Congratulations on 50 years of Independence Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone (see-air-uh lee-ohn) is a small country on the west coast "hump" of Africa (see map below), latitude 7°00 and 10°00 North and longitudes 10°50 and 13°00 West. It is bounded on the North-West and North-North-East by the Republic of Guinea. This boundary was agreed with the French government in 1885. On the South-East it is bounded by Liberia and this frontier was agreed in 1882 and finally settled in 1911. The country has some 300 miles of coastline on the South-West. Sierra Leone, originally Sierra Lyoa, means Lion Mountains.

Early Sierra Leone history is very unclear. What is known is that most of the people groups that make up SL today arrived in the country around and after 1400. Sierra Leone was first visited by Portuguese navigators in the 1400's. By the 17th century British traders became increasingly prominent in SL. In the 1780's land was bought from local chiefs by English philanthropists who established settlements for freed slaves. The land purchased including what is now Freetown and the entire peninsular area in the western part of the country became a British Colony in 1808. The rest of the country became a British protectorate in 1896. The entire country was declared independent within the Commonwealth in 1961 with Sir Milton Margai as the first Prime Minister. Sierra Leone became a republic in 1971 with Siaka Stevens as the first president. The current elected president is Ernest Bai Koroma. He was sworn into office on September 17, 2007. We wish him and the country all the best and hope for a brighter future. This year, 2011, Sierra Leone celebrates 50 years of independence (1961-2011).

Some Statistics:
Capital: Freetown
Population: 4.6 million
Area of the Country: 27,925 square miles
Form of government: Parliamentary
Religions: Islam (40%), Christian (35%), Indigenous (20%)
Per capita GDP: $140.00
Literacy: 21%
Natural Resources: Diamonds, Bauxite, Iron ore
Major Languages: English, Krio, Mende, Temme
Sierra Leone Scene

I (Paul Vreugdenhil) first went to Sierra Leone with my parents and two sisters when I was 4 years old and lived there between the years 1965 and 1976. I spent most of those years living in Gbendembu when I wasn't in school in Kabala. Thanks to Beach Bum I have some recent photos of what KRMS looks like after the war and looting. In December of 1994 I went back to Sierra Leone with my wife and daughter, my sister and a couple of friends to visit my parents.
I have a great interest in the country and its people and I help keep up my interest by collecting Sierra Leone stamps. If you are at all interested in stamp collecting you might also be interested postcards and money. I have scanned a few vintage Sierra Leone postcards for you to see (thanks to Steve Farago and my parents).


SL Crest



Africa Sierra Leone Map

I filled this outline of the country of Sierra Leone with the colors of the national flag. Green stands for natural resources. White represents peace and unity. Blue represents the waters of the coastline. Clicking on the SL map above will take you to Google Maps road map of the country




The Sierra Leone National Anthem


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High we exalt thee, realm of the free;
Great is the love we have for thee;
Firmly united ever we stand, 
Singing thy praise, O native land. 
We raise up our hearts and our voices on high,
The hills and the valleys re-echo our cry; 
Blessing and peace be ever thine own, 
Land that we love, our Sierra Leone.