Sierra Leone is a beautiful and fertile amiable nation situated in West Africa on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean bordered by Liberia to the south and Guinea to the north and east.
The Atlantic Ocean forms Sierra Leone’s third frontier: 360 kilometers (212miles) of coast extending from the mouth of the Great Scarcies River. The country covers a total area of approximately 72,000 square kilometers, one of the smallest countries in Africa. The topography is extremely varied. From an approximate 70 mile coastal belt of low-lying land, the country rises to a mountain plateau near the eastern frontier rising 4,000 to 6,000 feet with a rich timber forest region.
The western area encompasses the Sierra Leone peninsular, on which the capital and main commercial centre of Freetown stands; is 24 miles long and 10 miles wide. Territorial sea of 12 nautical miles, a contiguous zone of 24 nautical miles, an exclusive economic zone of 20 nautical
miles; equal to the continental shelf.
Early European contact with Sierra Leone date back to 1462, with Portuguese explorer Pedro da Cintra, whose encounter with the uniquely lion-shaped range of hills and valleys inspired the name Sierra Lyoa, meaning “Lion Mountains”. In the sixteenth century an English sailor changed the name to Sierra Liona; which later became Sierra Leone. Several centuries later, the British set up a “crown colony” in Freetown and established indirect rule through traditional rulers in the hinterland called the “protectorate” until 1961 when the country gained independence.
Sierra Leone is a republic, with a government modelled along constitutional democracy. The country is divided into four (4) administrative regions with fourteen (14) political districts; twelve in the three (3) provinces and two (2) in the western area. Government comprises the executive arm; the legislative arm and judiciary. In the executive arm, the Head of State is the President. The President appoints his Cabinet Ministers with the approval of the Parliament. The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term). The current President is His Excellency Brigadier-Rtd. Dr. Julius Maada Bio, who was elected for a five-year term on 4 th April 2018.
Sierra Leone’s population is estimated at 7,075,641 people with its capital, Freetown, accounting for approximately 1.5 million. There are fifteen (15) indigenous ethno-linguistic groupings with the Mendes and Temnes as major tribes found in the South East and North West respectively. Other groups include the Limba, Fula, Madinago, Kono, Krio, Kuranko, Loko, Susu and Yalunka, Kissi, Sherbro and Vai.