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 is also known for their dedication to religious tolerance, especially between the Muslim majority and Christian minority.
Sierra Leone in fiction:
- Blood Diamond
- Lord of War
- The Heart Of The Matter by Graham Greene.
- One of the missions of Modern Warfare 3 takes place here, with a "militia" that may be a reference to the brutal Revolutionary United Front.
The Sierra Leonean flag