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Fun Facts About Sierra Leone – The Diamond of Africa
Peace and Democracy
did you know- Since 2007, SL is one of the world’s youngest democracies. The government is making huge efforts to improve the human development conditions of all Sierra Leonean people. The country has recently emerged from one of the world’s most brutal civil wars (an ethnic conflict), in which over 100,000 people were killed. During that bloody war, thousands of boys were forced to become child soldiers and slaves. In addition, a number of girls and teenagers were raped by rebel forces and other groups, one of the worst nightmares in modern history.
did you know- Sierra Leone is a beautiful nation in West Africa, whose territory is covered with tropical rainforests, mountains and savanna, as well as beaches and mangrove swamps. With an area of 27,699 square miles (71740 km2), about the size of West Virginia, the modern state of Sierra Leone is one of Africa’s smallest republics and the 118th largest country on the Planet, ahead of Ireland, Georgia and Sri Lanka. Despite its small size, it has many rivers. This tropical nation is bordered to the north and east by Guinea (a former French colony since 1958), to the south by Liberia (the only African nation not taken over by foreign rule) and to’ south by the Atlantic Ocean. . Moreover, it has the third largest natural harbor in the world.
Aphrodite of Africa
did you know- During Miss World 2009, a representative from Sierra Leone Mariatu Kargbo, who speaks Chinese, Creole and English, caused a great sensation when she won two special awards, where over 110 countries and dependencies participated. Because of this, Sierra Leone – a country that used to be torn by war and is making tremendous efforts to build a democratic society – became one of the favorites to win the Miss World title, along with Maria Milagros Veliz from Venezuela, a student at the London European Business School, and three other attempts from Latin America. During an interview, Miss Kargbo said: “I have prepared myself for the last two years when I saw Sierra Leone doing badly in the 57th Miss World Championship in Sanya (China)”. Educated in the People’s Republic of China, Miss Kargbo, whose idol is Nelson Mandela, won Miss World Talent 2009. Then, on November 28, 2009, she, assistant manager, won the Designer of the World Award when her evening gown was chosen as the “most original design” in the global competition (the nation’s first ever title in that competition). Designed by Dany Tabet, the Kargbo costume is inspired by the ethnic diversity of the country, one of the richest on the African continent. Strangely, the country has never competed in Miss Universe.
did you know- On February 14, 1972, the country made headlines when the world’s third largest gem-quality diamond — called the “Star of Sierra Leone” — was discovered in Koidu, SL. The “Star of Sierra Leone”-now its value is about $3 million– is 968.8 carats.
did you know- SL has been an independent republic for over 45 years. 1961 was a special year for Sierra Leone: it gained its independence from the United Kingdom. During the following months, on September 27, 1961, it became an official member of the United Nations. But by then, it also joined the British Commonwealth. In the following decade, between 1970 and 1971, Sierra Leone won one of the 15 seats in the United Nations Security Council, along with France, Taiwan, and the United States.
did you know- From the 1960s onwards, the English-speaking nation is a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Of the 16 champions from SL, with the support of the IOC, who had taken part in the 1996 Summer Olympics in the United States, 14 were athletes.
did you know- Due to its magnificent scenery, it is a new tourist destination in the area. Without a doubt, Sierra Leone has a host of incredible landscapes, from mangrove swamps, rivers (Moa and Sewa), islands (Sherbro) and wetlands in the south to tropical rainforests, and mountains (Bintimani and Sankanbiriwa) in the east and historical sites in the west. The country’s nature reserves are home to many wild animals, waterfowl, insects, reptiles, amphibians, snails, arachnids, and crustaceans. On the other hand, it also has one of the largest areas of pristine beaches (a holiday paradise, perhaps). It certainly offers some of the best tropical beaches in West Africa – there are more than 300 kilometers of beaches surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Meanwhile, the island of Sherbro is home to one of the most popular fishing sites on the continent. On April 16, 1991, Yvon Sebag caught a carp of about 283 pounds. In addition, SL has a variety of African traditions. When you think of tropical rainforests, African music, and stunning beaches, think of Sierra Leone. Indeed, here you will find a new country to discover!
did you know- This land is very rich in natural resources (such as minerals, fresh water, and rainforests). Despite being one of the continent’s smallest republics, it is one of Africa’s major diamond producers (accounting for nearly 55% of total exports). As well as diamonds, it has extensive deposits of titanium and bauxite.
did you know- This English-speaking republic — “the little gem in West Africa” – is a fusion of different cultures, religions and races. It is home to up to sixteen ethnic groups.
World famous athletes
did you know- Sierra Leone is the birthplace of Eunice Barber, one of the world’s best female athletes in the late 1990s, along with Stacy Dragila (USA), Tegla Loroupe (Kenya), and Denise Lewis (Great Britain). Until 1998, he competed for SL, and became the country’s most successful athlete (male or female). By the early 1990s, he took part in the 25th Summer Olympics in Spain, where he did not even reach the semi-finals in the heptathlon and 100m hurdles. By 1993, she failed to reach the semi-finals of the women’s heptathlon at the IAAF World Championships in Stuggart (Germany). In the following years, Barber was among the top five heptathletes in the world. By 1995, he was fourth at the IAAF World Cup in Sweden. At the XXVI Summer Games in Atlanta, USA, Miss Barber, an athlete trained in France, finished fifth in the heptathlon (with 6.342 points). Like many African champions, he became a French citizen in early 1999. Competing under the French flag, he won two world titles: heptathlon (1999) and long jump (2003). Apart from these awards, Miss Barber won three other medals (2 silver and 1 bronze) at the World Championships in the early 2000s.
did you know- Freetown, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, is the country’s capital and largest city. This metropolis – a capital that is a port – has many historic buildings. Furthermore, there are over 1.1 million people here. It was established in 1787.
did you know- From the 1960s onwards, SL has a handful of notable people: Salif Easmon (author), James Jonah (diplomat), Eunice Barber (athlete), and Abiogen Nicol (novelist).
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