The ethnic groups Temne and Mende are the
two largest among Sierra Leone, and in addition the radicals
Lokko, sherbo, limba, Sussu Fulani, Kono and
Krio. The nationalists wanted to change the name of the
country, which has little to do with the African languages.
The country got its name from the Portuguese sailor Pedro de
Cintra in 1462.
three centuries later, Britain was faced with a peculiar
"demographic problem" when hundreds of runaway slaves from
the Caribbean arrived in London. While slavery was allowed
in the colonies, it was banned in Britain, so it was decided
to send the slaves back to Africa. Granville Sharp, the
leader of the resistance to slavery, bought an area of 250
km 2 (for 60 pounds) for the chiefs of the
various small groups. They built a small democratically
organized farming community that quickly became the starting
point for British conquest of the rest of the country.
The former slaves - the Creoles - were thrown into an
area where they had no roots of their own, and they
identified themselves more closely with European culture,
looked down on the "wild" in the interior of the country and
acted as middlemen for it. British colonialism.
Still, the "wild" resistance became long and fierce. It
reached a climax in 1898 when their leader, Bai Buré,
pledged an award to each Englishman's scalp, and thus
managed to raise the whole interior of the country to arms.
Yet the British, with their superior military capabilities,
succeeded in beating the "wild" after nearly a year of war.
Around the colonization in 1960, the British succeeded in
reaching an agreement with the traditional leaders that
enabled the British to defend their interests. Sir Milton
Margai of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party became the first
Prime Minister of the independent Sierra Leone in 1961.
The Creoles, together with the British and
Syrian-Lebanese traders, controlled the economic power, but
were now displaced by the political power. Still, they
retained considerable influence over Margai's government.
Upon his death in 1964, he was succeeded by his brother
Albert. Everything continued unchanged - or worse. The
corruption and the scam reached such heights that some
observers compared the country to Cuba under the dictator
Batista. The production of diamonds gave rise to extensive
smuggling and crime became the most frequent way to become
The situation first changed in 1967 when All People's
Congress (APC), led by Syaka Stevens, won the election. The
Creole conservatives, traditional leaders and British
neo-colonialists joined forces to remove Stevens from power.
They considered him "dangerously progressive." Stevens was
overthrown at a military coup and had to go into exile in
But as early as April 1968, a group of lower officers
conducted a military coup and reinstated Stevens at the
prime minister's post - the so-called "lieutenant coup". In
1971, he cut off diplomatic relations between Sierra Leone
and the United Kingdom, proclaimed the Republic and
transformed himself into president.
Stevens nationalized the carpentry companies, gave the
state a majority in the diamond mining company and joined
the international iron and bauxite producer association,
with the aim of obtaining higher prices for these raw
In 1978, he conducted a referendum to transform the
country into a one-party state. The aim was to abolish the
constant clashes with the opposition. The proposal was
passed and the APC assumed full government responsibility
and absorbed the key political leaders from the SLPP.
From 1979, the signs of economic and political crisis
became increasingly clear. Declining exports, inflation,
deteriorating living conditions, rising authoritarian
attitudes in society as well as the increasingly frequent
corruption cases have caused the popularity of the Stevens
government to fall dramatically.