The Name - Sierra Leone

The year 1462 found Portuguese explorer Pedro da Cintra sailing the West African coast, more specifically passing the area known today as the Freetown Peninsula. It was a time of heavy thunderstorm activity and it appears that our Pedro, ever the romantic, decided to associate the gentle mountains he observed with the lion’s roar of thunder; subsequently naming the area, in his language – Sierra Lyoa (Lion Mountains).

Inevitably, if not predictably, along the same coast came English Jack Tars during the sixteenth century who made the slight change to Sierra Leoa; and by 1787 under British rule, the name had finally become Sierra Leone.

Of course there will always be other views as to the origins of the name Sierra Leone, however our wandering, poetic Pedro’s version has that romantic ring to it, somehow so much more in keeping with the many tales of wonder that eminate from this beautiful land.

Old Ship
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Freetown Peninsula Mountains Photo by Hussein Kefel

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