WIP Research: The Cotton Tree in Freetown

Posted on September 13, 2015

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When Sarah Forbes Bonetta Davis arrived in Freetown in 1862, one of the first sites she visited may have been the famous Cotton Tree. This tree, which still stands in the center of town, is believed to be the one under which the town’s founders rested and prayed after landing in Freetown in 1787.The founders of Freetown were Jamaican Maroons in Nova Scotia who had accepted an offer from the Sierra Leone Company to resettle in the British colony. Many of the founders were former slaves of the American colonies who had been freed by the British during the American Revolution and had been forced to relocate to Nova Scotia after the British defeat.

The tree is associated with myths and mysticism in Sierra Leone and is often the subject of artwork. It is home to bats and vultures. Sarah arrived In the dry season, when the tree sheds its leaves. The picture you see was taken during the rainy season when the tree is quite lush.

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