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Republic of Sierra Leone

Origin of Name Sierra Leone's name dates back to 1462, when Portuguese explorer Pedro da Cintra sailed down the coast of West Africa and saw the long range of mountains of what is now the Freetown Peninsula. As a result of shape and climatic conditions experienced by the explorer, he called the lands 'Sierra Lyoa' meaning Lion Mountains. Sixteenth century English sailors called it 'Sierra Leoa', by the seventeenth it was 'Sierra Leona', and by 1787, under British Rule, it had became Sierra Leone.

map of Sierra Leone

Location western Africa
Bordered By
Guinea, Liberia

Sierra Leone on the map

Area 27,699 sq mi (71,740 sq km)
Greatest Distance N-S 220 mi (354 km)
Greatest Distance E-W 190 mi (306 km)
Coastline 210 mi (338 km)
Highest Point Loma Mansa; 6,390 ft (1,948 m)
Lowest Point sea level
Natural Resources
diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite

Nationality Sierra Leonean
Population
(July 2014 est) 5,743,725
Largest Cities Freetown, Bo, Kenema
Major Ethnic Groups Temne, Mende, Limba, Kono, Kriole, Mandingo, Loko
Principal Languages English (official), indigenous languages
Major Religions Muslim, Christian, traditional

Capital Freetown
Form of Government constitutional democracy
Current Constitution Adopted October 1, 1991
Chief of State and Head of Government
President Ernest Bai Koroma (since September 17, 2007)
Cabinet
Ministers of State, appointed by the President
Legislature
unicameral Parliament
Judiciary
Superior Court of Judicature
Local Administration
3 provinces, 1 area

Currency leones
Per Capita Income
$2,100
Industries
diamond mining; iron ore, rutile and bauxite mining; small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, cigarettes, footwear); petroleum refining; small commercial ship repair
Agricultural Products
rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish
Export Commodities
diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish
Import Commodities
foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels and lubricants, chemicals

Independence Achieved April 27, 1961
From
United Kingdom
National Holiday
Independence Day; April 27
Flag
green symbolizes agriculture, mountains, and natural resources, white represents unity and justice, and blue the sea and the natural harbor in Freetown

flag of Sierra Leone

SEE ALSO
Guinea
Liberia

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The Robinson Library >> General and Old World History >> Africa >> Sierra Leone

This page was last updated on May 26, 2017.