Freetown

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Freetown
Aberdeen, Freetown, Sierra Leone - panoramio - Ghassan Mroue.jpg
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Freetown
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Freetown
Coordinates: 8°29′4″N13°14′4″W / 8.48444°N 13.23444°W / 8.48444; -13.23444 Coordinates: 8°29′4″N13°14′4″W / 8.48444°N 13.23444°W / 8.48444; -13.23444
CountryFlag of Sierra Leone.svg  Sierra Leone
Region Western Area
District Western Area Urban District
FoundedMarch 11, 1792
Government
  Type City council
  Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr [1] (APC)
  Governing Body Freetown City Council
Area
[2]
   Capital city and Municipality 81.48 km2 (31.46 sq mi)
Elevation
26 m (85 ft)
Population
 (2015 Census [3] )
   Capital city and Municipality 1,055,964
  Density13,000/km2 (34,000/sq mi)
   Metro
1,500,234
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time

Freetown is the capital and largest city of Sierra Leone. It is a major port city on the Atlantic Ocean and is located in the Western Area of the country. Freetown is Sierra Leone's major urban, economic, financial, cultural, educational and political centre, as it is the seat of the Government of Sierra Leone. The population of Freetown was 1,055,964 at the 2015 census. [3]

Contents

The city's economy revolves largely around its harbour, which occupies a part of the estuary of the Sierra Leone River in one of the world's largest natural deep water harbours.

Although the city has traditionally been the homeland of the Sierra Leone Creole people, the population of Freetown is ethnically, culturally, and religiously diverse. The city is home to a significant population of all of Sierra Leone's ethnic groups, with no single ethnic group forming more than 27% of the city's population. As in virtually all parts of Sierra Leone, the Krio language of the Sierra Leone Creole people is Freetown's primary language of communication and is by far the most widely spoken language in the city.

The city of Freetown was founded by abolitionist Lieutenant John Clarkson on March 11, 1792, as a settlement for freed African American, Afro-Caribbean and Liberated African slaves. Their descendants are known as the Creole people. The local Temne and Loko people were living in villages in the land that became known as Freetown before the European arrival.

Freetown is locally governed by a directly elected Freetown City Council, headed by a mayor, who also is directly elected. The mayor and members of the Freetown City Council are directly elected by the residents of Freetown in an election held every four years. The mayor of Freetown is Yvonne Aki Sawyerr, who was sworn in on May 11, 2018, after her victory in the 2018 Freetown Mayoral election. [4]

The Freetown city council has its own municipal police force. [5]

History

Province of Freedom (1787–1789)

The area was first settled in 1787 by 400 formerly enslaved black people sent from London, England, under the auspices of the Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor, an organisation set up by Jonah Hanway and the British abolitionist Granville Sharp. [6] These black people were African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Africans, Southeast Asians, and black people born in Great Britain. They established the 'Province of Freedom' and the settlement of Granville Town on land purchased from local Koya Temne subchief King Tom and regent Naimbana. The British understood the purchase meant that their new settlers had the land "for ever." Although the established arrangement between Europeans and the Koya Temne included provisions for permanent settlement, some historians question how well the Koya leaders understood the agreement, as they had a different conception of the uses of property.

Disputes soon broke out. King Tom's successor, King Jimmy, burnt the settlement to the ground in 1789. Alexander Falconbridge was sent to Sierra Leone in 1791 to collect the remaining Black Poor settlers, and they re-established Granville Town around the area now known as Cline Town, Sierra Leone near Fourah Bay. These 1787 settlers did not formally establish Freetown, even though the bicentennial of Freetown was celebrated in 1987. But formally, Freetown was founded in 1792. [7]

Freetown settlement and the Colony of Sierra Leone (1792–1808)

In 1791, Thomas Peters, an African American who had served in the Black Pioneers, went to England to report the grievances of the black population in Nova Scotia. Some of these African Americans were ex-slaves who had escaped to the British forces who had been given their freedom and resettled there by the Crown after the American Revolution. Land grants and assistance in starting the settlements had been intermittent and slow.

During his visit, Peters met with the directors of the Sierra Leone Company and learned of proposals for a new settlement at Sierra Leone. Despite the collapse of the 1787 colony, the directors were eager to recruit settlers to Sierra Leone. Lieutenant John Clarkson, RN, who was an abolitionist, was sent to Nova Scotia in British North America to register immigrants to take to Sierra Leone for a new settlement.

Tired of the harsh weather and racial discrimination in Nova Scotia, more than 1,100 former American slaves chose to go to Sierra Leone. They sailed in 15 ships and arrived in St. George Bay between February 26 – March 9, 1792. [8] Sixty-four settlers died en route to Sierra Leone, and Lieutenant Clarkson was among those taken ill during the voyage. Upon reaching Sierra Leone, Clarkson and some of the Nova Scotian 'captains' "dispatched on shore to clear or make roadway for their landing". The Nova Scotians were to build Freetown on the former site of the first Granville Town, where jungle had taken over since its destruction in 1789. Its surviving Old Settlers had relocated to Fourah Bay in 1791.

At Freetown, the women remained in the ships while the men worked to clear the land. Lt. Clarkson told the men to clear the land until they reached a large cotton tree. After the work had been done and the land cleared, all the Nova Scotians, men and women, disembarked and marched towards the thick forest and to the cotton tree, and their preachers (all African Americans) began singing "Awake and Sing of Moses and the Lamb."

In March 1792, Nathaniel Gilbert, a white preacher, prayed and preached a sermon under the large Cotton Tree, and Reverend David George, from South Carolina, preached the first recorded Baptist service in Africa. The land was dedicated and christened 'Free Town,' as ordered by the Sierra Leone Company Directors. This was the first thanksgiving service.

John Clarkson was sworn in as first governor of Sierra Leone. Small huts were erected before the rainy season. The Sierra Leone Company surveyors and the settlers built Freetown on the American grid pattern, with parallel streets and wide roads, with the largest being Water Street. On August 24, 1792, the Black Poor or Old Settlers of the second Granville Town were incorporated into the new Sierra Leone Colony, but remained at Granville Town.

In 1793, the settlers sent a petition to the Sierra Leone Company expressing concerns about the treatment that they were enduring. [9] The settlers in particular objected to being issued currency that was only redeemable at a company owned store. They also claimed that the governor, a Mr. Dawes, ruled in an almost tyrannical fashion, favoring certain people over others when ruling the settlement. The writers then argued that they had not received the amount of land that Lt. Clarkson had promised them on leaving Nova Scotia. The letter expressed anxiety that the company was not treating them as freemen, but as slaves and requested that Lt. Clarkson return as governor.

Freetown survived being pillaged by the French in 1794, and was rebuilt by the settlers. By 1798, Freetown had between 300 and 400 houses with architecture resembling that of the United States – stone foundations with wooden superstructures. Eventually this style of housing, built by the Nova Scotians, would be the model for the 'bod oses' of their Creole descendants.

In 1800, the Nova Scotians rebelled. The colonial authorities used the arrival of about 550 Jamaican Maroons to suppress the insurrection. Thirty-four Nova Scotians were banished and sent to either the Sherbro or a penal colony at Gore. Some of the Nova Scotians were eventually allowed back into Freetown. After the Maroons captured the Nova Scotian rebels, they were granted their land. Eventually the Maroons had their own district, which came to be known as Maroon Town.

Freetown as a Crown Colony (1808–1961)

Freetown in 1803 A view of Freetown, 1803.jpg
Freetown in 1803

Indigenous Africans attacked the colony in 1801 and were repulsed. The British eventually took control of Freetown, making it a Crown Colony in 1808. This act accompanied expansion that led to the creation of Sierra Leone.

From 1808 to 1874, the city served as the capital of British West Africa. It also served as the base for the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron, which was charged with enforcing the ban on the slave trade. When the squadron liberated slaves on trading ships, they brought most to Sierra Leone, and Freetown in particular; thus, the population grew to include descendants of many different peoples from all over the west coast of Africa. The British also situated three of their Mixed Commission Courts in Freetown. [10]

Freetown in 1856 Freetown, Sierra Leone ca 1856.jpg
Freetown in 1856

The liberated Africans established the suburbs of Freetown Peninsula. They were the largest group of immigrants to make up the Creole people of Freetown. The city expanded rapidly. The freed slaves were joined by West Indian and African soldiers, who had fought for Britain in the Napoleonic Wars and settled here afterwards. Descendants of the freed slaves who settled in Sierra Leone between 1787 and around 1885, are called the Creoles. The Creoles play a leading role in the city, although they are a minority of the overall Sierra Leone population.

During World War I Freetown became a base for operations of British forces in the Atlantic. Warships came into the port to resupply and German merchant vessels captured in the region were also sent there. [11]

During World War II, Britain maintained a naval base at Freetown. The base was a staging post for Allied traffic in the South Atlantic and the assembly point for SL convoys to Britain. An RAF base was maintained at nearby Lungi airfield. British fighter aircraft which were shipped into Freetown port, were carried on the Sierra Leone Government Railway to Makeni to be assembled and flown to Egypt.

Civil war, 1990s to early 2000s

The city was the scene of fierce fighting in the late 1990s during the Sierra Leone Civil War. It was captured by ECOWAS troops seeking to restore President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in 1998. Later it was unsuccessfully attacked by rebels of the Revolutionary United Front.

Mudslide disaster, 2017

In the early morning on 14 August 2017, after much heavy rain, part of Mount Sugar Loaf on an edge of Freetown collapsed in a huge mudslide which drowned over 300 people in Regent town. Deforestation has been blamed for the landslide. [12] [13] [14]

Sierra Leone fuel tanker explosion, 2021

On 5 November 2021, a fuel tank truck collided with another truck in Freetown, resulting in an explosion killing at least 99 and injuring around 100

Geography

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Satellite picture of Freetown, 2006
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A map of central Freetown
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A map showing the broader area of the Freetown Municipality

Freetown shares border with the Atlantic Ocean and the Western Area Rural District. Freetown municipality is politically divided into three regions: East End, Central and West End of Freetown. The wards in the East End of Freetown (East I, East II, and East III) contain the city's largest population centre and generally the poorest part of the city. The Queen Elizabeth II Quay is located within East End.

The two central wards (Central I and Central II) make up Central Freetown, which includes Downtown Freetown and the central business district (Central II). Most of the tallest and most important national government building and foreign embassies are based in Central Freetown.

Sierra Leone's House of Parliament and the State House, the principal workplace of the president of Sierra Leone, are on Tower Hill in central Freetown. The National Stadium, the home stadium of the Sierra Leone national football team (popularly known as the Leone Stars) is in the Brookfield neighborhood.

The three westernmost wards (West I, West II, and West III) of the city constitute the West End of Freetown. These wards are relatively affluent. Most of the city's luxury hotels, a number of casinos, and the Lumley Beach are in the west end of the city. The west end neighbourhood of Hill Station is home to the State Lodge, the official residence of the president of Sierra Leone.

Climate

Like the rest of Sierra Leone, Freetown has a tropical climate with a rainy season from May through November; the balance of the year represents the dry season. The beginning and end of the rainy season is marked by strong thunderstorms. Under the Köppen climate classification, Freetown has a tropical monsoon climate (Am) primarily due to the heavy amount of precipitation it receives during the rainy season.

Freetown's high humidity is somewhat relieved December through to February by the famous Harmattan, a wind blowing from the Sahara Desert affording Freetown its coolest period of the year. Temperature extremes recorded in Freetown are from 15 °C (59 °F) to 38 °C (100 °F) all year. The average annual temperature is around 28 °C (82 °F).

Climate data for Freetown, Sierra Leone (1961-1990, extremes 1947-1990)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)36.0
(96.8)
38.0
(100.4)
38.0
(100.4)
38.5
(101.3)
35.0
(95.0)
35.0
(95.0)
33.0
(91.4)
32.0
(89.6)
31.0
(87.8)
35.0
(95.0)
36.5
(97.7)
33.5
(92.3)
38.5
(101.3)
Average high °C (°F)29.9
(85.8)
30.3
(86.5)
30.9
(87.6)
31.2
(88.2)
30.9
(87.6)
30.1
(86.2)
28.7
(83.7)
28.4
(83.1)
29.0
(84.2)
29.9
(85.8)
30.1
(86.2)
29.7
(85.5)
29.9
(85.9)
Daily mean °C (°F)27.3
(81.1)
27.6
(81.7)
28.1
(82.6)
28.5
(83.3)
28.3
(82.9)
27.4
(81.3)
26.3
(79.3)
25.9
(78.6)
26.4
(79.5)
27.1
(80.8)
27.7
(81.9)
27.5
(81.5)
27.3
(81.2)
Average low °C (°F)23.8
(74.8)
24.0
(75.2)
24.4
(75.9)
24.8
(76.6)
24.4
(75.9)
23.6
(74.5)
23.1
(73.6)
23.0
(73.4)
23.1
(73.6)
23.4
(74.1)
24.0
(75.2)
24.1
(75.4)
23.8
(74.9)
Record low °C (°F)15.0
(59.0)
17.8
(64.0)
19.4
(66.9)
20.0
(68.0)
20.6
(69.1)
20.0
(68.0)
19.4
(66.9)
19.4
(66.9)
20.0
(68.0)
19.4
(66.9)
20.0
(68.0)
15.6
(60.1)
15.0
(59.0)
Average rainfall mm (inches)8.0
(0.31)
6.0
(0.24)
28.0
(1.10)
68.0
(2.68)
214.0
(8.43)
522.0
(20.55)
1,190
(46.85)
1,078
(42.44)
800.0
(31.50)
333.0
(13.11)
148.0
(5.83)
38.0
(1.50)
4,433
(174.54)
Average rainy days001415222727242192152
Average relative humidity (%)66676768737681828078766974
Mean monthly sunshine hours 226.3215.6232.5207.0189.1153.0102.386.8126.0186.0198.0161.22,083.8
Source 1: NOAA, [15] [16] Deutscher Wetterdienst (extremes), [17]
Source 2: Worldwide Bioclimatic Classification System [18]

Demographics

Freetown is home to a large population of both Muslims and Christians, though Muslims make up the majority of the population. In both the Muslim and Christian youth population of Freetown can be found a significant liberal influence. Like the rest of Sierra Leone, Freetown is a very religiously tolerant city, with Muslims and Christians living side by side and getting along well.

As in many parts of Sierra Leone, the Krio language (the English-based creole language of the Sierra Leone Creole people who make up 5% of the country's population) is by far the most widely spoken language in the city. The language is spoken at home as a first language by over 20% of the city's population and is spoken as a lingua franca by a large number of the population in the city. English (the country's official language) is also widely spoken, particularly by the well educated. The Themne language is the second most popular language spoken after Krio. Themne people also make up the largest members of the population of Freetown and the Western Area Region.

Historical population
YearPop.±%
1974 276,247    
1985 469,776+70.1%
2004 772,873+64.5%
2015 1,055,964+36.6%
source: [19]

Government

The city of Freetown is one of Sierra Leone's six municipalities and is governed by a directly elected city council, headed by a mayor, in whom executive authority is vested. The current mayor is Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr. The mayor is responsible for the general management of the city. The mayor and members of the Freetown City Council are elected directly by the residents of Freetown every four years.

The government of the Freetown Municipality has been dominated by All People's Congress (APC) since 2004. Since 2004, the residents of Freetown has voted in municipal elections for members of the All People's Congress (APC) by an overwhelming majority. The APC won the city's mayorship and vast majority seats in the Freetown city council in the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2018 local elections by more than 67% each.

In Presidential elections Freetown is considered a swing city, as it has a large support base of both the All People's Congress and the Sierra Leone People's Party. However, the APC has won majority percent of the votes in Freetown in the 2007, 2012 and 2018 Sierra Leone Presidential election, including The APC winning more than 65% of the votes in Freetown in both The 2012 nd 2018 Sierra Leone Presidential elections. The APC presidential candidate Ernest Bai Koroma received 69% of the votes in Freetown in the 2012 Sierra Leone Presidential election; compared to the SLPP presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio who received 30%. In the 2018 Sierra Leone Presidential election, The APC presidential candidate Samura Kamara received 65% compared to the SLPP presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio who received 34%, though Maada Bio won the presidential election nationally.

In November 2011, Freetown Mayor Herbert George-Williams was removed from office and replaced by council member Alhaji Gibril Kanu as acting mayor. Mayor Herbert George-Williams and eight others, including the Chief Administrator of the Freetown city council Bowenson Fredrick Philips; and the Freetown city council Treasurer Sylvester Momoh Konnehi, were arrested and indicted by the Sierra Leone Anti-corruption Commission on twenty-five counts on graft charges, ranging with conspiracy to commit corruption and misappropriation of public funds. [20] Mayor Herbert George-Williams was acquitted of seventeen of the nineteen charges against him. He was convicted of two less serious charges by the Freetown High Court judge Jon Bosco Katutsi and sentenced to pay a fine. [21] [22]

Acting Mayor Kanu lost the APC nomination for the mayor of Freetown in the 2012 Mayoral elections by 56 votes; council member Sam Franklyn Bode Gibson won 106 in a landslide victory. [23] [24]

In the national presidential and Parliamentary elections, Freetown is similar to swing states in American politics. As the city is so ethnically diverse, no single ethnic group forms a majority of the population of the city. Traditionally, the APC and the SLPP, two of the country's major political parties, have about equal support in the city. In the 2007 Sierra Leone Presidential election, the APC candidate and then main opposition leader, Ernest Bai Koroma, won just over 60% of the votes in the Western Area Urban District, including the city of Freetown, where almost the entire District population reside.

Culture

The city has the Sierra Leone National Museum and Sierra Leone National Railway Museum. There are also various historical landmarks connected to its founding by African Americans, Liberated Africans, and Afro-Caribbeans whose descendants are the Sierra Leone Creole people. [25] [26] [27] [28] The Cotton Tree represents the christening of Freetown in March 1792. In downtown Freetown is the Connaught Hospital, the first hospital constructed in West Africa that incorporated Western medical practices.

Freetown has a long-held tradition of organised cultural events taking place on specific dates to coincide with specific holidays or seasons within the calendar year. One such event is the Eastern Paddle Hunting Society's annual exhibition of a highly sophisticated masquerade, consisting of a costume built, in a fashionable sense, of various materials available: leather, sequins, sea shells, traditional cloths, etc. The masquerade, known as "Paddle", takes to the strategic streets of the eastern and central parts of the city, followed by members of the secret society, traditional musical bands and a crowd of supporters. For years this event had been coinciding with the Muslim holiday of Eid ul Adha until recently, as critics say such an event should not be held on the same day as Muslims celebrate Eid, as Islam is against the practices of secret societies and masquerades.

The "Tangays" Festival is usually held in November, with a traditional theme that involves virtually every aspect of Sierra Leonean culture. It takes place at the National Stadium. Towards the end of the festival, a couple of musical concerts are usually held in the main bowl of the stadium, with performances from local and international musical artists (especially contemporary artists from Nigeria and other African countries or the African diaspora).

Freetown has its own tradition of Christmas street parades, organised in neighbourhoods across the city. The month-long celebration gathers residents in the streets with a variety of food and traditional music.

Tourism

Freetown's tourism sector is an integral part of the city. Although the sector was seriously affected during the Civil War; however, there has been a steady improvement in recent years. The city has a lot to offer to tourists. [29] There is a vast expanse of white sandy beaches stretching along the Freetown Peninsula. The Lumley-Aberdeen beach stretches all the way from Cape Sierra Leone down to Lumley. There are also other popular beaches like the world renowned River Number 2 Beach, Laka Beach, Tokeh Beach, Bureh Beach, and Mama Beach. The Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, which is located within the peninsula's vast rainforest reserve, just a few miles from the centre of Freetown, has a collection of rare and endangered chimpanzees. Other popular destinations for tourists include the Freetown Cotton Tree, located in Central Freetown, a significant national monument and integral to the founding of the city; Bunce Island, which is a boat ride from the city, is home to the ruins of the slave fortress that was being used during the Transatlantic slave trade; the Sierra Leone Museum, which has a collection of both precolonial as well as colonial artifacts and other items of historical significance; the National Railway Museum; or you can take a journey around the city's coastline with the popular Seacoach Express.

The Aberdenn-Lumley area is a favourite destination for those venturing into the city's nightlife. There are nightclubs, restaurants and hotels located not too far from the beach along the road linking Aberdeen and Lumley.

While visiting Sierra Leone for the first time, there are certain cultural specifics you should know. Sierra Leoneans in general are very friendly and tolerant. Sierra Leone is generally considered as one of the most religiously tolerant countries in the world. [30] Both Muslim and Christian holidays are celebrated with a similar level of enthusiasm, among other things. People in the city are accustomed to treating tourists with a sense of "benefit of the doubt" in situations where a tourist fails to understand a particular way of doing something that is unique to Sierra Leonean culture and traditions. However, as a tourist, you may find yourself having problems with someone who might have noticed you repeatedly neglecting a particular norm, such as continuously ignoring simple etiquettes like failing to greet properly or not being polite in the traditional way. Many conflict situations could be averted by asking questions about doubtful issues or situations, as many people are always ready to provide you with answers as best as they could.

Architecture

Nearby is the King's Yard Gate built in stone with a statement inscribed which reads "any slave who passes through this gate is declared a free man", and it was this gate through which liberated Africans passed. Down by the Naval Wharf are slave steps carved out of stone. Before Freetown was established, this was where the Portuguese slave traders transported Africans as slaves to ships.

Freetown is home to Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa, founded in 1827. The university played a key role in Sierra Leone's colonial history. The college's first student, Samuel Ajayi Crowther, went on to be named as the first indigenous Bishop of West Africa. National Railway Museum has a coach car built for the state visit of Elizabeth II in 1961. The Big Market on Wallace Johnson Street is the showcase for local artisans' work.

The Freetown peninsula is ringed by long stretches of white sand. Lumley Beach, on the western side of the peninsula, is a popular location for local parties and festivals.

Places of worship

Among the places of worship, Christian churches predominate and the remaining religious institutions are predominantly Muslim mosques. [31] Among the Christian churches and temples: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Freetown (Catholic Church), United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone (World Methodist Council), Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone (Baptist World Alliance), Assemblies of God. St. George's Cathedral (Anglican) opened in 1828.

Economy

A local market street in Central Freetown Freetown street (13992704238).jpg
A local market street in Central Freetown

Freetown is the economic and financial centre of Sierra Leone. The country's state television and radio station, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, is primarily based in Freetown. The other national broadcasters, such as AYV (African Young Voices) and Capital Radio, are also based in Freetown. Many of the national headquarters of the country's largest corporations as well as the majority of international companies are located in Freetown - a majority of these are found in Central Freetown.

The city's economy revolves largely around its final natural harbour, which is the largest natural harbour on the continent of Africa. Queen Elizabeth II Quay is capable of receiving oceangoing vessels and handles Sierra Leone's main exports.

Industries include food and beverage processing, fish packing, rice milling, petroleum refining, diamond cutting, and the manufacture of cigarettes, paint, textile, and beer. [ citation needed ]

The city is served by the Lungi International Airport, located in the city of Lungi, across the river estuary from Freetown.

In almost every neighborhood of Freetown there are a number of high streets with shops of various kinds of commercial products and services. Shop traders are diverse, including locals and foreign shop owners. However a majority of locals shop at specific and popular areas of the city, such as Lumley Junction, Eastern Police Junction, PZ area, Shell Junction, etc.

Education

Freetown (as the rest of Sierra Leone) has an education system with six years of primary school (Classes 1 to 6), and six years of secondary school (Forms 1 to 6). Secondary schools are further divided into Junior secondary school (Forms 1 to 3) and Senior secondary school (Forms 4 to 6). This system is known as the 6-3-3-4 education system, which means: 6 years of Primary, 3 years of Junior Secondary, 3 years of Senior Secondary, and 4 years of university.

Primary school pupils are usually aged 6 to 12, and secondary schools are usually aged 13 to 18. Primary Education is free and compulsory in government-sponsored public schools. Freetown is home to one of the country's two main universities, the Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa, founded in 1827.

Transportation

A normal day Freetown street with "Keke", regular taxis and private vehicles on the road Siaka Stevens Street, Freetown.jpg
A normal day Freetown street with "Keke", regular taxis and private vehicles on the road

Air transportation

Lungi International Airport is the international airport which serves Freetown and the rest of the country. It is located in the town of Lungi, about 17 km northeast of Freetown across the sea. It serves as the primary airport for domestic and international travel to and from Sierra Leone. The airport is operated by Sierra Leone Airports Authority. There is a frequent commercial fast boat, bus, and ferry service to Freetown and other parts of the country. Hastings Airport provides secondary service, but can only handle small aircraft because of its short runway. It is located about 14 km southeast of downtown Freetown (nearly 22 km by road). [32]

Transfers to Freetown

Passengers have the choice of hovercraft, ferry, road (5 hours), speedboat, water taxi, local banana boats and helicopter to cross the river to Freetown. Ferry is the cheapest option. Hovercraft and ferry operations have at times been suspended due to passenger overloads and safety issues.

Access by sea

Sierra Leone has the largest natural harbour on the African continent. Ships from all over the globe berth at Freetown's Queen Elizabeth II Quay. Passenger, cargo, and private craft also utilize Government Wharf nearer to central Freetown. Recent investment has seen the introduction of high-tech cargo scanning facilities.

Access by land

Road

Sierra Leone's infrastructure is limited, and its highways and roads reflect this. The roads and highways of the country are administered by the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) which has often been crippled by corruption. Highway 1 enters the city from the town of Waterloo, several kilometers to the south. Despite the SLRA's limited capabilities, main feeder/trunk roads have been reconstructed to a high standard. The following are random photos of roads in the city.

Railway

Following a recommendation from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Sierra Leone Government Railway which linked Freetown to the rest of the country was permanently closed in 1974. The iron rails were looted in the following years.

Sports

The National Stadium Sierra Leone National Stadium.jpg
The National Stadium

Like the rest of Sierra Leone, football is the most popular sport in Freetown. The Sierra Leone national football team, popularly known as the Leone Stars plays all their home games at Freetown's National Stadium, the largest stadium in Sierra Leone.

Eight of the fifteen clubs in the Sierra Leone National Premier League are from Freetown, including two of Sierra Leone's biggest and most successful football clubs, East End Lions, and Mighty Blackpool. A match between these two teams is the biggest domestic-football clash in Sierra Leone. A notable Sierra Leonian footballer is Kei Kamara, who plays for the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer.

Twin towns/sister cities

Freetown is officially twinned with five cities:

CityProvince / Region / StateCountryYearRef
Flag of Charleston, South Carolina.svg Charleston South Carolina Flag of the United States.svg 2019 [33]
Hefei Anhui Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg [34]
Flag of Kansas City, Missouri.svg Kansas City Missouri Flag of the United States.svg [35]
Coat of Arms of Kingston upon Hull.svg Kingston upon Hull England Flag of the United Kingdom.svg 1979 [36]
New Haven Connecticut Flag of the United States.svg [37]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sierra Leone</span> Country on the southwest coast of West Africa

Sierra Leone, officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It is bordered by Liberia to the southeast and Guinea surrounds the northern half of the nation. Covering a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi), Sierra Leone has a tropical climate, with diverse environments ranging from savanna to rainforests. The country has a population of 7,092,113 as of the 2015 census. The capital and largest city is Freetown. The country is divided into five administrative regions, which are subdivided into 16 districts.

Sierra Leone first became inhabited by indigenous African peoples at least 2,500 years ago. The Limba were the first tribe known to inhabit Sierra Leone. The dense tropical rainforest partially isolated the region from other West African cultures, and it became a refuge for peoples escaping violence and jihads. Sierra Leone was named by Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra, who mapped the region in 1462. The Freetown estuary provided a good natural harbour for ships to shelter and replenish drinking water, and gained more international attention as coastal and trans-Atlantic trade supplanted trans-Saharan trade.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sierra Leone People's Party</span> Political party in Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) is one of the two major political parties in Sierra Leone, along with its main political rival the All People's Congress (APC). It has been the ruling party in Sierra Leone since April 4, 2018. The SLPP dominated Sierra Leone's politics from its foundation in 1951 to 1967, when it lost the 1967 parliamentary election to the APC, led by Siaka Stevens. Originally a centre-right conservative party, since 2012 it identifies as a social democratic party, with a centrist tendency. Now it is a centrist party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Krio language</span> English-based creole spoken in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leonean Creole or Krio is an English-based creole language that is lingua franca and de facto national language spoken throughout the West African nation of Sierra Leone. Krio is spoken by 96 percent of the country's population, and it unites the different ethnic groups in the country, especially in their trade and social interaction with each other. Krio is the primary language of communication among Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad, and has also heavily influenced Sierra Leonean English. The language is native to the Sierra Leone Creole people, or Krios, a community of about 104,311 descendants of freed slaves from the West Indies, Canada, United States and the British Empire, and is spoken as a second language by millions of other Sierra Leoneans belonging to the country's indigenous tribes. English is Sierra Leone's official language, and Krio, despite its common use throughout the country, has no official status.

The Sierra Leone Company was the corporate body involved in founding the second British colony in Africa on 11 March 1792 through the resettlement of Black Loyalists who had initially been settled in Nova Scotia after the American Revolutionary War. The company came about because of the work of the ardent abolitionists, Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson, Henry Thornton, and Thomas's brother, John Clarkson, who is considered one of the founding fathers of Sierra Leone. The company was the successor to the St. George Bay Company, a corporate body established in 1790 that re-established Granville Town in 1791 for the 60 remaining Old Settlers.

The Sherbro people are a native people of Sierra Leone, who speak the Sherbro language; they make up 1.9% of Sierra Leone's population or 134,606. The Sherbro are found primarily in their homeland in Bonthe District, where they make up 40% of the population, in coastal areas of Moyamba District, and in the Western Area of Sierra Leone, particularly in Freetown. During pre-colonial days, the Sherbro were one of the most dominant ethnic group in Sierra Leone, but in the early 21st century, the Sherbro comprise a small minority in the nation. The Sherbro speak their own language, called Sherbro language.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Western Area Rural District</span> Place in Western Area, Sierra Leone

The Western Area Rural District is one of the sixteen districts of Sierra Leone. It is located mostly around the peninsula in the Western Area of Sierra Leone. The Western Area Rural District has a 2015 census population of 442,951. The district capital and largest city is Waterloo. Other major towns in the district include Newton, Benguema, Leicester, Tombo and Regent. Most of the towns and villages in the Western area rural District are close to the capital Freetown; and are part of the Freetown Metropolitan Area.

Thomas Peters, born Thomas Potters, was a veteran of the Black Pioneers, fighting for the British in the American Revolutionary War. A Black Loyalist, he was resettled in Nova Scotia, where he became a politician and one of the "Founding Fathers" of the nation of Sierra Leone in West Africa. Peters was among a group of influential Black Canadians who pressed the Crown to fulfill its commitment for land grants in Nova Scotia. Later they recruited African-American settlers in Nova Scotia for the colonisation of Sierra Leone in the late eighteenth century.

Waterloo is a city in the Western Area of Sierra Leone and the capital of the Western Area Rural District, which is one of the sixteen districts of Sierra Leone. Waterloo is located about twenty miles east of Freetown. Waterloo is the second largest city in the Western Area region of Sierra Leone, after Freetown. The city had a population of 34,079 in the 2004 census, and 55,000 as per a 2015 estimate. Waterloo is part of the Freetown metropolitan area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Clarkson (abolitionist)</span> English abolitionist

Lieutenant John Clarkson was a Royal Navy officer and abolitionist, the younger brother of Thomas Clarkson, one of the central figures in the abolition of slavery in England and the British Empire at the close of the 18th century. As agent for the Sierra Leone Company, Lieutenant Clarkson was instrumental in the founding of Freetown, today Sierra Leone's capital city, as a haven for chiefly formerly enslaved African-Americans first relocated to Nova Scotia by the British military authorities following the American Revolutionary War.

Cassandra Garber is a notable Creole and is the current president of the Krio Descendants Union, which was founded by George T.O. Robinson. She was a former teacher and headmistress at the Freetown Secondary School for Girls in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Maroon Town, Sierra Leone, is a district in the settlement of Freetown, a colony founded in West Africa by Great Britain.

Settler Town is the oldest part of the city of Freetown, now the capital of Sierra Leone, and was the first home of the Nova Scotian Settlers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cline Town</span>

Cline Town is an area in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The area is named for Emmanuel Kline, a Hausa Liberated African who bought substantial property in the area. The neighborhood is in the vicinity of Granville Town, a settlement established in 1787 and re-established in 1789 prior to the founding of the Freetown settlement on 11 March 1792.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nova Scotian Settlers</span> Historical ethnic group that settled Sierra Leone

The Nova Scotian Settlers, or Sierra Leone Settlers were African-Americans who founded the settlement of Freetown, Sierra Leone and the Colony of Sierra Leone, on March 11, 1792. The majority of these black American immigrants were among 3,000 African-Americans, mostly former slaves, who had sought freedom and refuge with the British during the American Revolutionary War, leaving rebel masters. They became known as the Black Loyalists. The Nova Scotian settlers were jointly led by African-American Thomas Peters, a former soldier, and English abolitionist John Clarkson. For most of the 19th century, the Settlers resided in Settler Town and remained a distinct ethnic group within the Freetown territory, tending to marry among themselves and with Europeans in the colony.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Freetown, Sierra Leone.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ethnic groups in Sierra Leone</span> Ethnic groups living within the country of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is home to about sixteen ethnic groups, each with its own language. In Sierra Leone, membership of an ethnic group often overlaps with a shared religious identity.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sierra Leone Creole people</span> Ethnic group of Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Creole people are an ethnic group of Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Creole people are descendants of freed African-American, Afro-Caribbean, and Liberated African slaves who settled in the Western Area of Sierra Leone between 1787 and about 1885. The colony was established by the British, supported by abolitionists, under the Sierra Leone Company as a place for freedmen. The settlers called their new settlement Freetown. Today, the Sierra Leone Creoles are 1.2 percent of the population of Sierra Leone.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oku people (Sierra Leone)</span> Ethnic group of Sierra Leone

The Oku people or the Aku Marabout or Aku Mohammedans are an ethnic group in Sierra Leone and the Gambia, primarily the descendants of marabout, liberated Yoruba people who were released from slave ships and resettled in Sierra Leone as Liberated Africans or came as settlers in the mid-19th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sierra Leone Colony and Protectorate</span> British colony (1808–1861) and protectorate (1896–1961)

The Colony and Protectorate of Sierra Leone was the British colonial administration in Sierra Leone from 1808 to 1961, part of the British Empire from the abolitionism era until the decolonisation era. The Crown colony, which included the area surrounding Freetown, was established in 1808. The protectorate was established in 1896 and included the interior of what is today known as Sierra Leone.

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