Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is in Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean between Guinea and Liberia. The official language is English, but other primary languages are Mende, Temne, and Krio. Sierra Leone, with a population of 5,485,998, is made up of many ethnic groups: Temne (35%), Mende (31%), Limba (8%), Kono (5%), Kriole (2%--descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century), Mandingo (2%), Loko (2%), and other (15%). Its natural resources include diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, and chromite. Sierra Leone gained independence from the UK in April 1961. Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war from 1991 to 2002, and the new government's priorities include furthering development, creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.

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    Lester P. Monts

    Senior Vice Provost, Academic Affairs
    Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Ethnomusicology, School of Music, Theatre and Dance

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    Robert B. Payne

    Professor Emeritus of Zoology, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    Curator Emeritus of Birds, Museum of Zoology