Sierra Leone, formally the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a West African country. It is bounded on the north by Guinea, on the south by Liberia, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. Sierra Leone has a tropical climate with a varied landscape that includes savannah and jungles. Sierra Leone covers an area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi) and has a population of 7,075,641. (based on 2015 national census).
Sierra Leone is split into four geographical regions: the Northern Province, the Eastern Province, the Southern Province, and the Western Area, each of which is further subdivided into fourteen districts. Freetown is the country’s capital, largest metropolis, and economic and political hub. Bo is the country’s second biggest city. Kenema, Makeni, and Koidu Town are the other main cities.
Sierra Leone is home to about sixteen ethnic groups, each with its unique language and culture. The Temne and Mende are the two most populous and powerful groups. The Temne are located mostly in the north of the nation, whereas the Mende are found primarily in the south-east. Although English is the official language of schools and government administration, the Krio language is the most frequently spoken language in Sierra Leone, with 97 percent of the people speaking it. The Krio language unifies all of the country’s ethnic groups, particularly in their commercial and social interactions.
Sierra Leone is a mainly Muslim country with a powerful Christian minority. Sierra Leone is considered as one of the world’s most religiously tolerant countries. Muslims and Christians work together and converse amicably. Religious violence is quite uncommon in the country.
Sierra Leone’s economy has traditionally been based on mining, particularly diamonds. It is also one of the world’s greatest producers of titanium and bauxite, a major producer of gold, and home to one of the world’s largest rutile deposits. Sierra Leone has the world’s third-largest natural harbour. Despite the fact that its natural riches is exploited, 70% of its people live in poverty.
Sierra Leone achieved independence in 1961. Government corruption and mismanagement of the nation’s natural resources contributed to the Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002), which ravaged the country for more than a decade. More than 50,000 people were killed in this proxy war, most of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed, and over two million people were displaced as refugees in neighboring countries.
More recently, the 2014 Ebola outbreak overloaded the already under-resourced healthcare system, resulting in more deaths from medical negligence than from Ebola itself. It resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe and a downward spiral of lower economic growth. The country’s life expectancy is exceptionally low, at 57.8 years.
Sierra Leone is a member of several international organizations, including the United Nations, African Union, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mano River Union, Commonwealth of Nations, African Development Bank, and Organization of Islamic Cooperation.