Useful country information
Total area: 27,699 sq mi (71,740 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 5,743,725 (growth rate: 2.33%); birth rate: 37.4/1000; infant mortality rate: 73.29/1000; life expectancy: 57.39; density per sq mi: 205.6
Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Freetown, 941,000
Monetary unit: Leone
Languages: English (official), Mende (southern vernacular), Temne (northern vernacular), Krio (lingua franca)
Ethnicity/race: Temne 35%, Mende 31%, Limba 8%, Kono 5%, Kriole 2% (descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century; also known as Krio), Mandingo 2%, Loko 2%, other 15% (includes refugees from Liberia's recent civil war, and small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese, Pakistanis, and Indians) (2008 census)
Religions: Islam 60%, indigenous 30%, Christian 10%
Literacy rate: 43.3% (2011 est.)
Sierra Leone, on the Atlantic Ocean in West Africa, is half the size of Illinois, lies within Africa's tropical zone, with a climate that offers two seasons, the rainy season from May to December, and a dry season from December to May.
The 1991 to 2002 civil war between the government and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about one-third of the population), many of whom are now refugees in neighboring countries.
With the support of the UN peacekeeping force and contributions from the World Bank and international community, demobilization and disarmament of the RUF and Civil Defense Forces (CDF) combatants has been completed.
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