The name Sierra Leone dates back to 1462, when a Portuguese explorer sailed down the coast of West Africa. There seems some dispute whether it was the shape or climatic conditions that influenced Pedro da Cintra to come up with “Sierra Lyoa” meaning Lion Mountains. Some say the coastal regions looked like “lion’s teeth”.Others suggest he thought the thunderstorms over the mountainous peninsula sounded like the roar of a lion. Sixteenth century English sailors called it Sierra Leoa which evolved in the 17th Century to Sierra Leone. The British officially adopted the name Sierra Leone in 1787.
The Republic of Sierra Leone, a former British colony, became an independent nation on April 27, 1961. The predominant religion is Islam (60%), followed by indigenous beliefs (30%) with 10% of the population of 5 million professing Christianity.
The Capital City – Freetown
In 1787, British philanthropists founded the “Province of Freedom” which later became Freetown, a British crown colony and the principal base for the suppression of the slave trade. The local name for Freetown before the Europeans came was “Romarong” meaning the place of the wailers. This name came from the sounds of the constant weeping and screaming of victims of storms and cross current disasters at the mouth of the Sierra Leone River.
Sierra Leone's Ethnic Groups
In all there are 16 ethnic groups in Sierra Leone. 20 African ethnic groups 90% (Temne 30%, Mende 30%, other 30% include the Limba, also in the Northern Province, followed by the Kono in the Eastern Province, the Koranko in the North as well as Yalunka, Loko, Soso, Madingo and Fula. On the coast, north and south are the Bullom and Sherbro followed by the much smaller groups of Krim, Vai, Gola, with the Kissi further inland in the Eastern Province. The Western area, including Freetown, is more mixed in population, but is basically the home of the Creole (Krio) 10% (descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century), refugees from Liberia's recent civil war, small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese, Pakistanis, and Indians.
Among the many local languages spoken, the common language of the people is Krio which an amalgamation of 16 languages.
Sierra Leone Weather
There are two distinct seasons in Sierra Leone. November to April is the dry season and the best holiday weather. May to October is the wet (rainy) season. There is also the harmattan period of during the months of December to February when very dry winds arrive from the Sahara.
Sierra Leone is located on the West Coast of Africa between latitudes 7 and 10 degrees North and longitudes 10.5 and 13 degrees west. The Republic of Guinea is to the north and Liberia is on East and North East, and the Atlantic Ocean on the west and south. It has 300 Miles of coastline.
Terrain coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east Natural resources diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite.