Meaning of SIERRA LEONE in English


officially Republic of Sierra Leone

Country, western Africa.

Area: 27,699 sq mi (71,740 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 4,823,000. Capital: Freetown . The Mende and Temne are the largest of about 18 ethnic groups. Languages: English (official), Krio (derived from English and a variety of African languages). Religions: Islam, traditional beliefs, Christianity. Currency: leone. Sierra Leone has four physical regions: the coastal swamp; the Sierra Leone Peninsula, with thickly wooded mountains that rise from the swamps; the interior plains, consisting of grasslands and rolling wooded country; and the eastern plateau region, encompassing several mountains. More than one-fourth of the country is forest. Wildlife includes chimpanzees, tigers, crocodiles, and many species of birds. The economy is based largely on agriculture and mining; rice, cassava, coffee, cacao, and oil palm are major crops, and diamonds, iron ore, and bauxite are mined. The head of state and government is the president. The earliest inhabitants were probably the Bulom; the Mende and Temne peoples arrived in the 15th century. The coastal region was visited by the Portuguese in the 15th century, and by 1495 there was a Portuguese fort on the site of modern Freetown. European ships visited the coast regularly to trade for slaves and ivory, and the English built trading posts on offshore islands in the 17th century. British abolitionists and philanthropists founded Freetown in 1787 as a private venture for freed and runaway slaves. In 1808 the coastal settlement became a British colony. The region became a British protectorate in 1896. It achieved independence in 1961 and became a republic in 1971. Since independence Sierra Leone has suffered through the instability of a series of military coups. In the 1990s a civil war marked by horrific atrocities further devastated the country.

Britannica English dictionary.      Английский словарь Британика.