After readiing the chronology of Sierra Leone's history (read pages 219-226 in your ALWG book), what reasons can you propose for the cops in Ishmael's homeland? Did the arrival of the Portuguese slave traders, or later colonization by the British, contribute to sierra Leone's twentieth century woes?
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At one point in history Africa was up for grabs to the colonial powers. I think, from my first year history class, it was called "the scramble for Africa" or something to that effect. The interests of the colonial empires were purely for exploitation of Africa's people and her resources. Tribes were pitted against tribes; divide and conquer was the name of the game. When they left, Africa was largely a shell of a continent. In many places infrastructure built by the colonials were destroyed by the exiting powers. Old tribal conflicts were compounded by colonial induced tribal strife. Unlike India, many counties in Africa seemed to miss the boat of socio-political reform. So, to answer your question, yes the colonial powers did have a definite effect on the strife today. I, think, however, the problems are much more complicated than simply a history of hardship. Throw into the mix oil, diamonds and other valuable commodities (along with foreign interests) and you still have a powder keg waiting to blow.