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Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, General Research and Reference Division

Élisée Reclus, The Earth and Its Inhabitants, Africa, vol. III (New York: D. Appleton, 1890–1893)

View of Freetown

Freetown was founded in 1787. Besides the Black Poor from England, the North Americans from Nova Scotia, and the Maroons from Jamaica, the largest group of immigrants to Sierra Leone were the Recaptives. They were Africans from various areas of the continent—from Senegal in the North to Angola in the South—who had been rescued from slave ships after 1807, once Great Britain and the United States had abolished the international slave trade, and forcibly resettled in the colony. Regardless of origin, the immigrants were called Krio, spoke an English pidgin also called Krio, and formed a separate community.

In 1794, Adam Afzelius, a Swedish botanist for the Sierra Leone Company, described Freetown: "We have now a regular town of at least 200 houses, some of them very decent, but, as yet, the streets are somewhat obstructed by the roots of trees. The land is cleared of wood for several miles around the town, and in many places cultivated. . . . The fame of the Colony begins now to spread throughout Africa." Claude George, The Rise of British West Africa, Comprising the Early History of the Colony of Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Lagos, Gold Coast, etc. (London: Frank Cass & Co., 1904)

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