Sierra Leone: Colonization

Colonization in Sierra Leone

Thomas de Boer                                             

Period 2

Mr. Hjelmgren

       Sierra Leone was colonized by the British in 1787. The British Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor which was a charity for poor blacks decided to create a town in Africa for freed slaves (Brittanica). The British settlers landed and named the port city Freetown, which is still the capitol of Sierra Leone today. Britain received the most resistance from the Temne people, but the colonization went quite smoothly for the British. By the beginning of the 19th century, Sierra Leone was completely under British control (Afropop).

            One of the most valuable resources utilized by the British was diamonds. Sierra Leone was rich in diamonds which could be found in many of the streams and caves. When the British arrived, diamond mining became essential to the country’s economy. Today diamonds are still the major resource of Sierra Leone (Brittanica). However, diamonds have caused wide-spread bloodshed which in turn caused Sierra Leone’s modern day economy to collapse.

            The colonization of Sierra Leone can be compared the colonization of America in respect to how the native people were treated. They were treated as the lower beings, they were taxed very highly, and they were denied previous freedoms. Although Freetown was a town of freedom, slavery still continued in Sierra Leone outside of Freetown (Afropop). The slave trade was only halted in 1928 when all major countries in the world had abolished the slave trade. Like other colonies, the people of Sierra Leone did not get the political freedom of the European countries and were denied democracy (Afropop).

            One example of impact on the people of Sierra Leone and their public outcry is the Hut Tax War. In 1898, Bai Bureh, a Temne man, complained about the high taxation on his hut (Sierra He rallied up some fellow tribe members and joined up with another tribe: the Mende. They set out and killed several hundred British soldiers. The British encountered more resistance in the Hut Tax War than when they colonized the country, but in end the British won the war (Sierra

                    Annotated Bibliography: 

“Sierra leone: Afropop Country” Afropop Worldwide 29 April 2009

This was helpful for basic facts about how Sierra Leone was colonized and the resources it provided.”

"Temne." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.      29 April. 2009 <>.

“This site really helped in finding information about the Temne people, the main ethnic group in Sierra Leone, and their culture.”

“Heroes”,, 2009 Visit Sierra Leone, 4/28/09

“This was helpful on information about the Hut tax war”



     Last updated on 5/21/09.