Sierra Leone’s historic Cotton Tree falls in storm

It stood for centuries as a towering symbol of freedom, but was destroyed this week by torrential rain.

Sierra Leone has suffered a “great loss”, the country’s leader said on Thursday, after his iconic Cotton Tree was felled in the storm.

The giant tree dominated the capital, Freetown, for around 400 years. At approximately 230 feet tall and 50 feet wide, its physical stature was surpassed only by its status as a national symbol.

Crowds gathered in the center of the capital to see the destroyed trunk for themselves.

“He was seen as a symbol of freedom by early settlers” in the West African country – which was founded by freed American slaves – according to President Julius Maada Biowho joined the crowd at the site on Thursday.

“The Cotton Tree was not just a tree” Biography tweeted“It was a link between the past, the present and the future.”

The centenary Cotton Tree in Freetown in 2011.Tommy Trenchard / Alamy Stock Photo

The great shadow of the Cotton Tree had offered returning freed black slaves a resting place and a ground for prayer when they arrived by boat in the 1700s, the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs said on its website. Internet.

While it has withstood landslides caused by climate change and lightning, a heavy downpour on Wednesday evening left nothing of the Cotton Tree behind but a stump.

It was “damaged beyond repair”, said Zebek, a news agency working with the Sierra Leone government, “its entire trunk was sheared off a few meters above the ground”.

The weight of the loss “is comparable to the 2019 fire that destroyed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris,” Zebek said.


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