The history of Sierra Leone is a story that started off with surging hopes and ideals for freedom and human dignity. These early hopes plunged to depths of despair upon the discovery of diamonds in Sierra Leone in the 20th century.

history of Sierra Leone
Granville Sharp, a British abolitionist, was considered one of the founding fathers of Sierra Leone.

This podcast episode on the history of Sierra Leone begins with the country’s position as a channel in the transatlantic slave trade. From there Sierra Leone became the vision for abolitionists of a new type of colony for freed slaves. In the 1930s Sierra Leone’s massive diamond wealth was discovered. That discovery gave way to new levels of European encroachments in the history of Sierra Leone. Even as the country’s diamond wealth placed it front in center in the eyes of global businesses a growing smugglers’ black market developed in the background.

Learn about our other episodes in the History of Africa podcast series here

history of Sierra Leone

After independence new leaders in the history of Sierra Leone manipulated the diamond wealth to secure their power and interests. Rising corruption corroded the state and by 1991 the country plunged into one of the darkest civil wars and state collapses of modern history.

This is the history of Sierra Leone that tells where we are today and how we got here.

This bonus episode in our History of Africa podcast series is available exclusively to our Patreon Insiders by clicking here. Consider becoming a Patreon Insider today for as little as $1 a month!

If you want to take some deeper dives on some of the stories and issues touched on in this podcast on the history of Sierra Leone, check out these links and items below.

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JB Shreve is the author of "How the World Ends: Understanding the Growing Chaos." He has been the host of the End of History podcast since 2012. He has degrees in International Relations and Middle East Studies. His other books include the Intelligence Brief Series. Regular posts and updates from JB Shreve are available at