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Sierra Leone

 

Sierra Leone was a British Crown Colony from 1808 to 1961. Sierra Leone became independent from the United Kingdom on 27 April 1961, led by Sir Milton Margai. In May 1962, Sierra Leone held its first general elections as an independent nation. On 19 April 1971, Siaka Stevens' government abolished Sierra Leone's parliamentary government system and declared Sierra Leone a presidential republic with Stevens as the country's first president. From 1978 to 1985, Sierra Leone was a one-party state in which Stevens' APC was the only legal political party in the country. The current constitution of Sierra Leone, which includes multiparty democracy, was adopted in 1991 by the government of President Joseph Saidu Momoh, Stevens' hand-picked successor. On 23 March 1991, a rebel group known as the Revolutionary United Front led by a former Sierra Leone army officer Foday Sankoh launched an eleven-year brutal civil war in the country, in an unsuccessful goal to overthrow the Sierra Leone government.
European contacts within Sierra Leone were among the first in West Africa in the 15th century. In 1462, Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra mapped the hills surrounding what is now Freetown Harbour, naming the shaped formation Serra da Leoa or "Serra Leoa" (Portuguese for Lioness Mountains). The Spanish rendering of this geographic formation is Sierra Leona, which later was adapted and, misspelled, became the country's current name. Although according to the professor C. Magbaily Fyle this could have been a misinterpretation of historians: according to him, there has been evidence of travellers calling the region Serra Lyoa well before 1462, the year when Sintra first arrived. This would imply that the identity of the person who named Sierra Leone still remains unclear.
The settlement of Sierra Leone in the 1800s was unique in that the population was composed of displaced Africans who were brought to the colony after the Spanish abolition of the slave trade in 1807. Upon arrival in Sierra Leone, each "recaptive" was given a registration number, and information on their physical qualities would be entered into the Register of Liberated Africans. However, oftentimes the documentation would be overwhelmingly subjective and would result in inaccurate entries, making them difficult to track. In addition, differences between the Register of Liberated Africans of 1808 and the List of Captured Negroes of 1812 (which emulated the 1808 document) revealed some disparities in the entries of the recaptives, specifically in the names; many recaptives decided to change their given names to more anglicised versions which contributed to the difficulty in tracking them after they arrived in Sierra Leone.
Agriculture is the largest employer with 80 percent of the population working in the sector. Rice is the most important staple crop in Sierra Leone with 85 percent of farmers cultivating rice during the rainy season and an annual consumption of 76 kg per person.