How did Imperialism set up endemic conflict in Sierra Leone?
Background of Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone was blessed with many profitable and advantageous resources, to name a few: rainforest, clean water, arable lands, and diamonds. (Arable: land suitable for growing crops)
The Civil War in Sierra Leone exhibited the unfavorable effects of violence in Africa even to countries with the capability of becoming successful nations.
Foundation of Sierra Leone
The Portuguese were the first to explore Sierra Leone and gave the country its name, which means "Lion Mountains"
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Capital city in Sierra Leone
Where freed slaves came to live, capacity in England wasn’t high
Slave trade abolished by British in 1807
British claimed Freetown 1808 - 50,000 newly freed slaves come in within next half-century
Christianity was brought here by incoming free methodists
Scramble for Africa:
Conflict between France and Britain for land here
British called protectorate over French Guinea and Liberia (independent)
Began on March 23, 1991 and Ended January 11, 2002
Since Sierra Leone gained independence, the politics of the country have been labeled by mismanagement, corruption, political assassination, and electoral abuse. In the time that this reputation was worn for a long time, it led to the Civil War.
Diamonds mined in Sierra Leone obtained the name “blood diamonds” due to the destruction caused in order to appropriate them.
The presence of diamonds mixed with a corrupt and and unstable government gave a perfect opportunity for creating anarchy in order to seize the mining fields for personal benefits. The sale of these blood diamonds funded the civil war.
British Colonial Rule:
The modern history of Sierra Leone goes back to 1787, when former soldiers from the British army settled on the northern end of the Sierra Leone peninsula. After the area of Freetown and its environs became a Crown Colony of Britain in 1808, Sierra Leone was used as a principal navy base for a British anti-slavery squadron operating in western African waters.
Many children have been forced to join ranks as soldiers by the Revolutionary United Front since United Nations peacekeepers were taken hostage.
With the help of drug usage, these children have been forced to carry military equipment and looted goods. In terms of Blood Diamonds, these jewels were sold to fund the weapons used by child soldiers in the Civil War.
The forced recruitment of child soldiers and their behavior against civilians is one of the most frequently featured aspects of the war.
Perpetrators of this issue are being charged with crimes against humanity, mass killings, sexual violence, and the basic use of child soldiers
Ishmael Beah: A great example of a former child soldier who came out and spoke publicly. He speaks in his book 'A Long Way Gone' of the lifestyle of a child soldier regarding attacks, and the forced use and abuse of drugs and alcohol. He was a child soldier from 1991-2002 in the civil war (age 13).
Imperialism: How did imperialism set up endemic conflict in Sierra Leone?
The lasting impact that imperialism had in Sierra Leone by means of endemic conflict can be found most prominently in the blood diamond conflict and the civil war that plagued the nation from the early 1990’s all the way into the 2000’s.
By the British holding Sierra Leone as a protectorate, it caused uncivilized events to occur without full administration to stop them initially. If the British chose to have better control over Sierra Leone and did not just rule from the outside, this issue may have not expanded to the extent it did.