Sierra Leone – a country full of suffering, poverty and hope
Sierra Leone, the small republic in West Africa, is recovering from several years of violent civil war that has killed or crippled many thousands. It broke out during Joseph Saidu Momoh’s presidency and was led by the Revolutionary United Front, supported by Liberian warlord Charles Taylor. The bloody conflict directed against the constantly changing governments was extremely brutal. After this drama ended in 2001, the government, with the help of international support, took many steps to stabilize the country politically and economically. Nevertheless, the government sector continues to suffer from chronic resource poverty. In contrast, the private sector has experienced a downright boom.
Sierra Leone would be very interesting for tourists, especially because of the wonderful Banana Islands, which are a veritable snorkeling and diving paradise and known for their fine sandy beaches. They lie in front of the southern tip of the Freetown Peninsula, in the north-west of which Freetown is also the capital of the country with its famous National Museum and the Cotton Tree. The latter is a huge, centuries-old cotton tree in the center of the city. Also to be mentioned are the Turtle Islands, but above all the Sherbro Islands.
The Name of the country, which borders the Republic of Guinea, Liberia and the Atlantic Ocean, goes back to the Portuguese Pedro da Cintra, who was looking for a sea connection with India in 1460reached the Sierra Leonean coast and baptized the area Sierra Lyoa, meaning Lion Mountains. This country, which has an approx. 405 km long coastline, can look back on a very long religious harmony in spite of the recent warlike history, in which Muslims and Christians as well as the members of different tribes could live side by side in harmony. The ethnic composition in the country is still considerable today. In addition to the Mende, who make up the majority of the population of the republic, the residents of the country are composed of Temne, Limba, Kono and many other ethnic groups. An almost unbelievable diversity, which is largely united by Sunni Islam or Christianity, which is also represented in all its shades.
|Name of the country||Republic of Sierra Leone|
|Form of government||Presidential Republic in the Commonweal|
|Geographical location||West Africa|
|National anthem||High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free|
|Population||about 7.5 million (Credit: Countryaah: Sierra Leone Population)|
|Ethnicities||approx. 35% Mende, 32% Tembe, 8% Limba, 5% Kono and others|
|Religions||approx. 60% Muslims, 25% Christians and followers of animistic religions|
|Languages||English is the official language. Many African languages are also spoken.|
|Highest mountain||Bintimani with an altitude of 1,948 m|
|Largest lake||There are no larger lakes in Sierra Leone.|
|International license plate||WHALE|
|National currency||1 leone = 100 cents|
|Time difference to CET||-1 h|
|International phone code||00232|
|Mains voltage, frequency||220/240 volts and 50 Hertz(an adapter is recommended.)|
|Internet TDL (Top Level Domain)||.sl|
Sierra Leone: history
Until the 19th century
Until the 15th century the territory of today’s Sierra Leone belonged to the kingdom of Mali. In 1462 the Portuguese navigator Pedro da Cinta discovered the country and gave it the name Sierra Leone. The first European trading branches were established. Around 1780 the British bought the tribal leaders an approximately 250 km² area in which former slaves were to be settled. In 1787 the Freetown settlement was founded and became a British crown colony in 1808. The adjacent area became a British protectorate in 1896.
In modern times
According to Abbreviationfinder website, on April 27, 1961, the country gained independence as a member of the British Commonwealth. Sir Milton Margai, leader of the People’s Party, became Prime Minister. In 1967 and 1968 there were military coups, in 1971 the republic was proclaimed. Syaka Stevens became the country’s first president.
From around 1978 onwards, political tensions arose under the one-party rule of the All People’s Congress (APC). After a severe economic crisis, Stevens had to hand over the office to Joseph Saidu Momoh. In 1989 the Revolutionary United Front started a guerrilla war against the government. In 1992 Momoh was overthrown, his successor in office was the 25 year old Valentin Strasse.
The civil war that began in 1994 was waged against the civilian population with extreme brutality. Both sides forcibly recruited child soldiers. The fighting, which claimed an estimated 100,000 lives and forced about 2 million people to flee, was funded through the illegal diamond trade.
Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, who was elected president in 1996, was overthrown in a military coup just a year later, but was reinstated in office in March 1998 under pressure from the international community. By 1999, the rebels’ brutal crackdown on the civilian population increased again.
From 1999 to early 2006 UN soldiers from various countries were stationed in Sierra Leone. After their use was initially unsuccessful, a deployment of British troops in 2001 brought the decisive turning point. With the support of the UN troops, the fighters were then disarmed and demobilized.
The parliamentary and presidential elections in 2002 resulted in 70% of the vote for President Kabba.
In 2004, an international criminal court in Sierra Leone tried war criminals. Former Liberian President Charles Taylor, who was accused of providing financial support to the rebels in Sierra Leone, was granted asylum in Nigeria. He is currently on trial before the Hague Court for his human rights abuses.
On April 26, 2012, the judges found him guilty. On May 30, 2012 she was sentenced to 50 years. He is serving the sentence in the United Kingdom (UK).
Sierra Leone is one of the 20 poorest countries in the world, with an unemployment rate of 70 to 80 percent. The country’s agriculture and infrastructure were destroyed in the civil war, but the illegal diamond trade continues.