Sierra Leone - Country history and economic development



1495. Portuguese establish a fort on the site of modern Freetown, a base for traders in gold, ivory, pepper, and slaves.

1672. British Royal African Company establishes 2 trading depots, 1 on Bunce Island and 1 on York Island.

1787. The first settlers (freed slaves) arrive from Britain and establish a self-governing "Province of Freedom."

1808. Freetown becomes a British colony.

1896. The British impose a protectorate on the hinter-land of the country (the interior of the country was declared an overseas territory of the British Crown).

1926. Prospecting for minerals starts, and by 1930 employs over 16,000 workers.

1949. Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board (SLPMB) set up to exert government control over agricultural marketing and production.

1960. Development of Industries Act passes as a result of the government's construction of the Wellington Industrial Estate in the suburbs of Freetown.

1961. Sierra Leone becomes an independent nation within the British Commonwealth.

1963. Central Bank of Sierra Leone set up.

1971. Sierra Leone becomes a republic, casting off the last vestige of colonialism, with Siaka Stevens as the first executive president.

1978. Sierra Leone becomes a republican 1-party state on 14 June 1978, with the All People's Congress (APC) as the sole party.

1980s. The continent-wide African economic crisis affects Sierra Leone, adversely resulting in high inflation and chronic unemployment.

1991. The internal economic dislocation (massive unemployment and high inflation), coupled with the spillover of the Liberian civil war, plunges Sierra Leone into civil strife perpetuated by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels.

1999. The RUF and the Sierra Leone government sign the Lome Peace Accord that allows the deployment of over 12,000 UN peacekeeping troops in the country.

2000. Despite the peace accord, internal fighting continues.

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