The Freetown Peninsula is one of the few parts of coastal Africa and indeed the only part of West Africa, where mountains rise from the sea, giving the capital and its surrounds a magical landscape.
The peninsula is also home to the deepest harbour in West Africa and the south east area of Sierra Leone produces crops such as coffee, cocoa, kola and oil palm.
The city of Freetown was founded on March 11, 1792 by Lieutenant John Clarkson and African American ex-slaves and free people called the Nova Scotian Settlers, who were transported to Sierra Leone by the Sierra Leone Company in 1792.
Freetown was a haven for free-born and freed African American, liberated African and Caribbean settlers; with descendants known as the Creole people.
It is the oldest capital to be founded by African Americans, having been founded 30 years before Monrovia, Liberia and is noted for its unique Creole architecture reflecting American and Caribbean influences.
The British eventually took control of Freetown, making it a Crown Colony in 1808. This act accompanied an expansion of territory that led to the creation of Sierra Leone.
From 1808 to 1874, the city served as the capital of British West Africa. It also served as the base for the Royal Navy’s West Africa Squadron, which was charged with enforcing the ban on the slave trade.
When the squadron liberated slaves on trading ships, they brought most to Sierra Leone, and Freetown in particular; thus, the population grew to include descendants of many different peoples from all over the west coast of Africa.
Sierra Leone gained its independence on 27 April 1961. The new nation was born at the stroke of midnight, when its green, white and blue flag was unfurled, ending more than 150 years of British colonial rule.