According to COUNTRYAAH, the area of today’s “Sierra Leone” was colonized in the 15th century by the Portuguese who called it the “Lion Mountains” (Serra Lyoa). There are different explanations for the naming. The Portuguese sailors, with Pedro de Sintra, chose this name because they suspected lions on the Freetown Peninsula: When they drove past the coastal mountains during a thunderstorm, the thunder sounded like a threatening roar of lions. According to another explanation, they named the country that because the coastal mountains are reminiscent of a sleeping lion. Sierra Leone is located on the West African Atlantic coast between 7-10 degrees north and 10-13 degrees west.
Sierra Leone has a land area of 71,740 km². In the northwest, north and northeast it borders on Guinea (francophone) and in the southeast on Liberia. The border with both countries is marked over long distances by rivers. To the southwest and south of Sierra Leone lies the Atlantic Ocean. The national border of Sierra Leone is 958 km long, 652 km of which borders Guinea in the north and Liberia in the south. The length of the coast is 402 km.
With an average density of 77 residents / km², Sierra Leone ranks among the most densely populated African countries, but the distribution of the population is not homogeneous; the highest concentrations are recorded in the coastal and median strip of the country, that is to say in the plains and in the hilly areas, while some northern areas are almost deserted. During the 1990s, the demographic development of Sierra Leone was heavily influenced by the outbreak of the civil war which, in addition to causing a very high number of victims, forced a large part of the population, especially in the south-eastern regions of the country, to abandon their homes and find refuge elsewhere. The effects of the civil war have aggravated the general conditions of the population, which, previously, they were extremely disadvantaged; the infant mortality rate is among the highest in the world, while life expectancy is among the lowest (in 2005 it was on average 40 years). Ethnically the population is composite, including at least 18 groups; the Sudanese peoples who entered the country from N and NE in successive waves and superimposed on the pre-existing populations of archaic tradition prevail, semibantu. Archaic groups have survived in coastal areas, such as bullom, farmers and fishermen, and in more defended forest areas such as kurango (5.5%), hunters from eastern Sierra Leone. Of the invading groups, the most important is that of the mende or mandingo (26%), farmers settled in the central and southern part of the country; slightly lower in number are the temne (24.6%), allocated in the area of the Little Scarcies river and also farmers. In the extreme north of the country, on the other hand, there are fulbe or fulani (3.8%), which mainly breed in the mountainous areas; other important groups of inland mountainous areas are the limba (7.1%) and the susu. Other groups of a certain consistency are the kono (4.2%) and the kissi (2.3%); the other groups as a whole are about a quarter of the entire population (26.5%). The socially and economically dominant Creole population is just 3% of the total population; the presence of Europeans (British and Belgians) and Asian communities (Lebanese, Pakistani and Indians) is also not very significant. The urban population, in 2005, was 40.7%; it is concentrated mainly in Freetown, a city deeply marked by English colonialism and which retains a certain Victorian style. It is an active port and centralizes all the main political, administrative, economic and cultural functions of the country; Among other things, the oldest (1827) university institute in West Africa, Fourah Bay College, is located here, now incorporated into the University of Sierra Leone. The other major centers (Bo, Kenema, Makeni) are found on the roads that penetrate to the mining areas in the meridian belt of the country. However, the absolute majority of the population lives in hut villages, the characteristics of which vary according to the different ethnic groups.
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The air in Sierra Leone is tropical humid up to 5000 mm per year with precipitation on the coast, where the average temperatures generally between 23 °C and 32 °C are. The year is characterized by a rainy season and a dry season. The rainy season starts in May and ends around September. The dry season is characterized by the sandy and cool desert wind Harmattan and a hot period from February to April. Locally it is spoken of three seasons because of the harmattans, which blow for a few weeks between December and February. Average temperatures in the north of the country in Kabala are 25.5 °C. In the south in Bo they are between 20 °C and 37 °C, on the coast in Freetown between 23 ° C and 32 °C. The coastal climate on the Freetown Peninsula tends to be milder and more pleasant than inland.