Sierra Leone facts for kids

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Republic of Sierra Leone

Coat of Arms of Sierra Leone
Coat of Arms
Motto: "Unity, Freedom, Justice"
Anthem: High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free
Location of  Sierra Leone  (dark blue)– in Africa  (light blue & dark grey)– in the African Union  (light blue)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Sierra Leone  (dark blue)

– in Africa  (light blue & dark grey)
– in the African Union  (light blue)  —  [Legend]

and largest city
Official languages English
Vernacular Mende, Temne, Krio
Demonym(s) Sierra Leonean
Government Unitary presidential Constitutional republic
Ernest Bai Koroma (APC)
• Vice President
Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana (APC)
• Speaker of Parliament
Abel Nathaniel Bankole Stronge (APC)
• Chief Justice
Haja Umu Hawa Tejan-Jalloh
Legislature House of Parliament of Sierra Leone
• from the United Kingdom
27 April 1961
• Republic declared
19 April 1971
• Total
71,740 km2 (27,700 sq mi) (119th)
• Water (%)
• Estimate
6.3 million (2008 estimate) [1][2][3][4][5][6]
• 2004 census
• Density
79.4/km2 (205.6/sq mi) (114th1)
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
• Total
$4.837 billion
• Per capita
GDP (nominal) 2009 estimate
• Total
$1.877 billion
• Per capita
Gini (2003) 62.9
very high
HDI (2011) Increase 0.336
low · 180th
Currency Leone (SLL)
Time zone UTC+0 (GMT)
Driving side right
Calling code 232
ISO 3166 code SL
Internet TLD .sl
1 Rank based on 2007 figures.

Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa. Its capital is Freetown. The official language is English.

The country was first made as a place where freed slaves could live. From 1991 until 2000, there was a civil war in Sierra Leone between rebels and the government. The war is now over. Sierra Leone is known for its blood diamonds. These were mined and sold during the civil war. This was in order to buy the weapons for the civil war.

There are 71,740 square kilometres of land in Sierra; In terms of land area it is similar in size to Ireland.

Sierra Leone has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base. The country is among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, and a major producer of gold. The country has one of the world's largest deposits of rutile. Sierra Leone is also home to the third largest natural harbour in the world. Shipping from all over the globe goes to Freetown's famous Queen Elizabeth II Quay. Despite this natural wealth, 70% of its people live in poverty.

Sierra Leone is a mostly Muslim country.

The country has 2,090 known species of higher plants, 147 mammals, 626 birds, 67 reptiles, 35 amphibians, and 99 fish species.

Geography and climate

The country is bordered by Guinea to the north and northeast, Liberia to the south and southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

Mount Bintumani reaches 1,948 m (6,391 ft). It is the highest point in the country.

The climate is tropical, with two seasons. The rainy season is from May to November, and the dry season is from December to May.

Largest cities

The largest cities in Sierra Leone are:

  1. Freetown 1,070,200
  2. Bo 269,000 [7]
  3. Kenema 158,496 [8]
  4. Koidu Town 111,800 [9]
  5. Makeni 105,900 [10]


School destroyed by Sierra Leone Civil War
School destroyed by the war

Education in Sierra Leone is legally required for all children for six years. A shortage of schools and teachers has made this impossible. Two thirds of the adult population of the country are not able to read. The Sierra Leone Civil War caused the destruction of 1,270 primary schools. In 2001, 67% of all school-age children were out of school. This has been better since the end of the civil war.

The country has three universities: Fourah Bay College, University of Makeni and Njala University. Teacher training colleges and religious seminaries are found in many parts of the country.

Provinces and districts

Sierra Leone Districts
The 12 districts and 2 areas of Sierra Leone.

The Republic of Sierra Leone has four regions the Northern Province, Southern Province, the Eastern Province and the Western Area. The first three provinces are divided into 12 districts. The districts are further divided into 149 chiefdoms.

District Capital Area km2 Province Population (2004 census) Population (2008 estimates)
Bombali District Makeni 7,985 Northern Province 408,390 424,100
Koinadugu District Kabala 12,121 265,758
Port Loko District Port Loko 5,719 455,746 483,752
Tonkolili District Magburaka 7,003 347,197 370,425
Kambia District Kambia 3,108 270,462 299,725
Kenema District Kenema 6,053 Eastern Province 497,948 522,656
Kono District Koidu Town 5,641 335,401
Kailahun District Kailahun 3,859 358,190 389,253
Bo District Bo 5,473.6 Southern Province 463,668 527,131
Bonthe District Mattru Jong 3,468 129,947 137,155
Pujehun District Pujehun 4,105 228,392 262,073
Moyamba District Moyamba 6,902 260,910
Western Area Urban District Freetown 3,568 Western Area 1,272,873 1,473,873
Western Area Rural District Waterloo 4,175 174,249 205,400

Food and customs

Rice is the staple food of Sierra Leone. It is eaten at nearly every meal daily. The rice is prepared in many ways, and topped with different sauces made from some of Sierra Leone's favorite toppings. These include potato leaves, cassava leaves, crain crain, okra soup, fried fish and groundnut stew.

Along the street of towns and cities one can find snacks such as fresh mangoes, oranges, pineapple, fried plantains, ginger beer, fried potato, fried cassava with pepper sauce; small bags of popcorn or peanuts, bread, roasted corn, or skewers of grilled meat or shrimp.

Poyo is a popular Sierra Leonean drink. It is a sweet, lightly fermented palm wine. Poyo bars are areas of lively informal talk about politics, football, entertainment and other issues.


Football is by far the most popular sport in Sierra Leone. Children, youth and adult are often seen playing street football across Sierra Leone.

The Sierra Leone national football team, popularly known as the Leone Stars, represents the country in international competitions. It has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup. They were in the 1994 and 1996 African Cup of Nations. Many of the national team footballers are celebrities across Sierra Leone. They are often well known by most of the country's general population. Some well known Sierra Leonean international footballers include Mohamed Kallon, Mohamed Bangura, Rodney Strasser, Ibrahim Teteh Bangura, Alhassan Bangura, Sheriff Suma, Mohamed Kamara, Umaru Bangura and Kei Kamara.

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Sierra Leone Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.