Reed, Tristan, and James A Robinson. In Preparation. “The Chiefdoms of Sierra Leone”.

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The Chiefdoms of Sierra Leone

In this manuscript, a companion to Acemoglu, Reed and Robinson (2014), we provide a detailed history of Paramount Chieftaincies of Sierra Leone. British colonialism transformed society in the country in 1896 by empowering a set of Paramount Chiefs as the sole authority of local government in the newly created Sierra Leone Protectorate. Only individuals from the designated “ruling families” of a chieftaincy are eligible to become Paramount Chiefs. In 2011, we conducted a survey in of “encyclopedias” (the name given in Sierra Leone to elders who preserve the oral history of the chieftaincy) and the elders in all of the ruling families of all 149 chieftaincies. Contemporary chiefs are current up to May 2011. We used the survey to re-construct the history of the chieftaincy, and each family for as far back as our informants could recall. We then used archives of the Sierra Leone National Archive at Fourah Bay College, as well as Provincial Secretary archives in Kenema, the National Archives in London and available secondary sources to cross-check the results of our survey whenever possible. We are the first to our knowledge to have constructed a comprehensive history of the chieftaincy in Sierra Leone.