Provinces of Sierra Leone

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Added 2015 census results as seen in Source [2]. Provided by Sorin Cosoveanu.

Mario Pezza sent me some census data for Sierra Leone, along with the addresses of his sources. The one I found most reliable and helpful was Statistics Sierra Leone . I updated the population column in the main table, and added a Population history section.

Country overview: 

ISO codeSL
LanguageEnglish (en)
Time zone+0


In 1900, Sierra Leone consisted of a British colony occupying two coastal areas, and a British protectorate in the hinterland. Britain granted independence on 1961-04-27.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Sierra Leone
  2. Dutch: Sierra Leone, Republiek Sierra Leone (formal)
  3. English: Republic of Sierra Leone (formal)
  4. Finnish: Sierra Leone
  5. French: Sierra Leone f
  6. German: Sierra Leone n
  7. Icelandic: Síerra Leóne
  8. Italian: Sierra Leone f
  9. Norwegian: Sierra Leone, Republikken Sierra Leone (formal)
  10. Portuguese: Serra Leoa, República f da Serra Leoa f (formal)
  11. Russian: Республика Сьерра-Леоне (formal)
  12. Spanish: Sierra Leona, República f de Sierra Leona (formal)
  13. Swedish: Sierra Leone
  14. Turkish: Sierra Leone Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

Hispanicized from Portuguese Serra Leão: lion mountain

Primary subdivisions: 

Sierra Leone is divided into three provinces and one "area".

4 divisions7,092,1134,976,87171,74027,699

Further subdivisions:

See the Districts of Sierra Leone page.

The provinces are subdivided into districts. The districts are further subdivided into chiefdoms.

Territorial extent: 

  1. Southern includes Sherbro Island and the Turtle Islands.
  2. Western includes the Sierra Leone peninsula, Tasso Island in the Rokel River estuary, and the Banana Islands.

The UN LOCODE page  for Sierra Leone lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Change history: 

  1. 1900: Sierra Leone colony consisted of Sherbro Island and adjacent islets, and a disjoint area on the Sierra Leone peninsula around Freetown. Sierra Leone protectorate was divided into the districts of Bandajuma (capital Bandajuma), Karene (Karene), Koinadugu (Falaba), Panguma (Panguma), and Ronietta (Kwelu).
  2. ~1901: Capital of Karene moved to Batkanu; capital of Koinadugu moved to Kabala; capital of Ronietta moved to Moyamba.
  3. 1904: Îles de Los transferred from Sierra Leone to French Guinea by cession.
  4. 1907: Districts reorganized. Bandajuma and Panguma districts were replaced by Central, North Sherbro, and Railway. Other borders realigned.
  5. 1909: Central district split between Railway and Ronietta. Headquarters district formed from coastal sections of Karene and Ronietta.
  6. 1912: The Karene section of Headquarters was restored to Karene.
  7. 1920: Sierra Leone reorganized into three provinces: Northern (capital Makump), Central (Kenema), and Southern (Pujehun). The Freetown section of the colony remained separate, but the Sherbro Island part merged with Southern.
  8. 1931: Central province merged with Southern; capital of Northern moved from Makump to Makeni; capital of Southern moved to Bo.
  9. 1932: Freetown became capital of Northern province.
  10. 1939: Capital of Northern returned to Makeni.
  11. 1945: Eastern province (capital Kenema) split from Southern.
  12. 1961-04-27: Sierra Leone became independent. Colony of Sierra Leone became Western area.

Population history:



  1. [1] 2004 Census of Population and Housing  (retrieved 2017-02-28)
  2. [2] 2015 Census of Population and Housing  (retrieved 2017-02-28)
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