Sierra Leone (/sir lion(i)/, also UK: /sir -/, US: /sr -/), officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, informally Salone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It is bordered by Liberia to the southeast and Guinea to the northeast. Sierra Leone has a tropical climate with a diverse environment ranging from savanna to rainforests, a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi) and a population of 7,092,113 as of the 2015 census. The capital and largest city is Freetown. The country is divided into five administrative regions which are subdivided into sixteen districts.
Sierra Leone achieved independence from Britain on 27 April 1961.
Sixteen ethnic groups inhabit Sierra Leone, each with its own language and customs. The two largest and most influential are the Temne and Mende people. The Temne are predominantly found in the northwest and the Mende in the southeast. About two percent of the country's population are the Krio people, who are descendants of freed African American and West Indian slaves. English is the official language used in schools and government administration, however, the Krio is the most widely spoken language across Sierra Leone, and is spoken by 98% of the country's population. The Krio language unites all the ethnic groups in the country, especially in their trade and social interaction.
Sierra Leone is 77 percent Muslim, with an influential Christian minority of 22 percent. The country is regarded as one of the most religiously tolerant countries in the world. Muslims and Christians collaborate and interact with each other very peacefully, and religious violence is very rare. The major Christian and Muslim holidays are official public holidays, including Christmas, Easter, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha.
Sierra Leone has relied on mining for its economic base, especially of diamonds. It is also among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite and a major producer of gold, and it has one of the world's largest deposits of rutile. The nation is home to the third-largest natural harbour in the world. Despite this natural wealth, 53 percent of its population lived in poverty in 2011. Sierra Leone is a member of many international organisations, including the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Mano River Union, the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Development Bank, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
"High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free" is the national anthem of Sierra Leone.
It was written by Clifford Nelson Fyle and composed by John Akar. It was adopted as the national anthem in 1961 when the country became independent replacing "God Save The Queen". The Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991, makes it the responsibility of every citizen of Sierra Leone to "respect its ideals and its institutions" including the national anthem.
It consists of three verses, each ending with the phrase "Land that we love, our Sierra Leone."
"Koste Seselwa" (Join together all Seychellois) is the national anthem of Seychelles.