Chiefdoms of Sierra Leone

The chiefdoms of Sierra Leone are the third-level units of administration in Sierra Leone. There are 190 chiefdoms in Sierra Leone, as of 2017. Previously, there were 149.[1]

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History and organisation

The paramount chiefs and the ruling families in the chiefdoms were recognised and empowered by the British colonial administration when it organised the Protectorate of Sierra Leone in 1896.[2] Typically, chiefs have the power to "raise taxes, control the judicial system, and allocate land, the most important resource in rural areas."[3]

The hereditary paramount chiefs and their sub-chiefs were the sole local government in Sierra Leone until 2004, when the World Bank sponsored the creation of elected local councils. Local notables, known as the Tribal Authority, elect paramount chiefs for life from among the ruling families in each chieftaincy recognised by the British administration in 1896.[3]

Some chieftaincies have several ruling families, and the differences among them in terms of economic progress has been subject to study in 2013.[3] They found there was a positive relationship between the number of ruling families in a chieftaincy and educational, health and economic outcomes in terms of human capital.[4]

The districts of Sierra Leone were divided into 149 chiefdoms of chieftaincies until 2017, as listed below as of 2011.[2] Since 2017, they have been divided into 190 chiefdoms.[1]

Eastern Province

Northern Province

Southern Province

See also


  1. "Sierra Leone unveils new geographical map". Africa Review. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  2. Tristan Reed and James A. Robinson, The Chiefdoms of Sierra Leone, Scholar, Harvard University, 15 July 2013, Document available online, accessed 30 April 2014
  3. Daron Acemoglu, Tristan Reed. and James A. Robinson. "Chiefs: Economic Development and Elite Control of Civil Society in Sierra Leone" Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine, Stanford University, 29 August 2013, accessed 30 April 2014
  4. Acemoglu et al. (2013), "Chiefs: Economic Development", p. 4
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