Reflections on 1961: The Year of Sierra Leone's Independence


On April 27, 1961, Milton Margai led Sierra Leone to flag independence from Great Britain and became the country's first Prime Minister. Sierra Leone retained its membership of the Commonwealth of Nations.

In the archive photo, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, are pictured with  Milton Margai at one of the nationwide events held during their visit to Sierra Leone in 1961. 

The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, visited Sierra Leone on the royal yacht Britannia from November 25 to December 1, 1961.

Absent from the ceremonies was the leader of the main opposition All People's Congress (APC), Siaka Stevens, along with Isaac Wallace-Johnson, another outspoken critic of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) government.

They were arrested and placed under house arrest in Freetown, along with sixteen others charged with disrupting the independence celebration.

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