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Designed and developed by Stuart Gradwell and Helen Robinson.

Heroes Past & Present



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June 1991

Sierra Leone

West coast of Africa. Bordered by Guinea to the North and Liberia to the South. The country is a major producer of diamonds. It boasts miles of beautiful, unspoiled beaches along its Atlantic coast.

Where did it happen?

Why did it happen?

The capital, Freetown, was a major slave export post. In 1787 it was established as a settlement for slaves who were being repatriated and rescued from America. In 1808 Britain declared Freetown a Crown Colony and in 1896 the interior of the country became a British Protectorate until it was granted independence in 1961.

The ensuing decades saw much political unrest with several coups and the declaration of a one party state. Despite the income generated by diamond exports, 2 years after taking power, Major-General Joseph Saidu Momoh declared Sierra Leone to be in a state of economic emergency.