Districts of Sierra Leone

Fabien Antoine sent me news of a change to the capital of Western Rural district.

The secondary administrative divisions of Sierra Leone are districts. The tertiary divisions are chiefdoms. Here is a map  showing the chiefdoms, and here is a whole pack  of maps.

DistrictHASCPlatesPop-2004Pop-1985Pop-1974Pop-1963Area(km.²)Capital
BoSL.SO.BOSB472,919268,671217,711209,7545,219Bo
BombaliSL.NO.BMNB406,012317,729233,626198,7767,985Makeni
BontheSL.SO.BNSN130,29797,97580,60673,2453,468Bonthe
KailahunSL.EA.KLEL358,259233,839180,365150,2363,859Kailahun
KambiaSL.NO.KMNK276,989186,231155,341137,8063,108Kambia
KenemaSL.EA.KEEK487,755337,055266,636227,4286,053Kenema
KoinaduguSL.NO.KDND234,330183,286158,626129,06112,121Kabala
KonoSL.EA.KNEM341,518389,657328,930167,9155,641Koidu-Sefadu
MoyambaSL.SO.MOSM259,617250,514188,745167,4256,892Moyamba
Port LokoSL.NO.PLNP455,025329,344292,244247,4635,719Port Loko
PujehunSL.SO.PUSP234,234117,185102,74184,8694,105Pujehun
Sherbro UrbanSL.SO.SH 9,5357,0326,9556,89410Bonthe
TonkoliliSL.NO.TONT345,884243,051206,321184,4607,003Magburaka
Western RuralSL.WE.WRWR164,02484,46740,06567,106544Waterloo
Western UrbanSL.WE.WUWU786,900469,776276,247127,91713Freetown
  • District: Except Western, which is an "area" at both the provincial
    and district level.
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes. The middle two
    letters identify the province. For key, see "Administrative Subdivisions
    of Countries".
  • Plates: First two letters on license plates issued in the district.
    Western has WR for rural and WU for urban, i.e. Freetown.
  • Pop-2004: 2004-12 census (provisional results)
  • Population and Area: From "Sierra Leone Government Annual
    Statistical Digest, 1995 Edition". Populations are 1985 census. These
    are obviously rounded numbers, and the province totals given in
    "Administrative Subdivisions of Countries" are probably more accurate.

Change history:

  1. The districts were the primary divisions of Sierra Leone from 1896 to 1920, and their history during that period is given on the Provinces of Sierra Leone page.
  2. 1920: Sierra Leone reorganized into three provinces and one colony. The provinces were Central, divided into Kenema, Kono, Moyamba, and Pendembu districts; Northern, consisting of Bombali, Karene, Koinadugu, and Port Loko districts; and Southern, comprising Pujehun, Sembehun, Shebar, and Sumbuya districts. The colony was approximately equivalent to the present-day Western area.
  3. 1922: Mano River district split from Pujehun.
  4. 1925: Ronietta district formed from parts of Bombali and Port Loko.
  5. ~1925: Name of Sembehun district changed to Gbangbama (?).
  6. 1928: Ronietta district divided between Bombali and Port Loko, restoring the pre-1925 situation there. Panguma district formed from parts of Kenema, Kono, and Pendembu. Kambia district formed from parts of Karene and Port Loko.
  7. 1931: Central province merged with Southern. Name of Pendembu district changed to Kailahun. Panguma district split between Kailahun and Kenema. Mano River district, and part of Sumbuya, merged with Pujehun. Bonthe district formed from Shebar and parts of Sumbuya and Gbangbama. Bo district formed from parts of Kenema, Moyamba, and the last remaining fragment of Sumbuya. The remaining parts of Gbangbama and Moyamba districts merged, taking the name Moyamba.
  8. 1936: Tonkolili district formed from parts of Bombali and Koinadugu.
  9. 1949: Karene district merged with northern part of Bombali; southern part of Bombali merged with Tonkolili.
  10. Source for all of this information is "Sierra Leone in Maps", by J. I. Clarke, University of London Press, 1969. The districts seem to have remained unchanged since 1949.
  11. 2009-10: Capital of Western Rural district moved from Freetown to Waterloo.
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