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Republic of Sierra Leone

SIERRA LEONE

Independent Baptist Friends

Sierra Leone Freetown, Sierra Leone

Freetown

Country Sierra Leone
City Freetown
Latitude/Longitude 8.49, -13.24

Population 772,873

Bordering Cities

* Statistics by Wolfram|Alpha. "Christianity" is used in the statistical sense and includes Catholics, Protestants, and true Christians.

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Sierra Leone, officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in west Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of 27,699 square miles and has a population estimated at 5,560,000.

It began as an independent colony under the auspices of the Sierra Leone Company on March 11, 1792 and became a British colony in 1808. Sierra Leone is now a constitutional republic comprising three provinces and the Western Area; which are further divided into fourteen districts.

The country has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savannah to rainforests. Freetown is the capital, largest city and economic center. The other major cities are Bo, Kenema, Koidu Town and Makeni.

Sierra Leone is rich in mineral resources, possessing some of the rarest and most valuable mineral types in the world, many of which are found in significant quantities. The country has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base; it is among the Top 10 diamond producing nations in the world, and mineral exports remain 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. Despite this natural wealth, the vast majority of its people live in poverty.

Early inhabitants of Sierra Leone included the Sherbro, Temne and Limba, and Tyra 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 Leao, meaning "Lion Mountains".

Sierra Leone later became an important centre of the transatlantic trade in slaves until March 11, 1792 when Freetown 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, the interior of the country became a British Protectorate; in 1961, the two combined and gained independence.

The Sierra Leone Civil War began in 1991 and resolved in 2000 after the struggling Nigerian-led United Nations troops were heavily reinforced by a British force spearheaded by 1st Bn The Parachute Regiment, supported by other elements of the Parachute Regt, SAS, and Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Operation Palliser. The arrival of this force, code-named Operation Palliser, resulted in the defeat of rebel forces and restored the civilian government elected in 1998 to Freetown. Since then, almost 72,500 former combatants have been disarmed and the country has reestablished a functioning democracy. The current president of Sierra Leone is Ernest Bai Koroma, who was sworn in on 17 September 2007.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up in 2002 to deal with war crimes and crimes against humanity committed since 1996. Sierra Leone is the twelfth-lowest-ranked country on the Human Development Index and eighth-lowest on the Human Poverty Index, suffering from endemic corruption and suppression of the press.


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