Freetown, population 519,500 (1995), is the capital of Sierra Leone. The city is a port on the Atlantic Ocean. Freetown's economy revolves largely around its harbor, which handles Sierra Leone's main exports. Industries include fish packing, rice milling, petroleum refining, diamond cutting, and the manufacture of cigarettes,.
The area was first settled in 1787 by freed slaves sent from England by British abolitionists, who started the Sierra Leone Company. In 1792, Freetown was founded by former slaves from Nova Scotia. From 1808 to 1874 the city served as the capital of British West Africa. During World War II, Britain maintained a naval base at Freetown. Descendants of the freed slaves, called Creoles, play a leading role in the city, even though they are a minority of the population.
Freetown is the site of the University of Sierra Leone.
The city is twinned with Kingston upon Hull in England.