Sierra Leone - HowStuffWorks

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Country (long form) Republic of Sierra Leone
Capital Freetown
Total Area 27,698.97 sq mi
71,740.00 sq km
(slightly smaller than South Carolina)
Population 5,426,618 (July 2001 est.)
Estimated Population in 2050 15,667,452
Languages English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)
Literacy 31.4% total, 45.4% male, 18.2% female (1995 est.)
Religions Muslim 60%, indigenous beliefs 30%, Christian 10%
Life Expectancy 42.69 male, 48.61 female (2001 est.)
Government Type constitutional democracy
Currency 1 leone (Le) = 100 cents
GDP (per capita) $510 (2000 est.)
Industry mining (diamonds); small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, cigarettes, footwear); petroleum refining
Agriculture rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish
Arable Land 7%
Natural Resources diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite
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Geography of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone, officially Republic of Sierra Leone, a country in western Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Guinea, and Liberia.

History of Sierra Leone

The Portuguese first began to trade along the coast about 1500. During the next half-century, neighboring peoples subjugated many of the local peoples and established kingdoms.