Coordinates: 8°30′N 11°30′W / 8.5, -11.5

Republic of Sierra Leone
Motto: "Unity, Freedom, Justice"
Anthem: "High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free"
File:Sierra Leone's national anthem.ogg
Location of  Sierra Leone  (dark blue) – in Africa  (light blue & dark grey) – in the African Union  (light blue)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Sierra Leone  (dark blue)

– in Africa  (light blue & dark grey)
– in the African Union  (light blue)  —  [Legend]

and largest city
Official languages English
Spoken languages
  • Temne
  • Mende
  • Krio
Demonym Sierra Leonean
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic
 -  President Julius Maada Bio (SLPP)
 -  Vice-President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh (SLPP)
 -  Chief Minister David J. Francis (SLPP)
 -  Speaker of Parliament Abass Bundu (SLPP)
 -  Chief Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards[1]
Legislature Parliament
 -  from the United Kingdom 27 April 1961 
 -  Republic declared 19 April 1971 
 -  Total 71,740 km2 (117th)
27,699 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 1.1
 -  2015 census 7,075,641[1] (103rd)
 -  Density 79.4/km2 (114tha)
205.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2018 estimate
 -  Total $12.177 billion[2]
 -  Per capita $1,608[2]
GDP (nominal) 2018 estimate
 -  Total $3.824 billion[2]
 -  Per capita $505[2]
Gini (2011)35.4[3]
HDI (2015)decrease 0.420[4]
low · 179th
Currency Leone (SLL)
Time zone GMT (UTC+0)
Drives on the rightb
Calling code +232
Internet TLD .sl
a. Rank based on 2007 figures
b. Since 1 March 1971

Sierra Leone ( /siˌɛrə liˈn(i)/, UK also /siˌɛərə ʔ/),[5] officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, informally Salone,[6] is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savanna to rainforests. The country has a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi)[7] and a population of 7,075,641 as of the 2015 census.[1] Sierra Leone is a constitutional republic with a directly elected president and a unicameral legislature. Sierra Leone has a dominant unitary central government. The president is the head of state and the head of government. The country's capital and largest city is Freetown. Sierra Leone is made up of five administrative regions: the Northern Province, North West Province, Eastern Province, Southern Province and the Western Area. These regions are subdivided into sixteen districts.[8][9]

Sierra Leone was a British Crown Colony from 1808 to 1961. Sierra Leone became independent from the United Kingdom on 27 April 1961, led by Sir Milton Margai. In May 1962, Sierra Leone held its first general elections as an independent nation. On 19 April 1971, Siaka Stevens' government abolished Sierra Leone's parliamentary government system and declared Sierra Leone a presidential republic with Stevens as the country's first president. From 1978 to 1985, Sierra Leone was a one-party state in which Stevens' APC was the only legal political party in the country. The current constitution of Sierra Leone, which includes multiparty democracy, was adopted in 1991 by the government of President Joseph Saidu Momoh, Stevens' hand-picked successor. On 23 March 1991, a rebel group known as the Revolutionary United Front led by a former Sierra Leone army officer Foday Sankoh launched an eleven-year brutal civil war in the country, in an unsuccessful goal to overthrow the Sierra Leone government.

In April 1992, the Sierra Leone military toppled Momoh from power. In January 1996, the military government under Brigadier General Julius Maada Bio returned the country to multi-party democracy and the 1991 constitution was reestablished. Bio handed power to Ahmad Tejan Kabbah after his victory in the 1996 Sierra Leone presidential election. In 1997, the military overthrew President Kabbah. However, in February 1998, a coalition of West African Ecowas armed forces led by Nigeria removed the military junta from power by force and President Kabbah was reinstated as president. Sierra Leone has had an uninterrupted democracy from 1998 to present. In January 2002, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah fulfilled his campaign promise by officially ending the civil war as the rebels were defeated by military force with the help and support of Ecowas, the British government, the African Union, and the United Nations.

About 16 ethnic groups inhabit Sierra Leone, each with its own language and customs. The two largest and most influential are the Temne and Mende. The Temne are predominantly found in the northwest of the country, and the Mende are predominant in the southeast. Comprising a small minority, about 2%, are the Krio people, who are descendants of freed African-American and West Indian slaves. Although English is the official language, used in schools and government administration, Krio, an English-based creole, is the most widely spoken language across Sierra Leone and is spoken by 97% of the country's population. The Krio language unites all the different ethnic groups in the country, especially in their trade and social interaction.

Sierra Leone is a Muslim-majority country at 78%, though there is an influential Christian minority at about 21%.[10] Sierra Leone is regarded as one of the most religiously tolerant states in the world. Muslims and Christians collaborate and interact with each other very peacefully, and religious violence is very rare. The major Christian and Muslim holidays are officially public holidays in the country, including Christmas, Easter, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha. In politics, the vast majority of Sierra Leoneans vote for a candidate without regard to whether the candidate is a Muslim or a Christian.[11][12]

Sierra Leone has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base. It is also among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, is a major producer of gold, and has one of the world's largest deposits of rutile. Sierra Leone is home to the third-largest natural harbour in the world. Despite this natural wealth, 53% of its population lived in poverty in 2011.[13] Sierra Leone is a member of many international organisations, including the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Mano River Union, the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Development Bank and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.


Geography and climate[]

Government and politics[]



Gender equality[]




See also[]


  1. ^ a b Official projection (medium variant) for the year 2013 based on the population and housing census held in Sierra Leone on 4 December 2004 Script error: No such module "webarchive".. page 13.
  2. ^ a b c d "Sierra Leone". International Monetary Fund. 
  3. ^ "Gini Index". World Bank. 
  4. ^ "2016 Human Development Report". United Nations Development Programme. 2016. 
  5. ^ Wells, John C. (2008), Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.), Longman, ISBN 9781405881180 
  6. ^ Salone Definition, 
  7. ^ Encarta Encyclopedia. "Sierra Leone (country)". Sierra Leone (country). Retrieved 19 February 2008. 
  8. ^ "National Electoral Commission – Press Release". 6 September 2017. 
  9. ^ "Sierra Leone unveils new geographical map". Africa Review. 
  10. ^ "The World Factbook". 
  11. ^ "All things happily to all men". The Economist. 31 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Batty, Fodei J. (2010). What Role for Ethnicity? Political Behavior and Mobilization in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone and Liberia (Ph.D.). Western Michigan University. 
  13. ^ "Sierra Leone Population below poverty line (%)". 30 June 2015. 


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