Situated on the west coast of West Africa, the Republic of Sierra Leone is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest and west, Liberia to the southeast. With a tropical climate, the country has a diverse ecosystem with rainforests and biomes.
After the country gained its independence from the United Kingdom on April 27, 1961, the Bank of Sierra Leona was established and introduced the leone on August 4, 1964. Banknotes were issued, replacing the notes of the West African Currency Board. These notes feature the Law Court building and the 300-year-old cottonwood standing in Freetown. The back design of the notes illustrates diamond mining, a market scene of a village, and the dockside which is found in Freetown. The subsequent family of notes displayed a portrait of the head of state at the time the note was issued such as Sir Milton Margai who was the first prime minister of the country, President Siaka Stevens, and the second President of Sierra Leone Joseph Saidu Momoh.
When President Momoh was thrown out to Guinea through a military coup on April 29, 1992, a set of notes was released without the portrait of Momoh. Subsequent issues of these notes have enhanced security features such as windowed security threads, novel serial numbering, and shaded watermark. Finally, in 2010, the central bank introduced a new set of notes that bear similar designs as the preceding issues but with improved anti-counterfeiting features. The sizes of these notes progress with the note’s face value to aid the blind, children, and illiterate bearers identify between denominations.