Sierra Leone: Indigenous People
by Andrew Porter

Indigenous People of Sierra


Sierra Leone is said to be inhabited more than 1,200 years ago, and the settlers in the region were already making crops on the north coast. These people were called the Bulom people. (Sierra Leone 1) The largest ethnic groups in Sierra Leone are the Temne and Mende. The Temne people established small chiefdoms in the thirteenth century. In the sixteenth century the Mende people had arrived and established the Mende States. The Muslim Fulani from Guinea had migrated into sierra Leone in the early 1600’s  and converted many of the Temne people to Islam. (Sierra Leone 1)

The people of Sierra Leone were affected by the slave trade in the beginning. By being captured and then sold into slavery. During the slave trade hundreds and thousands of Mende were captured and put into slavery. This was proven by a test by swabbing blood from a Mende person and a lady in the U.S. this match showed a very close match between the two. In later years the British attempted to colonize Sierra Leone. The English tried to make the country a colony area of freedom. This was not just for the people trying to escape European rule but it also created a new beginning for native peoples by letting them become freed people. This was a very important time because this form of freedom was very early than the other countries around the world. This was then proven to be unsuccessful, because of a widespread disease and tribal conflicts. One of the tribal conflicts was the Temne Rebellion. This was started because of the taxes the English put on Huts. The huts were being taxed 10 shillings a year for huts with more than four rooms, and 5 shillings for huts with less that 3 rooms. The first man who started the rebellion was tribal leader Bai Bureh. He was considered the hero of the rebellion because of his military strategies. He had used guerilla war tactics, and bought soldiers from other Temne provinces. The British then seeked out for his capture, by offering 100 pounds. Bai Bureh in return set a reward of 500 pounds for the governors capture. There was even a time where the Temne warriors had completely cut off communication between the British. Within several years, hundreds and thousands of free slaves came into the country and then the country was renamed “Freetown”. (Sierra Leone 1) Sierra Leone’s culture shows the diversity of the native people and people who migrated into the country to seek refuge.

The very first European explorers to discover Sierra Leone were the Portuguese. The Portuguese then named the country Sierra Leone because of the shape of its mountains. In the early 16th century, European traders constantly visited the Freetown Peninsula to trade cloth and metal goods. In return the Europeans got: ivory, timber, and slaves. The British than dominated the region in the 1800’s.
















"Sierra Leone: People." World Geography. 2009. ABC-CLIO. 5 May 2009 http://www.worldgeography.abc-clio.com


This website helped me learn a little about the people in the region

"Sierra Leone: History." World Geography. 2009. ABC-CLIO. 5 May 2009 http://www.worldgeography.abc-clio.com

This gave me all I needed to learn in my paper