Freetown is the capital and largest city of Sierra Leone in Equatorial West Africa. It lies on a Peninsula on the Atlantic coast. And has the third largest natural harbour in the world. The town was settled by freed slaves and Black American Loyalists sent from England and, in 1792, Freetown became one of Britain's first colonies in West Africa. The city expanded rapidly as many freed slaves settled, as well as African soldiers who had fought for Britain in the Napoleonic Wars.
Thousands of slaves were returned to or liberated in Freetown. Most chose to remain in Sierra Leone. These returned Africans or Creoles - as they came to be called - were from all areas of Africa. Some of the earliest settlements can be found in the mountain villages of Regent, Bathurst, Leicester and Gloucester. From Regent you can walk through creole villages to Charlotte falls and also climb Sugar Loaf Mountain which is on of the highest points on the peninsula. Some fascinating Creole architecture can be found in these areas as well as in downtown Freetown.
One of Freetown's most recognisable features is its famous cotton tree. The cotton tree has reportedly been in the same position since colonists settled in the area in 1787 when the tree was still a young sapling. It now stands outside the Freetown Museum. Some of Freetown's attractions famous structures include Freetown Law Courts, the Slave Gate and Portuguese Steps, St John's Maroon Church (built around 1820), St George's Cathedral (completed in 1828), Sierra Leone Museum, Foulah Town Mosque (built in the 1830s) ,Sierra Leone Museum (featuring the Ruiter Stone and original drum of Bai Bureh), Victoria Park, creole and colonial architecture, the lively markets and fantastic beaches.
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