A black ex-sergeant in the British Army known as the “Black Loyalist” who fought in the American Revolutionary War named Thomas Peters with bravery, tenacity and persistence and the help of English abolitionists he played a significant part for an English donation of an African land to 1,100 plus American slaves who had fled to Canada after the British lost the war. For six long years they waited and heard nothing from the British authorities. Determined to get the land promised Peters went to visit the Parliament in England. He immediately befriended a great abolitionist Granville Sharp who was determined to help him.
Following that friendship, the then Secretary of State for foreign affairs received a petition written in Peter’s name by Granville Sharp requesting travel arrangements for these freed people to Africa for their land. The British Parliament favored the cause and agreed that up to 50 acres of land per family would be given in a place called SIERRA LEONE on the West Coast of Africa. Peters came back to Canada and joined 1196 others for the voyage to Africa. Unfortunately many died on the journey. Thomas Peters also mysteriously died shortly after arriving in Africa in 1792, but his hard work and labor gave those who survived a new home called FREETOWN which is the capital of this land called SIERRA LEONE.
The intent of this settlement was to secure a home on the continent of Africa for natives of Africa and their descendants who were slaves taken abroad. The first group about 411 of them known as the “Black Poor” mostly 280 ex-black American sailors and slaves living in England and a combination of some 70 nondescript white women, 40 black women and a few white men. The third group of arrivals was runaway slaves from Jamaica who had established an independent community in that country’s interior. Some of them revolted against the British in the Maroon War of 1795- 96 and were captured by the British and exiled to Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada. In 1800 they were sent to Sierra Leone and these people are known as the “MAROONS.” The last settlers were released human cargo who were freed following the end of the slave trade and a vice – admiralty court was established in Freetown for the trial of all slave ships captured by the British Navy. These people were known as the “Liberated Africans” and between 1808 to 1868 over 60 thousand souls were freed in Freetown.
This new land – Freetown therefore became a cultural melting pot with a society comprising of four levels of indigenous inhabitants: The Black Poor from England, The Nova Scotians from Canada, The Maroons from Jamaica and The Liberated Africans. Together these make-up THE KRIOS of Sierra Leone.
Descendants of these settlers from Sierra Leone, West Africa have dedicated the labor day weekend within the United States of America to celebrate this family reunion as a global heritage weekend (The Krio Descendant Union ~ Family Reunion) whereby various chapters throughout the USA, and their global affiliates come together in peace, unity and love to meet, celebrate and remember significant historical facts about their heritage through symposiums, celebrations, thanksgiving and exhibits and to help pioneer their roles and efforts in helping to make their country Sierra Leone gain her favorable and honorable global position.