The tree was a symbol of freedom and had been a national landmark for centuries.

25 May 2023

Torrential rains in Sierra Leone’s capital have felled the centuries-old Cotton Tree, a national treasure whose loss has left “a gap” in people’s hearts, President Julius Maada Bio says. 

“There is no stronger symbol of our national story than the Cotton Tree, a physical embodiment of where we come from as a country,” Bio told reporters from The Associated Press news agency on Thursday. “Nothing in nature lasts forever, so our challenge is to rekindle, nurture and develop that powerful African spirit it for so long represented.”