leone's biggest and most successful football clubs, East End Lions, and Mighty Blackpool. A match between these two teams is the biggest domestic-football clash in Sierra Leone. A Notable Sierra Leonian footballer is Kei Kamara, who currently plays for Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer(Sony VAIO VGN-SR35M/B battery).
The city hosts the 'We Are the Future center', a child-care center. The center is managed under the direction of the mayor’s office, and the international NGO Glocal Forum serves as the fundraiser, program planner, and coordinator for the WAF child center in each city. Each WAF city is linked to several peer cities and public and private partners to create a unique international coalition. Launched in 2004(Sony VAIO VGN-SR35T/B battery), the program is the result of a partnership between the Glocal Forum, the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation, and Hani Masri, with the support of the World Bank, UN agencies, and major companies.