The name Sierra Leone dates back to the year 1462 when the Portuguese discoverer, Pedro Da Cintra discovered the peninsular mountain when he sailed along the west coast of Africa. Some say he named the peninsula, ’Sierra Lyoa’ (Lion mountain), after what he thought was the roar of lions on the mountains. Other say, it was the shapes of the mountain that influenced the name. An English sailor later changed the name to ’Sierra liona’, which later became Sierra Leone.
Earlier on, African clans’ people had lived in the forests where they were said to have been protected by the mountains on one side and the ocean on the other side. They were presumably the fore fathers of the Limba people, the oldest tribe in Sierra Leone. There existed the coastal tribe of the Bullom (Sherbros), the Temne, the Mende, Loko and so on.
After Pedro Da Cintra’s discovery, foreign influence in the region, through commercial activities between the local people increased. In 1672 the British establishes the Royal African Company commercial centre on Bunce Island and York. This started the trade in humans, which later became the slave trade. Bounce Island became one of the main transit points for the transshipment of African slaves to Europe and the Americas.