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Freetown

Administration
Full nameFreetown, Sierra Leone
Official nameFreetown, Sierra Leone
CountrySierra Leone
RegionWestern Area
DistrictWestern Area Urban District
FoundedMarch 11th, 1792
Government
TypeCity council
MayorHerbert George-Williams (APC)
Geography
Total Area137.8 sq mi (357 km2)
Elevation84 ft (25.6 m)
Demography
Total Population772873 (2004)
Other information
Time zoneGreenwich Mean Time (UTC)

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Freetown is the capital and largest city of Sierra Leone, a country in West Africa. It is a major port city on the Atlantic Ocean located in the Western Area of the country, and had a city proper population of 772,873 at the 2004 census. The city is the economic, financial, and cultural center of Sierra Leone. The city's economy revolves largely around its harbor - occupying a part of the estuary of the Sierra Leone River in one the world's largest natural deep water harbours. Queen Elizabeth II Quay is capable of receiving oceangoing vessels and handles Sierra Leone's main exports.

Freetown is home to one of the country's two main universities. Fourah Bay College is the oldest western style university in West Africa, founded in 1827. The university not only played a key role in Sierra Leone’s colonial history, but also a key role in the history of the English-speaking West-African nations. Freetown is home to dozens of national newspapers and the country's national television and radio stations, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Services (SLBS), is based in Freetown, although it also has regional headquarters in the cities of Bo, Kenema and Makeni.

The population of Freetown is ethnically and culturally diverse. The city is home to significant numbers of all of the country's ethnic groups, although it is the primary home of the Sierra Leone Creole people, known as Krios (descendant of freed Liberated Africans, African-Americans and West Indians). The city is politically dominated by the Krio. Many of the Freetown local city council city are held by ethnic Krios, including the mayor of Freetown, a position mainly held by Krios or Europeans since the city was founded. As in virtually all parts of Sierra Leone, the Krio language (a native language of the Krio people who only make up 5% of country's population) is by far the most widely spoken language in the city. The population of Freetown is almost equally divided between Muslims and Christians.

The city of Freetown was founded by Lieutenant John Clarkson and freed American slaves, called the Nova Scotian Settlers, who were transported to Sierra Leone by the Sierra Leone Company in 1792. Freetown is the oldest capital to be founded by freed American slaves, having been founded thirty years before Monrovia, Liberia. The oldest part of Freetown is Settler Town which was established by the Nova Scotians in 1792, after their namesake 'The Settlers'. The Maroons founded Maroon Town in 1800, thereby establishing another historical area in Freetown. The suburbs of Freetown were founded by the Liberated Africans between 1809 1827, and presently they are the most affluent areas of the Freetown peninsula.

Lungi International Airport serves Freetown and the rest of Sierra Leone. It is located in the city of Lungi, Port Loko District, across the river from Freetown. Lungi International Airport serves as the primary airport for domestic and international travel to and from Sierra Leone.


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