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Useful Notes: Sierra Leone
The Republic of Sierra Leone is a West African republic, having recently come out of a nasty "civil war" (for lack of more accurate term). It is one of the least developed countries in the world according to the most recent IMF census. It is a major source of high-quality diamonds, which helped fuel the war - being called "blood diamonds". A lot are still smuggled out.

Formerly a British colony and an area set up for freed slaves (along with neighbouring Liberia) it became independent in 1961. The city of Freetown, is the country's capital.

After a coup in 1967 and a long-period of one party rule, the Liberian Civil War spilled over into an already problematic country and a civil war broke out, lasting from 1991 to 2002. Child Soldiers featured considerably. The war was ended by a United Nations intervention, involving the UK's armed forces in one of their lesser known, but most successful wars, including the rescue of 11 British soldiers by the SAS and Paras.

Sierra Leone is now recovering from the war, but it will be a long process. There is hope that a tourist trade can be set up from its beaches. In the past few years, conservation efforts have also increased, so it is possible that ecotourism could also provide some income further inland, in the more mountainous regions.


Sierra Leone in fiction:

The Sierra Leonean flag
The green upper stripe symbolizes agricultural and natural resources; the white middle stripe symbolizes unity and justice; and the blue lower stripe symbolizes both the Atlantic Ocean and the capital, Freetown.

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