The Bulom people were thought to have been the earliest inhabitants of Sierra Leone, followed by the Mende and Temne peoples in the 15th century and thereafter the Fulani. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to explore the land; the name Sierra Leone is derived form the Portuguese word "Sierra Lyoa" meaning "lion mountain" coined by Portuguese sailor, Pedro Da Cintra, due to the plateux and shape of the land. Mangrove swamps lie along the coast, with wooded hills and a plateaux in the interior, and the eastern region is mountainous. Freetown, which later became the Capital City of the nation, was given up to English settlers in 1787 as a home for Blacks discharged from the British armed forces and also for runaway/freed slaves who had found asylum in London.
In 1808, Sierra Leone became a British colony, and in 1896 a British protectorate was proclaimed over the hinterland. 51 years ago, April 27 1961, Sierra Leone became an independent nation. A military coup overthrew the civilian government in 1967, which was in turn replaced by civilian rule a year later. On April 19, 1971, Sierra Leone declared itself a Republic under the leader of Prime Minister Siaka Stevens (Pa Sheky). In 1996, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah became the nation's first democratically elected president.
In 2007, the literacy rate for ages 15 and over was 50% boys and men, and 26.8% girls and women.
The current president of the Republic of Sierra Leone is President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma (since 2007).
The nation's currency is called Leones (Le).
The tribe of Creoles are the descendants of freed slaves from North America, the West Indies, Nigeria, and other parts of West Africa.
One of the well-known landmarks of the nation is the Cotton Tree, located at the center of the nation's capital city, Freetown.
Sierra Leone's first Inspector General of Police is Patrick Moriba Johnson
The current Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources is Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray. The natural resources of the nation are rutile (titanium ore), diamond, bauxite, iron ore, gold, and chromite. Sierra Leone is the 3rd largest diamond producing country in the world. However, the mining industry is largely controlled by foreign companies.
The country's official language is British English.
Sierra Leone is located on the West Coast of Africa, bounded by Republic of Guinea to the north and northeast, Liberia to the east and southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean on the west and south. Hence, fish one of the country's largest exports.
Religious practices include: 60% Islam, 30% Native beliefs, and 10% Christianity.
Sierra Leone's staple food is rice; rice, along with coffee, cacao, palm kernels, and palm oil are the nation's largest agricultural products.. Agriculture is the predominant source of Sierra Leone's economy.
Sierra Leone is a member of Commonwealth of Nations.
Sierra Leone's international airport is located in Lungi, known as the Lungi International Airport.