Detailed information about Sierra Leone’s Development Partners
Your definitive guides to business advice in Sierra Leone
Helpful resources and advice for Sierra Leoneans
Useful info for overseas visitors and residents
Directory of our NGO’s and Civil Society Groups
Chiefdoms of Sierra Leone
The colony of Sierra Leone was established in 1788, primarily as a settlement for freed slaves from the Americas and Caribbean. The boundaries of the colony initially extended little beyond the environs of the main settlement, Freetown. While Portuguese and later British traders had interacted with locals, the nature of these relationships had been primarily economic; treaties were signed protecting property rights and trade routes, but the sovereignty of local peoples over their territory had been recognized unequivocally. This changed in 1896, when Governor Cardew of the colony unilaterally declared a Protectorate over the interior of the country, declaring that signatories of previous treaties with the government, then recognized as “native chiefs” with full political autonomy, were now subordinate to the Government in Freetown.
The colonial government proceeded to establish a system of indirect rule, assessing a house/hut tax in 1898, and often imprisoning various chiefs who refused to pay (Chalmers, 1898). Though the Cardew’s declaration of a protectorate sparked the violent Hut Tax Rebellion” lead by Bai Bureh of Bureh chiefdom and others, the government was largely successful in suppressing the opposition.
In August 2017, due to Sierra Leone’s de-amalgamation process, initiated at the time by the ruling APC party, created a new province of North western Sierra Leone, prompting two new districts, (Falaba and Karene) to be created, and configuring previous existing territories into new district formations.
41 new chiefdoms were also created as a result.Chiefdoms-of-Sierra-Leone-by-Tristan-Reed