Freetown facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Freetown, Sierra Leone
View of central Freetown and the famous Cotton Tree
|District||Western Area Urban District|
|Founded||March 11th, 1792|
|• Type||City council|
|• Total||138 sq mi (357 km2)|
|Elevation||84 ft (26 m)|
|Time zone||Greenwich Mean Time|
Freetown is the capital city of the African country of Sierra Leone. With a population of 951,000 people, it is the largest city in that country. The city is a port on the Freetown Peninsula on the Atlantic coast. The port is a very important part of the economy of Freetown. It handles the main exports of the country. Industries include fish, rice, petroleum, and making cigarettes.
The area was first settled in 1787 by 400 freed former slaves and Black American Loyalists sent from London. Many of these men had joined the British Army because the British promised to free them if they fought the American colonists. Before that time it was said to be a slave market. These people created the 'Province of Freetown' on land bought from local Temne leaders. After many of these original settlers died from disease, it was burnt by the local people in 1790.
The Sierra Leone Company tried to settle the area again in 1792. They resettled Freetown with 1,100 former slaves and Loyalists from Nova Scotia. Many of these people were born in the colonial United States. They were led by former slave Thomas Peters. Around 500 free Jamaican Maroons joined them in 1800.
The city survived being attacked by the French in 1794. In 1800 the people revolted but the British retook control. From 1808 to 1874, the city was the capital of British West Africa. The city grew quickly as many freed slaves came to live there. African soldiers who had fought for Britain in the Napoleonic Wars also came to live in Freetown. During World War II, Britain had a naval base at Freetown. Descendants of the freed slaves, called Creoles, have a large role in the city, even though they are only a small amount of the population.
The city had much fighting in the late 1990s. In 1998, it was captured by ECOWAS soldiers who were trying to make Ahmad Tejan Kabbah the President again.
One of Freetown’s most most known features is its famous cotton tree. The cotton tree is said to have been in the same position since colonists came to the area in 1787. At that time, the tree was still a young sapling. It now stands outside the Freetown Museum.
Notable buildings in the city include Freetown Law Courts, the Slave Gate and Portuguese Steps, St John's Maroon Church (built around 1820), St George's Cathedral (completed in 1828), Foulah Town Mosque (built in the 1830s) and the Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Cathedral. Also in Freetown are many beaches and markets, and the Sierra Leone Museum.
The city is the home of Fourah Bay College and the Njala University college.
Lungi International Airport is the international airport of Sierra Leone. Freetown also has a heliport on Aberdeen Island. It connects the city with the airport. There is a helicopter, hovercraft and ferry-service from the city to the airport.