Sierra Leone ( ( listen)), also known informally as Salone, officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the northeast, Liberia to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. Sierra Leone has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savanna to rainforests. The country has a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi) and a population of 7,075,641 (based on the 2015 national census). It is a constitutional republic with a directly elected president and a unicameral legislature known as Parliament. Sierra Leone is made up of five administrative regions: the Northern Province, North Western Province, Eastern Province, Southern Province and the Western Area. These regions are subdivided into sixteen districts, Each district has its own directly elected local government, though with very limited powers, as most of the powers are held by the central government in Freetown. Freetown (population 1,050,301), located in the Western Area, is Sierra Leone's capital and largest city. Kenema is Sierra Leone's second most populous city and is located in the east of the country, 160 miles from Freetown. Sierra Leone became independent from the United Kingdom on 27 April 1961, led by Sir Milton Margai, who became the country's first Prime Minister.
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