Beyond the Book: Background information when reading A Long Way Gone

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A Long Way Gone

Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

by Ishmael Beah

A Long Way Gone
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2007, 240 pages
    Aug 2008, 240 pages

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The Republic of Sierra Leone is a small country with a population of about 5.3 million on the west coast of Africa bordered by Guinea and Liberia. The life expectancy of men is 39 years and women 42 years. The name is an adaptation of the Portuguese, "serra leoa" (lion mountains). During the 18th century it was an important center for the slave trade. In the late 18th century, British abolitionists and the Sierra Leone Company founded Freetown as a home for Black Britons* and in 1808 the country became the first British colony in Africa. By 1821 Freetown was the seat of government for all British colonies in West Africa.

Sierra Leone gained its ...

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