My Heritage

My name is Maria Bradford, I am a proud Sierra Leonean, I was born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital.

The Freetown Peninsula is the only part of West Africa where mountains rise from the sea, creating a magical landscape.

Imagine a country of beautiful beaches and rainforests, but also with mangrove swamps, mountains savanna grasslands and rivers. That’s Sierra Leone. A country so beautiful that the locals have nicknamed it Sweet Salone.

Freetown, a city, created by free people

The city of Freetown was founded on 11 March 1792 by Lieutenant John Clarkson, ex-slaves from America and free people called the Nova Scotian Settlers.

Freetown is the oldest capital to be founded by African Americans, 30 years before Monrovia in Liberia. Freetown’s unique Creole architectural style reflects American & Carribean influences.

Freetown was heaven for free-born and freed African Americans, as well as liberated African and Caribean settlers, whose descendants are known as the Creole people.

British influence and independence

In 1808 of the British took control of Freetown, making it a Crown Colony, this lead to territorial expansion, and in turn the creation of Sierra Leone.

Freetown was the official British capital of West Africa from 1808 to 1874. The Royal Navy’s West Africa Squadron, who was charged with enforcing the ban on the slave trade was also based in Freetown.

The slaves liberated from trading shops by the squadron were brought to Freetown. As a result, Freetown’s population grew to include descendants of many different people from all over the West coast of Africa.

Sierra Leone gained its independence on 27 April 1961. The new nation was born at the stroke of midnight, when its green, white and blue flag was unfurled, ending more than 150 years of British colonial rule.