Top Ten Sierra Leonean Attractions

Top Ten Sierra Leonean Attractions

       Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa bordered by Guinea, Liberia, and the Atlantic Ocean. Sierra Leone covers a total area of 71,740 square km (27,699 square mi) and has a population of 6.4 million. It was a colony under the auspices of the Sierra Leone Company from March 11, 1792 until it became a British colony in 1808. Sierra Leone has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savannah to rainforests. The country is divided into four geographical regions: the Northern Province, Eastern Province, Southern Province and the Western Area; which are further divided into 14 districts. Freetown is the capital, largest city and economic and financial center. The other major cities are Bo, Kenema, Koidu Town and Makeni. Sierra Leone is now a constitutional republic, with a directly elected president and a unicameral legislature, known as the House of Parliament. The president is the head of state and the Head of government. The country has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base and is among the top 10 diamond producing nations in the world, with mineral exports remaining as the main foreign currency earner. Sierra Leone is also among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, and a major producer of gold. The country has one of the world’s largest deposits of rutile. Sierra Leone is also home to the 3rd largest natural harbor in the world; where shipping from all over the globe berth at Freetown’s famous Queen Elizabeth II Quay. Despite this natural wealth, over 70% of its people live in poverty. Sierra Leone is home to 15 ethnic groups, each with its own language and customs. The two largest and most influential are the Mende and Temne. The Mende are predominantly found in South-Eastern Sierra Leone; the Temne likewise predominate in the Northern Sierra Leone. Although English is the official language of Sierra Leone, the Krio language (derived from English and several indigenous African languages) is the most widely spoken language in virtually all parts of Sierra Leone. The Krio language is spoken by 97% of the country’s population and unites all the different ethnic groups, especially in their trade and interaction with each other. Sierra Leone is a predominantly Muslim nation, though with a large Christian minority. Sierra Leone is ranked as one of the most religiously tolerant nations in the world. People are often married across tribal and religious boundaries. Muslims and Christians collaborate and interact with each other peacefully and religious violence is extremely rare. Between 1991 and 2002 the Sierra Leone Civil War devastated the country leaving more than 75,000 people dead, much of the country’s infrastructure and over two million people displaced in neighboring countries; mainly to Guinea, which was home to more than 600,000 Sierra Leonean refugees. The war was resolved in 2002 after the Nigerian-led ECOMOG troops were heavily reinforced by a British force spearheaded by 1st Bn The Parachute Regiment, supported by the British Royal Navy. The arrival of this force resulted in the defeat of rebel forces and restored the civilian government elected in 1998. On January 18, 2002 President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah declared the civil war officially over. Early inhabitants of Sierra Leone included the Sherbro, Temne and Limba peoples, and later the Mende, who knew the country as Romarong, and the Kono who settled in the east of the country. In 1462, it was visited by the Portuguese explorer Pedro da Cintra, who dubbed it Serra de Leão, meaning “Lion Mountains.” Sierra Leone later became an important center of the transatlantic trade in slaves until March 11, 1792 whenFreetown was founded by the Sierra Leone Company as a home for formerly enslaved African Americans. In 1808,Freetown became a British Crown Colony, and in 1896, and the interior of the country became a British Protectorate; in 1961, the two regions combined and gained independence.

  1. Freetown

           Freetown is the capital and largest city of Sierra Leone. It is a major port city on the Atlantic Ocean located in the Western Area of the country and with a population of 1.2 million. The city’s economy revolves largely around its harbor, occupying a part of the estuary of the Sierra Leone River in one the world’s largest natural deep water harbors. Queen Elizabeth II Quay is capable of receiving oceangoing vessels and handles Sierra Leone’s main exports. The population of Freetown is ethnically and culturally diverse. The city is home to significant numbers of all of the country’s ethnic groups, although it is the primary home of the Sierra Leone Creole people, known as Krios (descendant of freed Liberated Africans, African-Americans and West Indians). The city is politically dominated by the Krio. Many of the Freetown local city council city are held by ethnic Krios, including the mayor of Freetown, a position mainly held by Krios or Europeans since the city was founded. As in virtually all parts of Sierra Leone, the Krio language (a native language of the Krio people who only make up 5% of country’s population) is by far the most widely spoken language in the city. The population of Freetown is almost equally divided between Muslims and Christians. The city of Freetown was founded by Lieutenant John Clarkson and freed American slaves, called the Nova Scotian Settlers, who were transported to Sierra Leone by the Sierra Leone Company in 1792. Freetown is the oldest capital to be founded by freed American slaves, having been founded 30 years before Monrovia, Liberia. The oldest part of Freetown is Settler Town which was established by the Nova Scotians in 1792, after their namesake ‘The Settlers.’ The Maroons founded Maroon Town in 1800, thereby establishing another historical area in Freetown. The suburbs of Freetown were founded by the Liberated Africans between 1809 and 1827, and presently they are the most affluent areas of the Freetown peninsula.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freetown,
  2. Kenema

           Kenema is the 3rd largest city in Sierra Leone (after Freetown and Bo) and the largest city in the Eastern Province. The city is a major trade center and is the capital and largest city of Kenema District. The city lies approximately 200 miles east of Freetown and about 50 miles south of Bo). The municipality of Kenema had a population of 128,402 in the 2004 census and a more recent estimate of 182,106. Kenema is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Sierra Leone and is home to significant numbers of many of the country’s ethnic groups. The Krio language is widely spoken in the city and is the primary language of communication in the city. The city of Kenema is one of Sierra Leone’s six municipalities and is governed by a directly elected city council form of government, headed by a mayor, in whom executive authority is vested. The mayor is responsible for the general management of the city. Like the rest of Sierra Leone, Football is by far the most popular sport in the city. The Sierra Leone professional club called the Kamboi Eagles, which is based in Kenema, represent the city in the Sierra Leone National Premier League. The city has a history of producing some of Sierra Leone’s most popular footballers, including The country’s most successful footballer Mohamed Kallon; Others include Paul Kpaka, Kemokai Kallon, Kei Kamara and Musa Kallon. The city grew along with a now-closed railway, around the logging and carpentry industries, and recently with diamond mines first discovered in 1931.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenema,
  3. Koidu Town
    File:KoiduStreet.jpg
           Koidu Town (also known commonly as Koidu, or Sefadu) is the fourth largest city in Sierra Leone (after Freetown, Bo and Kenema) and the capital, largest city, and economic center of the diamond-rich Kono District in the Eastern Province. The city is a major business, commercial and diamond trade center. Koidu Town is the second largest city in Eastern Sierra Leone (after Kenema), and lies approximately 275 miles east of Freetown. Koidu Town is one of Sierra Leone’s six municipalities and is locally governed by a directly elected city council, headed by a mayor, in whom local executive authority is vested. The city’s municipality is officially known as Koidu–New Sembehun. The municipality of Koidu–New Sembehun had a population of 82,899 in the 2004 census (a 2006 estimate being 111,800). Koidu Town is one of the most ethnically, and religiously diverse cities in Sierra Leone and is inhabited by significant numbers of many of the country’s ethnic groups. Most of the foreign diamond workers in Kono District reside in the city. The Krio language is by far the most widely spoken language in Koidu Town and is primarily used as the language of communication in the city. Like the rest of Sierra Leone, football (soccer) is by far the most popular sport in the city. The Sierra Leonean professional football club known as the Diamond Stars of Kono, which is based in Koidu Town, represent the city and the entire Kono District in the Sierra Leone National Premier League.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koidu,
  4. Makeni

           Makeni is the largest city and economic center of the Northern Province of Sierra Leone. The city is the capital and administrative center of Bombali District. Makeni is the 5th largest city in Sierra Leone by population (after Freetown, Bo, Kenema and Koidu Town) and lies approximately 137 km (85 miles) east of Freetown. Makeni is a major commercial, educational, tranportational and economic center. The city had a population of 80,840 in the 2004 census and a current estimate of 109,112. The city is home to the University of Makeni, the largest private university in Sierra Leone. Makeni is home to the St. Francis Secondary School, one of the most prominent secondary schools in Sierra Leone and is widely known for producing some of Sierra Leone’s most gifted students. The city is also home to Makeni Teacher’s College. Makeni 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. Makeni is the home town of Sierra Leone’s president Ernest Bai Koroma, as he was born and raised in the city. The city is a political stronghold of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) political party. Football is by far the most popular sport in the city. The Sierra Leone professional football club the Wusum Stars, that is based in Makeni, represent the city in the Sierra Leone National Premier League. The population of Makeni is ethnically diverse, though the Temne people make up the largest ethnic group.. The Krio language is used as the primary language of communication among the different ethnic groups in the city, though the Temne language is also widely understood in the city.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makeni,
  5. Links: Top Ten Diamondshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Leone,