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Freetown is the capital and largest city of Sierra Leone, a country in West Africa. It is a major port city on the Atlantic Ocean located in the Western Area of the country and with a population of 1,070,200[1] The city is the economic, financial, and cultural center of Sierra Leone. Many of the country's largest corporations locate their headquarters' home offices in Freetown as well as the majority of international companies. The city's economy revolves largely around its harbor - occupying a part of the estuary of the Sierra Leone River in one the world's largest natural deep water harbours.[2] Queen Elizabeth II Quay is capable of receiving oceangoing vessels and handles Sierra Leone's main exports.

Freetown is home to one of the country's two main Universities, the Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa, founded in 1827. The university not only played a key role in Sierra Leone’s colonial history, but also a key role in English-speaking West-African nations' colonial history. Freetown is home to dozens of Sierra Leonean newspapers and the country's national television and radio stations, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Services (SLBS) is primarily based in Freetown, although it also has regional headquarters in the country's other primary cities of Bo, Kenema, Koidu Town and Makeni.

Lungi International Airport is the international airport that serves Freetown and the rest of Sierra Leone. It is located in the city of Lungi, Port Loko District, across the river from Freetown. It serves as the primary airport for domestic and international travel to or from Sierra Leone.

As in virtually all parts of Sierra Leone, the Krio language (a native language of the Creole people who only make up 5% of country's population) is by far the most widely spoken language in the city. The Krio language is spoken as a lingua franca by the entire population in the city of Freetown.

Freetown is home to significant numbers of all of the country's ethnic groups, although it is the primary home of the Sierra Leone Creole people (descendant of freed Liberated Africans, African-Americans and West Indians). Currently the Temne people form the largest ethnic group in the city at 30%, though the Krio people are stil the most dominant ethnic group in the city. Many of the Freetown local city council city are held by ethnic Creoles, including the mayor of Freetown, a position mainly held by Creoles or Europeans since the city was founded.[citation needed]

The city of Freetown was founded by Lieutenant John Clarkson and freed American slaves from Nova Scotia (now part of Canada) (also called the 'Settlers') who were transported to Sierra Leone by the Sierra Leone Company in 1792. Freetown is the oldest capital to be founded by freed American slaves, having been founded thirty years before Monrovia, Liberia. The oldest part of Freetown is Settler Town which was established by the Nova Scotians in 1792, after their namesake 'the Settlers'. The Maroons founded Maroon Town in 1800, and that is another historical area in modern Freetown. The suburbs of Freetown were founded by the Liberated Africans between 1809–1827, and presently they are the most affluent areas of the Freetown peninsula.[citation needed]

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