Sierra Leone History

Sierra Leone History


According to topschoolsintheusa, the Portuguese explored the coasts of present-day Sierra Leone from the end of the 15th century, and established commercial factories that disappeared with the arrival of the English slave traders, with whom it became one of the main centers of this abominable activity. At the beginning of the 19th century it became a British colony, a situation that lasted until 1961 when it gained independence. In 1971 it became a Republic, whose president was Siaka Stevens until 1985, when General Joseph Momoh won the elections. In 1992 he was overthrown by Captain Valentin Strasser, which ended the republican legality and established a military regime.


It was founded primarily to establish freed slaves, who founded the country’s capital, Freetown, in 1791. In 1808, Freetown became a British Crown colony, with the rest of the country coming under British protectorate in 1896. The colony and the protectorate united to achieve independence in 1961. Between 1991 and 2001, Sierra Leone suffered the consequences of a devastating civil war.

After independence

After the country’s independence in 1961, the Mende regimes (particularly under Alberto Margai, 1964 – 1967 tended to wrest Creole domination in state structures. This led the Creoles to support the All Peoples Congress, APC. (all People’s Congress) led by Siaka Stevens (one Limba) under the regimes of the APC headed by Stevens (1971-85) and Joseph Saidu Momoh 1985 – 1992, the Creoles were able to retain much of its former influence.

The Mende almost a third of the total population, organized in the party of Milton Margai won the elections in 1951, against the noble Ricart, described as “being amoral, infamous and unreliable”, and began to increase their influence and power. both in the administration and in the army. As a result, the areas where the administration was in the hands of the Mende benefited from the government, to the point that, by the mid-1960s, the Mende districts had twice the number of elementary schools as the northern districts..

The dominance of Limba and the Creole elite during the first years of the APC regime caused great resentment from the Temne (about a third of the population) who had assisted the APC. During the 1970s, the Tene joined the Mende in their opposition to the government. After Stevens appointed a Tene vice president in 1978, the Tene seemed to remain the second most influential group in the regime, alongside the Limba. The Limba (less than 10 percent of the population) have been pre-eminent in the state and the military since Stevens came to power in 1968.

The 90’s

The 30 of April of 1992, the Provisional Council of the National Government, led by Captain Valentine Strasser, gave a coup and seized government power. In time, Strasser would favor the Mende over other ethnic groups in his government and in the military. In January 1996 he would be overthrown by the military coup led by deputy Julius Bio, who proceeded to organize free elections that would be won, in March of that same year, by a civilian, Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, until May 1997, in that he was overthrown by a military coup, the latter led by Johnny Paul Koroma followed by a group of military men.

Much of the instability of the regimes since the Strasser coup in 1992 can be attributed to the protracted civil war that began in March 1991. A rebellion, led by Foday Sankoh of the Revolutionary United Front (FRU or RUF for its acronym in English), started in the south-eastern region of the country and by March 1995, it had affected all but one of the country’s districts. The RUF leadership has been mainly composed of Tene people, as have most of its troops. Sankoh himself and most of his lieutenants are temne and they fight against Mende hegemony. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah is half Mende and his SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party) is fundamentally Mende. The RUF has repeatedly denounced that the SLPP has marginalized ethnic groups other than Mende and that they have used an ethnic criterion in the appointment of government ministers. After the coup of May 25, 1997, however, the RUF asked Sankoh to support the new military government of Commander Koroma.

The hitherto rebels chose to associate with the military government, but then the Kamajors, the Mende militias organized on the basis of traditional hunting groups, took over the fight against the RUF government. The consequences of this never-ending civil war are that between ten and fifteen thousand civilians from the Northeast and Southeast have lost their lives since 1991, killed by both armies or by starvation and half of the country’s population (two million people) has been seen forced to leave their homes and move to safer areas sometime during the conflict. The most affected districts have been Moyamba, Bo, Kenema, Kailahun, Tonkolili, Kono and Pujehun. The hope of stability during the summer of 1998, following the intervention of UN troops, made up of Nigerian troops from ECOMOG, was soon shattered by the atrocities committed against civilians during the following months.

Foday Sankoh’s calls on his own troops to lay down their arms have been to no avail, in part because both factions fear that after the peace would come trials for treason and crimes against humanity that could involve Sankoh himself. External relationships. Sierra Leone has generally maintained cordial relations with Western nations, particularly the United States. Sierra Leone also maintains diplomatic relations with China, Libya, Iran and Cuba.. The government of former President Siaka Stevens sought to have a closer relationship with other West African countries that were members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The current government retains this objective.

This country belongs to the United Nations Organization and its specialized agencies, in addition to the British Commonwealth of Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the International Criminal Court, the African Development Bank (ADB), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries (NAM). Sierra Leone, along with Liberia and Guinea, formed the Manor River Union (MRU), which is designed primarily to implement development projects and promote regional economic integration among the three nations. The government has 16 embassies around the world, present in Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Libya, China, Iran, India, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States and in the UN.

Sierra Leone History