1. A Country of Diversity
Sierra Leone, located in West Africa, takes its name from the Portuguese phrase "Serra Leao," which translates to "Lion Mountain Range." This phrase is thought to have been given to the country by Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra, who visited the area in 1462 and was struck by the sight of the mountains that resembled a lion's mane. The country is home to a diverse population of over 7 million people, and is known for its rich culture, vibrant music, and stunning landscapes.
2. A Small Republic with a Big Population
Sierra Leone is a small republic located in West Africa, ranking as the 118th largest country in the world. With a total area of 71,740 square kilometers, it is one of the smallest countries in Africa, slightly larger than the U.S. state of South Carolina. Despite its small size, Sierra Leone is home to a population of over 7 million people, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the region.
3. 16 Ethnic Groups in Sierra Leone Make for a Vibrant Culture
Sierra Leone is a small country, but it is home to an impressive 16 ethnic groups, each with their own language. The Temne are the largest and most influential of these groups, making up around 35% of the population, while the Mende are the second largest, accounting for around 30%. These two groups are the most dominant in the country, but the other 14 ethnicities are also important and contribute to the rich cultural diversity of Sierra Leone.
4. A Young Democracy on the Rise
Sierra Leone is a relatively young democracy, having been formed in 2007. This makes it one of the youngest democracies in the world, and a beacon of hope for other nations striving for democratic reform. Since its formation, Sierra Leone has made great strides in establishing a stable government and a strong economy, and is now considered a model for other developing countries. The country has also seen a dramatic decrease in poverty and an increase in access to education and healthcare. Sierra Leone is a testament to the power of democracy and the potential for positive change it can bring.
5. Sierra Leone's 'Star of Diamonds' discovered
On 14 February 1972, Sierra Leone made headlines when the "Star of Sierra Leone" was discovered in the small town of Koidu. This diamond was the third-largest gem-quality diamond in the world, weighing an impressive 968.9 carats. It was found by a local miner, and was later sold to a Belgian diamond dealer for an undisclosed amount. The diamond was eventually cut into 17 smaller stones, the largest of which was named the "Peace Diamond" and sold for $6.5 million at an auction in New York City in 2018.
6. Eunice Barber: Medal-Winning Athlete from Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone is the birthplace of Eunice Barber, one of the world's most accomplished female athletes. She has won multiple medals in the long jump and heptathlon at the World Championships, European Championships, and African Championships, and has held the African record in the long jump since 1998. She is also the first African woman to win a medal in the heptathlon at the World Championships.
7. Sierra Leone's Queen Elizabeth II Qua is a beautiful harbor
Sierra Leone is home to the Queen Elizabeth II Qua, the world's third largest natural harbor. This impressive harbor is a sight to behold, stretching over 17 miles long and 8 miles wide. It is a major port for the country, providing a gateway for trade and commerce. The harbor is also a popular tourist destination, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and a variety of activities such as fishing, sailing, and swimming. With its deep waters and sheltered coves, the Queen Elizabeth II Qua is a must-see for anyone visiting Sierra Leone.
8. The Sierra Leone Police: A Century of Service
Established in 1894, The Sierra Leone Police is one of West Africa's oldest police forces, having been set up by the British during their colonial rule of the region. The force has a long and distinguished history, having served the people of Sierra Leone for over a century, and is still in operation today. It is responsible for maintaining law and order, protecting citizens, and providing security services to the nation. The Sierra Leone Police is a vital part of the country's security infrastructure, and its officers are highly respected for their dedication and commitment to the people of Sierra Leone.
9. Sierra Leone is one of the wettest places in Western Africa
Sierra Leone is one of the wettest places in Western Africa, with an average annual coastal rainfall of 495 cm (195 inches). This is significantly higher than the global average of around 860 mm (34 inches) per year, making it an ideal destination for those looking to experience the lushness of the African rainforest. The country's tropical climate also makes it a great place to explore the diverse wildlife and vegetation of the region.
10. Sierra Leone Shines at Miss World 2009
Mariatu Kargbo, Sierra Leone's delegate to the 2009 Miss World competition, made a lasting impression on the judges with her impressive linguistic abilities. Not only did she speak English, Chinese, and Creole, but she also went on to win two special awards, even though she didn't take home the title. Her remarkable performance was a testament to her hard work and dedication.