More than six centuries ago, tribes from the African interior decided to settle in the virgin forest, where they would be proteted by the mountains on one side and the sea on the other. They were probally the ancestors of the Limbas, the oldest ethnic group in Sierra Leone.
In 1495, on the site of what is now Freetown, the Portuguese built a fort which served as a trading post for gold, spices, ivory and slaves. In the seventheeth century the British began to take a closer interest in Sierra Leone, and paid the tribal chiefs for the privilege of warehousing merchandise there. The Royal African Company, founded in 1672, established two trading posts, one on the island of Bunce and the other on the island of York.
In 1772 slavery was abolished in England, and a naval base was established at Freetown to intercept slave ships. 40,000 slaves were thereby saved and returned to Freetown. A year later, the former Grandville became a Crown Colony; from the on, the colonial government developed trade with interior of the country and appointed provincial governors. In the late 18th century, British philanthropists decided that a homeland in Africa and after much discussion amongst themselves (but not with theindignous people of the West Africa) they chase a recently acquired territory which became known as Sierra Leone.