Collection of Material on Disturbances in Kono, Sierra Leone, 1957

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of a Sierra Leone Colonial Government file on the disturbances in Kono 1957 and contains a map, cuttings and typescript material.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sierra Leone in West Africa became an independent nation on 27 April 1961. The country has substantial mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources, with minerals as diverse as diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, and chromite. Diamonds, discovered in the eastern Kono District in 1930, had become the largest export earner for the country by 1938.

The diamond Kono deposits are alluvial and so heavy equipment isn't necessary, and indeed manual digging can extract the material. Although mining authorities had been able to control the mines, a diamond rush in the 1950s brought an influx of illegal diggers into the area. Between 1953 and 1957 the number of illegals had grown from 5,000 to as many as 70,000. In spite of the presence of a paramilitary force with helicopter support, crime and violence became a characteristic of the Kono district. Diamonds were smuggled to Liberia where higher profits were to be made.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Material acquired January 1989, Accession no. E89.10.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using various encyclopaedias and freely available information.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show other references to material related to Sierra Leone (check the Indexes for more details): photographs and brochures commemorating Sierra Leone's independence in 1961; slavery in Sierra Leone mentioned in a letter of T. Perronet Thompson to R. Watson, 1824, at Dc.4.101-103; and Sierra Leone mentioned in a letter of R. Hay to Sir C. Stuart, Baron de Rothesay, 1829, at Dk.6.25/77. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes this Sierra Leone related material: mission papers, 1803-1914, Birmingham University Information Services, Special Collections Department, Ref. CMS/A1 NRA 7630 CMS Sierra Leone.

Geographical Names