Each 27 April is Independence Day in Sierra Leone to remember the day in 1961 that Sierra Leone gained its freedom from British rule.
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While native Africans had long inhabited what is now Sierra Leone, the first European visitors on record were the Portuguese in the late 1400’s. But it was the British in the 1600’s and 1700’s who gained dominance of the region.
In 1787, the British founded Granville Town; and in 1882, they founded Freetown. The colonisation of Sierra Leone got into full swing from then on. The colony was founded as a place for freed slaves to settle and a base in Africa to be used to suppress the African slave trade.
Despite the noble ambitions of the colony’s founders, there was much injustice in the colony, and an independence movement arose during the 1950’s. Internal self-rule was allowed in 1953, and full independence was granted on 27 April, 1961.
On Independence Day, there are many patriotic speeches, parades, music concerts, feasts, and cultural events. There is also an annual Independence Ball that attracts a lot of attention.