1700’s Sierra Leone was a British Colony to which freed slaves returned. They formed a social class which hardly integrated with the indigenous people.
1961: SL gains independence from Britain. Successive governments were dominated by a small political elite who exclusively profited from the lucrative trade in diamonds. Little of this national income trickled down to benefit the rest of the population.
In 1961, Freetown and the Protectorate combined and gained independence from the British.
Government neglect and spilling over of the Liberian conflict into its borders led to the Sierra Leone Civil War.
Over 50,000 people lost their lives, many had their limbs chopped off, hundreds of thousands were displaced, women and little girls were raped, both public and private were buildings destroyed and so on.
1991: Reacting to this system of exclusive patronage, a political outsider, Foday Sankoh, formed the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) , and started an armed insurrection to overthrow the government. The RUF was funded primarily by the trade of rough diamonds in exchange for weapons. Dissatisfied with the government, the RUF started a civil war against president Momoh.
Over the next decade, the civil war would result in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (well over one-third of the population), many of whom became refugees in neighboring countries.
2002: The civil war officially ended when the United Nations (UN) declared that the disarmament of 45,000 troops had been completed.
Today the problems of poverty, tribal rivalry, and official corruption that caused the war are far from over. According to the human development index, Sierra Leone is the world's second least developed country. Three-quarters of the population lives on less than $2 per day, half the population lacks access to clean water, and 25 percent of children do not survive to their 5th birthday.
A lasting feature of the war, which left some 50,000 dead, was the atrocities committed by the rebels , whose trademark was to hack off the hands of their victims. A United Nations supported war crimes court has been set up to try those, from both sides, who bear the greatest responsibility for the brutalities.
In relation to diamond trading, blood diamond (also called a converted diamond , conflict diamond , hot diamond or a war diamond ) refers to a diamond mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency , invading army's war efforts, or a warlord 's activity, usually in Africa . [