Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s known for the white-sand beaches lining the Freetown Peninsula. The capital city, Freetown, commemorates the nation’s slave-trade history with the Cotton Tree landmark and King’s Yard Gate. Both were known as places of refuge for returned slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries. Nearby Bunce Island was a key departure point during the slave trade. Sierra Leone is bordered by Guinea to the north and northeast, Liberia to the south and southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The country has a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq. mi), divided into a land area of 71,620 km2 (27,653 sq. mi) and water of 120 km2 (46 sq. mi).

Key Cities

Key cities in Sierra Leone include Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Makeni, Koidu Town, Lunsar, Port Loko, Pandebu-Tokpombu, Kabala, Waterloo.

Historical, Cultural facts & Religion

Sierra Leone was colonized in 1787 by freed slaves arriving from England; other groups followed from Nova Scotia (1792) and Jamaica (1800). They were sponsored and governed by the private Sierra Leone Company until 1808 when Britain made Sierra Leone a crown colony. The majority of people in Sierra Leone still live a traditional, agricultural way of life, with ruling chiefs, and religions which preserve social stability, as well as local music, dance, customs, and traditions. Handshaking is the normal form of greeting. The Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone estimated that 77% of Sierra Leone’s population are Muslims, 21% are Christians, and 2% are followers of traditional African religion. Most of Sierra Leone’s ethnic groups are Muslim majority, including the country’s two largest ethnic groups: the Mende and Temne.

Brief Country History

The name Sierra Leone dates back to 1462 when a Portuguese explorer sailed down the coast of West Africa. There seems some dispute whether it was the shape or climatic conditions that influenced Pedro da Cintra to come up with “Sierra Lyoa” meaning Lion Mountains.

Some say the coastal regions looked like “lion’s teeth”. Others suggest he thought the thunderstorms over the mountainous peninsula sounded like the roar of a lion. Sixteenth-century English sailors called it Sierra Leoa which evolved in the 17th Century to Sierra Leone. The British officially adopted the name Sierra Leone in 1787. Archaeology findings show that Sierra Leone has been inhabited for thousands of years. Traditional historiography has customarily presented it as a people by successive waves of invaders; but the language pattern suggests that the coastal Bulom (Sherbro), Temne, and Limba have been in continuous settled occupation for a long time, with sporadic immigration from inland Mende-speaking people including Vai, Loko, and Mende. In 1787, British philanthropists founded the “Province of Freedom” which later became Freetown, a British crown colony and the principal base for the suppression of the slave trade. By 1792, 1200 freed slaves from Nova Scotia joined the original settlers, the Maroons. Another group of slaves rebelled in Jamaica and traveled to Freetown in 1800. Sierra Leone achieved independence on the 27th of April 1961. the country attained republican status on the 19th of April 1971. Since independence, many changes have been experienced politically and economically and in the social society of Sierra Leone.

Language (s) Written & Spoken

Sierra Leone is a multilingual country. English is the de facto official language, and Krio is the most widely spoken. Other major languages include Mende, Temne, Limba and Krio. The most widely spoken is Krio.

Important Types of Commerce in Sierra Leone

Industries in Sierra Leone cover diamond mining and petroleum refining alongside commercial ship repair. Extractive industries are popular in Sierra Leone due to the country’s wealth of diamonds, gold, bauxite, rutile, and iron ore deposits, and mining now accounts for almost a third of GDP.

Language Services US and others will provide working with Sierra Leone

Although the de facto language of Sierra Leone is English. Sierra Leone is a culturally diverse country with 160 different languages. Moreover, English in Sierra Leone has more in common with British English, than American and Canadian English. Businesses in Sierra Leone need translation services in several fields including legal, government, mining, life sciences, financial, marketing, IT & technology, manufacturing, defense, and corporate communications when they localize official documents, marketing collaterals, technical documentation, Websites & mobile apps, Software & web-based tools, and Video & audio. Businesses in Sierra Leone will also need Krio Interpreting services to reach a wider audience in the country.

Looking for a Krio and English translation/interpretation company? Look no further. American Language Services (AML-Global) offers certified translations, native interpreting services, and turn-key localization solutions for any language. Call us today @ 1-800-951-5020 for further information, visit our website or for a quick quote click


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