Green, White, and Blue Flag: Sierra Leone Flag History, Meaning, and Symbolism

Written by Heather Hall
Published: December 6, 2022
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Sierra Leone, officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It covers a total area of 27,699 square miles and has a population of 8.6 million people. The capital of Sierra Leone is Freetown. It is also the largest city and main port, with a population of one million. Sierra Leone divides into five different regions, and those divide into 16 districts. Citizens elect their president, who serves a five-year term with a maximum of two terms. The constitution, entered in 1991, gives freedom of religion and conscience, individual liberty, as well as separation of state.

Sierra Leone: Religion, Economy, and Culture

Islam and Christianity are the two main religions in Sierra Leone. There are 16 ethnic groups, each speaking their own language, although the official languages are English and Krio. Temne is often spoken in the north, while Mende is commonly heard in the southeast.

During a civil war in the 1990s, Sierra Leone’s economy declined. The country is now recovering slowly, and most of their revenue comes from agriculture, with rice being the most common crop. Mining minerals and diamonds is another important industry. The currency of Sierra Leone is the leone.

Sierra Leone has a rich and diverse culture. You can find beautiful art, association football, and a busy tourism industry. The people are hospitable, friendly, and easy-going. Some of the most common foods eaten are rice, cassava, peanuts, plantains, and yams. People use these foods to make delicious stews, beverages, and sweets. Two favorites are kukhri, a rice dish with a rich sauce, and puff-puff, a tasty fried dough ball.

Flag of Sierra Leone: Description

Sierra Leone's flag

Sierra Leone’s flag has a blue stripe, which represents the beautiful color of the harbor in Freetown, as well as hope and world peace.

©Creative Photo Corner/

Sierra Leone adopted its flag in 1961 and officially hoisted it at midnight on April 27th of that year. It contains three broad horizontal stripes. The top stripe is a bright green, the middle is pure white, and the bottom is light blue. These three bands are of equal size and take up the entire flag.

Flag of Sierra Leone: Symbolism

The green stripe represents the rich natural resources of Sierra Leone, especially its mountains and agricultural fields. The white stripe represents unity and justice for all. The blue stripe represents the beautiful color of the harbor in Freetown. It also stands for hope and contribution to world peace through the use of the natural harbor.

Sierra Leone: Independence Day

The country celebrates on April 27th, marking the day that Sierra Leone became independent from the British Crown. This day in 1961 brought an end to a harsh period of over 150 years of colonial control. The Duke of Kent handed out royal documents officially making Sierra Leone an independent nation. The ceremony included unfurling the new flag in front of a large crowd of cheering citizens.

Flag of Sierra Leone: History

The British came to Sierra Leone in 1787 and claimed Bunce Island to make it into a settlement site for formerly enslaved people. This settlement became a crown colony for the U.K. in 1808.


The flag of the Sierra Leone Colony and Protectorate. While under colonial rule, the country used the blue flag with the arms of the territory. At that time, the emblem was a circle depicting an elephant with its trunk raised, standing in front of a mountain range and palm tree. The letters S.L. are below the elephant. In the left upper corner of the flag is a Union Jack. Sierra Leone used this flag in conjunction with the flag below.


The flag of the Governor of Sierra Leone flew during the same time period as the flag above. This flag has a large Union Jack spread across its entirety. In the center, the arms of the territory show an elephant standing in front of a palm tree, with a mountain range in the background. Surrounding the emblem is a green wreath of laurels.


The flag of the Sierra Leone Colony and Protectorate had a British Blue ensign defaced with the arms of the crown colony. The Union Jack is depicted in the upper left-hand corner, while the emblem is to the right. The emblem shows a white circle. A shield with a small Union Jack across the top is in the middle of the circle. In the lower half of the shield, a man sits in front of the harbor, looking at a ship and an oil palm tree is to his right. Below the scene is a banner with the words Auspice + Britannia + Liber (Free under the protection of Britain). This flag was used in conjunction with the flag below.


The flag of the Governor of Sierra Leone was used simultaneously with the flag above. It shows a large flag-wide Union Jack with the territory’s coat of arms in the center. The coat of arms shows a man waiting for a ship at the harbor near a palm tree. A laurel wreath encircles the entire emblem.


The photo featured at the top of this post is © Tatohra/

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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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