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A Long Way Gone: Historical Context
Transcript of A Long Way Gone: Historical Context
A Long Way Gone
By Ishmael Beah The setting of the novel
A long way gone is in
Sierra Leone, a West African Country. The tribe that Ishmael is a member of, the Mende, migrated and settled in the region in the 1400s. Portugese explorers
land in 1462, and name the land after it's "Lion like" mountains. In 1652, the first slaves in North America are brought from Sierra Leone. 400 freed slaves return to Sierra Leone with the help of British abolitionists, to settle in their own "province of freedom". Other freed slaves come to Sierra Leone, and "the province of freedom" becomes Freetown in 1791. In 1792, Freetown becomes one of Britain's first West African colonies. In April 27, 1961, Sierra Leone becomes independent from Britain, with it's first prime minister, Sir Milton Margai. Several military coups occur in 1967, after the first prime minister dies and his half brother is appointed in his former role. In 1967 there is another failed coup, and the government adopts a republican constitution. The Sierra Leone constitution is modified, and the country becomes a sinlge party government in 1978. The sole party is the APC. In 1985 the former president, Siaka Stevens retires, and appoints Major General Joseph Saidu Momoh as president. He abuses his presidential power. In March of 1991, the RUF forms, a rebel group led by a former corporal named Foday Sankoh.(RUF stands for Revolutionary United Front) The RUF's goal is to rid the country of the corrupt APC government, and they do this by causing violence and conquering the country. A successful military coup occurs in April of 1992, putting the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) in charge. They are unable to stop the RUF fighters. In 1995, the RUF controlled most of the country.
In response, the NPRC hired several hundred
mercenaries to drive them back. In 1996, the military government is replaced by a civilian government, headed by the SLPP. The SLPP is overthrown by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), and this group invites the RUF to participate in the government. The AFRC is put out of control by the Nigerian-led ECOWAS Monitoring group, and the former president is reinstated in March of 1998. In January, 1999, the RUF tries to take over once again, but fails. The Lome peace accord is signed between the president and the leader of the RUF in July of 1999. The RUF breaks the treaty and casuses more violence, causing the British operation Palliser to try to fix the country. In 2001 a second peace treaty is signed, and then in January 2002, the president declares the civil war officially over.