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The history of the country’s name can be traced to 1462 when a Portuguese ship captain, Pedro da Sintra, sailed and saw the long range of mountains of what is now the Freetown peninsula, which he called Sierra Lyoa, meaning “Lion Mountains”.
Numerous centuries later, the British came and set up a “crown colony” in Freetown and established indirect rule through traditional rulers in the hinterland called the “protectorate” until 1961 when the country gained independence. The gained independence in 1961 and became a republic in 1971 with numerous peaceful transitional elections.

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