Walter Theodore "Sonny" Rollins is an American jazz tenor saxophonist, recognized as one of the most important and influential jazz musicians. In a seven-decade career, he has recorded over sixty albums as a leader. A number of his compositions, including "St. Thomas", "Oleo", "Doxy", "Pent-Up House", "Airegin", have become jazz standards. Rollins has been called "the greatest living improviser" and the "Saxophone Colossus". Rollins was born in New York City to parents from the United States Virgin Islands; the youngest of three siblings, he grew up in central Harlem and on Sugar Hill, receiving his first alto saxophone at the age of seven or eight. He attended Edward W. Stitt Junior High School and graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in East Harlem. Rollins started as a pianist, changed to alto saxophone, switched to tenor in 1946. During his high school years, he played in a band with other future jazz legends Jackie McLean, Kenny Drew, Art Taylor. After graduating from high school in 1947, Rollins began performing professionally.
Within the next few months, he began to make a name for himself, recording with Johnson and appearing under the leadership of pianist Bud Powell, alongside trumpeter Fats Navarro and drummer Roy Haynes, on a seminal "hard bop" session. In early 1950, Rollins was arrested for armed robbery and spent ten months in Rikers Island jail before being released on parole. Between 1951 and 1953, he recorded with Miles Davis, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk. A breakthrough arrived in 1954 when he recorded his famous compositions "Oleo", "Airegin", "Doxy" with a quintet led by Davis that featured pianist Horace Silver. In 1955, Rollins entered the Federal Medical Center, Lexington, at the time the only assistance in the U. S. for drug addicts. While there, he volunteered for then-experimental methadone therapy and was able to break his heroin habit, after which he lived for a time in Chicago rooming with the trumpeter Booker Little. Rollins feared sobriety would impair his musicianship, but went on to greater success.
Rollins joined the Miles Davis Quintet in the summer of 1955. That year, he joined the Clifford Brown–Max Roach quintet. After the deaths of Brown and the band's pianist, Richie Powell, in a June 1956 automobile accident, Rollins continued playing with Roach and began releasing albums under his own name on Prestige Records, Blue Note and the Los Angeles label Contemporary, his acclaimed album Saxophone Colossus was recorded on June 22, 1956, at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in New Jersey, with Tommy Flanagan on piano, former Jazz Messengers bassist Doug Watkins, his favorite drummer, Roach. This was Rollins's sixth recording as a leader and it included his best-known composition "St. Thomas", a Caribbean calypso based on a tune sung to him by his mother in his childhood, as well as the fast bebop number "Strode Rode", "Moritat". A long blues solo on Saxophone Colossus, "Blue 7", was analyzed in depth by the composer and critic Gunther Schuller in a 1958 article. In the solo for "St. Thomas", Rollins uses repetition of a rhythmic pattern, variations of that pattern, covering only a few tones in a tight range, employing staccato and semi-detached notes.
This is interrupted by a sudden flourish, utilizing a much wider range before returning to the former pattern. In his book The Jazz Style of Sonny Rollins, David N. Baker explains that Rollins "very uses rhythm for its own sake, he will sometimes improvise on a rhythmic pattern instead of on the melody or changes." Since recording "St. Thomas", Rollins's use of calypso rhythms has been one of his signature contributions to jazz. In 1956 he married model Dawn Finney. In 1956 he recorded Tenor Madness, using Davis's group – pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Philly Joe Jones; the title track is the only recording of Rollins with John Coltrane, a member of Davis's group. At the end of the year Rollins appeared as a sideman on Thelonious Monk's album Brilliant Corners and recorded his own first album for Blue Note Records, entitled Sonny Rollins, Volume One, with Donald Byrd on trumpet, Wynton Kelly on piano, Gene Ramey on bass, Roach on drums. In 1957, Rollins pioneered the use of bass and drums, without piano, as accompaniment for his saxophone solos, a texture that came to be known as "strolling."
Two early tenor/bass/drums trio recordings are A Night at the Village Vanguard. Way Out West was so named because it was recorded for California-based Contemporary Records, because it included country and western songs such as "Wagon Wheels" and "I'm an Old Cowhand"; the Village Vanguard album consists of two sets, a matinee with bassist Donald Bailey and drummer Pete LaRoca and an evening set with bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Elvin Jones. Rollins used the trio format intermittently throughout his career, sometimes taking the unusual step of using his sax as a rhythm section instrument during bass and drum solos. Lew Tabackin cited Ro
Quincy Delight Jones Jr. is an American record producer, musician and film producer. His career spans six decades in the entertainment industry with a record 80 Grammy Award nominations, 28 Grammys, a Grammy Legend Award in 1992. Jones came to prominence in the 1950s as a jazz arranger and conductor, before moving on to work in pop music and film scores. In 1969, Jones and his songwriting partner Bob Russell became the first African-Americans to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, for "The Eyes of Love" from the film Banning. Jones was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score for his work on the 1967 film In Cold Blood, making him the first African-American to be nominated twice in the same year. In 1971, he became the first African-American to be the musical director and conductor of the Academy Awards ceremony. In 1995, he was the first African-American to receive the Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, he has tied with sound designer Willie D. Burton as the second most Oscar-nominated African-American, with seven nominations each.
Jones was the producer, with Michael Jackson, of Jackson's albums Off the Wall and Bad, as well as the producer and conductor of the 1985 charity song "We Are the World", which raised funds for victims of famine in Ethiopia. In 2013, Jones was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as the winner, alongside Lou Adler, of the Ahmet Ertegun Award, he was named one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century by Time magazine. Quincy Delight Jones Jr. was born on the South Side of Chicago on March 14, 1933, the son of Sarah Frances, a bank officer and apartment complex manager, Quincy Delight Jones Sr. a semi-professional baseball player and carpenter from Kentucky. Jones' paternal grandmother was an ex-slave in Louisville, Jones would discover that his paternal grandfather was Welsh. With the help of the author Alex Haley in 1972 and Mormon researchers in Salt Lake City, Jones discovered that his mother's ancestors included James Lanier, a relative of poet Sidney Lanier. Jones said, "He had a baby with my great-grandmother, my grandmother was born there.
We traced this all the way back to the Laniers, the same family as Tennessee Williams." Learning that the Lanier immigrant ancestors were French Huguenots who had court musicians among their ancestors, Jones attributed some of his musicianship to them. For the 2006 PBS television program African American Lives, Jones had his DNA tested, genealogists researched his family history again, his DNA revealed he is African but is 34% European in ancestry, on both sides of his family. Research showed that he has English, French and Welsh ancestry through his father, his mother's side is of West and Central African descent the Tikar people of Cameroon. His mother had European ancestry, such as Lanier male ancestors who fought for the Confederacy, making him eligible for Sons of Confederate Veterans. Among his ancestors is Betty Washington Lewis, a sister of president George Washington. Jones is a direct descendant of Edward I of England, whose ancestors included French, Polish and Swiss nobility. Jones' family moved to Chicago as part of the Great Migration.
Jones had a younger brother, who became an engineer for the Seattle television station KOMO-TV and died in 1998. Jones was introduced to music by his mother, who always sang religious songs, by his next-door neighbor, Lucy Jackson; when Jones was five or six, Jackson played stride piano next door, he would listen through the walls. Lucy recalled; when Jones was young, his mother suffered from a schizophrenic breakdown and was admitted to a mental institution. His father divorced his mother and married Elvera Jones, who had three children of her own named Waymond and Katherine. Elvera and Quincy Sr. had three children together: Jeanette and future U. S. District Judge Richard. In 1943, Jones and his family moved to Bremerton, where his father got a wartime job at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. After the war, the family moved to Seattle. In high school, he developed his skills as a arranger, his classmates included Charles Taylor, who played saxophone and whose mother, Evelyn Bundy, was one of Seattle's first society jazz band leaders.
Jones and Taylor began playing music together, at the age of 14 they played with a National Reserve band. Jones has said he got much more experience with music growing up in a smaller city because he otherwise would have faced too much competition. At age 14, Jones introduced himself to 16-year-old Ray Charles after watching him play at the Black Elks Club. Jones cites Charles as an early inspiration for his own music career, noting that Charles overcame a disability to achieve his musical goals, he has credited his father's sturdy work ethic with giving him the means to proceed and his loving strength with holding the family together. Jones has said his father had a rhyming motto: "Once a task is just begun, never leave until it's done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all." In 1951, Jones earned a scholarship to Seattle University, where a young Clint Eastwood—also a music major—watched him play in the college band. After one semester, Jones transferred to what is now the Berklee College of Music in Boston on another scholarship.
While studying at Berklee, he played at Izzy Ort's Bar & Grille with Bunny Campbell and Preston Sandiford, whom he cited as important musical influences. He left his studies after receiving an offer to tour as a trumpeter, p
Anthony Robert Kushner is an American playwright and screenwriter. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993 for his play Angels in America and adapted it for HBO in 2003, he co-authored the screenplay for the 2005 film Munich, he wrote the screenplay for the 2012 film Lincoln. Both films were critically acclaimed, he received Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay, he received a National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2013. Kushner was born in Manhattan, the son of Sylvia, a bassoonist, William David Kushner, a clarinetist and conductor, his family is Jewish, descended from immigrants from Russia and Poland. Shortly after his birth, Kushner's parents moved to Lake Charles, the seat of Calcasieu Parish where he spent his childhood. During high school Kushner was active in policy debate. In 1974, Kushner moved back to New York to begin his undergraduate college education at Columbia University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Medieval Studies in 1978.
He attended the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, graduating in 1984. During graduate school, he spent the summers of 1978–1981 directing both early original works and plays by Shakespeare starring the children attending the Governor's Program for Gifted Children in Lake Charles. Kushner has received several honorary degrees: in 2003 from Columbia College Chicago. Kushner's best known work is Angels in America, a seven-hour epic about the AIDS epidemic in Reagan-era New York, adapted into an HBO miniseries for which Kushner wrote the screenplay, his other plays include Hydriotaphia, Slavs!: Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness, A Bright Room Called Day, Homebody/Kabul, the book for the musical Caroline, or Change. His new translation of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children was performed at the Delacorte Theater in the summer of 2006, starring Meryl Streep and directed by George C. Wolfe. Kushner has adapted Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan, Corneille's The Illusion, S. Ansky's play The Dybbuk.
In the early 2000s, Kushner began writing for film. His co-written screenplay Munich was produced and directed by Steven Spielberg in 2005. In January 2006, a documentary feature about Kushner entitled Wrestling With Angels debuted at the Sundance Film Festival; the film was directed by Freida Lee Mock. In April 2011 it was announced that he was working with Spielberg again, writing the screenplay for an adaptation of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln; the screenplay for Lincoln would go on to receive multiple awards, in addition to nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Golden Globes and The Oscars. In a 2015 interview actress/producer Viola Davis revealed she had hired Kushner to write an as yet untitled biopic about the life of Barbara Jordan that she planned to star in. In 2016, Kushner worked on a screenplay version of August Wilson's play Fences. Kushner is famous for years-long gestations of his plays. Both Angels in America: Perestroika and Homebody/Kabul were revised after they were first published.
Kushner has admitted that the original script version of Angels in America: Perestroika is nearly double the length of the theatrical version. His newest completed work, the play The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, began as a novel more than a decade ago. Said work opened on May 15, 2009. In 2018 it was announced that Kushner was working on a script of a remake of West Side Story for Spielberg to direct. Kushner's criticism of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and of the increased religious extremism in Israeli politics and culture has created some controversy with U. S. Jews, including some opposition to his receiving an honorary doctorate at the 2006 commencement of Brandeis University; the Zionist Organization of America unsuccessfully lobbied the university to rescind its invitation to Kushner. During the controversy, quotes critical of Zionism and Israel made by Kushner were circulated. Kushner said at the time that his quotes were "grossly mischaracterized."
Kushner told the Jewish Advocate in an interview, "All that anybody seems to be reading is a couple of right-wing Web sites taking things deliberately out of context and excluding anything that would complicate the picture by making me seem like a reasonable person, which I think I am." In an interview with the Jewish Independent, Kushner commented, "I want the state of Israel to continue to exist. I've always said that. I've never said anything else. My positions misrepresented in so many ways. People claim that I'm for a one-state solution, not true." However, he stated that he hopes that "there might be a merging of the two countries because geographically kind of ridiculous looking on a map," although he acknowledged that political realities make this unlikely in the near future. Kushner has received backlash from family members due to his political views of Israel. On May 2, 2011, the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York, at their month
Jacob's Pillow Dance
Jacob's Pillow is a dance center and performance space located in Becket, Massachusetts, in the Berkshires. The organization is known for the oldest internationally acclaimed Summer dance festival in the United States; the facility includes a professional school and extensive archives as well as year-round community programs. The facility itself was listed as a National Historic Landmark District in 2003; the Jacob's Pillow mission is to support dance creation, presentation and preservation. The site of Jacob's Pillow in Becket, Massachusetts was settled in 1790 by the Carter family; because of the zigzagging road leading to the hilltop property, it became known as "Jacob's Ladder", a pillow-shaped rock on the property prompted the farm to acquire the name "Jacob's Pillow". The farm was purchased in 1931 by modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn as a dance retreat. Shawn and his wife, Ruth St. Denis, led the regarded Denishawn Company, which had popularized dance forms rooted in theater and cultural traditions outside European ballet.
They were influential in training a host of dance pioneers, including Martha Graham, Charles Weidman, Doris Humphrey, Jack Cole. Shawn's objective was to establish a dance organization for American men; the early corps of his all-male company built many of the structures on the Jacob's Pillow campus. This effort came to an end in 1940 with the advent of the Second World War. Significant debt forced Shawn to consider sale of the property. In 1940 he leased the property to dance teacher Mary Washington Ball, but her summer festival was financially unsuccessful. British ballet stars Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin learned of Shawn's financial difficulties, decided to acquire the property. With financial backing and fundraising support from millionaire Reginald Wright, $50,000 was raised to purchase the property and construct a theater building; the summer dance festival was revived, Shawn was retained as its director until his death in 1972. In 2003, the Jacob's Pillow property was declared a National Historic Landmark District by the federal government as "an exceptional cultural venue that holds value for all Americans."
It is the only dance entity in the U. S. to receive this honor. In March 2011, Jacob's Pillow was named a recipient of the 2010 National Medal of Arts, a national award of distinction; the Pillow presents international dance in many forms and traditions, 200 free events each season, including performances, tours, films and talks with artists from all over the world, culminating in 80,000 visitors annually. Pillow founder Ted Shawn was instrumental in beginning the careers of Martha Graham and Jack Cole, the Pillow has continued this mentoring role in the careers of artists such as Alvin Ailey, José Limón, Mark Morris. Companies such as Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Parsons Dance Company, Trey McIntyre Project made their debuts at the Pillow, international groups such as The Royal Danish Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theatre, Black Grace and Hofesh Shechter Company have made their U. S. debuts here. World premieres have been commissioned from choreographers such as Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor, artists such as Margot Fonteyn and Mikhail Baryshnikov have been showcased in works.
Performances at Jacob's Pillow take place on three stages. The Ted Shawn Theatre has a capacity of 620 reserved seats; the Doris Duke Studio Theatre, built in 1990 as a flexible, experimental space, has 220 seats. Talks by Pillow Scholars-in-Residence take place before every performance in these two theaters. Additionally, Post-Show Talks happen in the Ted Shawn Theatre on Thursdays and in the Doris Duke Studio Theatre on Fridays, giving audiences an opportunity to engage with artists in moderated Q&A sessions; the third stage is Inside/Out, which presents free performances of established and emerging artists from all over the world in an informal, outdoor venue set against a panoramic vista of the Berkshire hills. Wednesdays and Fridays feature emerging artists, Saturdays showcase the dancers of The School at Jacob's Pillow; each performance at Inside/Out concludes with a Q&A session with the artists. Artist featured in Inside/Out include: Pilobolus Dance Theater, Nadine Bommer Dance Company, Reggie "Regg Roc" Gray, Michelle Dorrance with Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Dušan Týnek Dance Theatre, Manuel Vignoulle, Laurie M. Taylor.
Another facet of Jacob's Pillow's ongoing educational efforts is the PillowTalk series, which covers the art of dance and artists performing each week through intimate panel discussions, film screenings, book signings. Exhibits are free and open to the general public, as are The Archives, which offer the opportunity to view videos, read books, access the Pillow's computer catalog, or view The Pillow's permanent collections of programs and photographs. Free historical walking tours are available to the public weekly during the summer; the School at Jacob's Pillow's conservatory-style curriculum includes five programs: Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary Traditions, Jazz/Musical Theater, Choreographers’ Lab. The dancers’ schedule includes six days each week with four professional-level studio classes each day, coaching sessions, weekly performances for the public, master classes with Festival artists, talks led by Scholars-in-Residence, study assignments in the Pillow's rare and extensive Archives, attendance at all Festival performances and events.
The School at Jacob's Pillow is known for its faculty. Faculty of The School at Jacob's Pillow have included Susan Jaffe, Amanda McKerrow, Chet Walker, Nikolaj Hubbe
The Peace Corps is a volunteer program run by the United States government. Its official mission is to provide social and economic development abroad through technical assistance, while promoting mutual understanding between Americans and populations served. Peace Corps Volunteers are American citizens with a college degree, who work abroad for a period of two years after three months of training. Volunteers work with governments, non-profit organizations, non-government organizations, entrepreneurs in education, information technology and the environment. After 24 months of service, volunteers can request an extension of service; the program was established by Executive Order 10924, issued by President John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961 and authorized by Congress on September 21, 1961 with passage of the Peace Corps Act; the act declares the program's purpose as follows: To promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.
Since its inception, more than 235,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps and served in 141 countries. The Peace Corps shows "the willingness of Americans to work at the grassroots level in order to help underdeveloped countries meet their needs"; the Peace Corps has affected the way people of other countries view Americans, how Americans view other countries, how Americans view their own country. Following the end of World War II, various members of the United States Congress proposed bills to establish volunteer organizations in developing countries. In December 1951 Representative John F. Kennedy suggested to a group that "young college graduates would find a full life in bringing technical advice and assistance to the underprivileged and backward Middle East... In that calling, these men would follow the constructive work done by the religious missionaries in these countries over the past 100 years." In 1952 Senator Brien McMahon proposed an "army" of young Americans to act as "missionaries of democracy".
Funded nonreligious organizations began sending volunteers overseas during the 1950s. While Kennedy is credited with the creation of the Peace Corps as president, the first initiative came from Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, Jr. who introduced the first bill to create the Peace Corps in 1957—three years before Kennedy, as a presidential candidate, would raise the idea during a campaign speech at the University of Michigan. In his autobiography The Education of a Public Man, Humphrey wrote, There were three bills of particular emotional importance to me: the Peace Corps, a disarmament agency, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; the President, asked me to introduce legislation for all three. I introduced the first Peace Corps bill in 1957, it did not meet with much enthusiasm. Some traditional diplomats quaked at the thought of thousands of young Americans scattered across their world. Many senators, including liberal ones, thought it an unworkable idea. Now, with a young president urging its passage, it became possible and we pushed it through the Senate.
It is fashionable now to suggest that Peace Corps Volunteers gained as much or more, from their experience as the countries they worked. That may be true, they made them better. Only in 1959, did the idea receive serious attention in Washington when Congressman Henry S. Reuss of Wisconsin proposed a "Point Four Youth Corps". In 1960, he and Senator Richard L. Neuberger of Oregon introduced identical measures calling for a nongovernmental study of the idea's "advisability and practicability". Both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee endorsed the study, the latter writing the Reuss proposal into the pending Mutual Security legislation. In this form it became law in June 1960. In August the Mutual Security Appropriations Act was enacted, making available US$10,000 for the study, in November ICA contracted with Maurice Albertson, Andrew E. Rice, Pauline E. Birky of Colorado State University Research Foundation for the study. John F. Kennedy was the first to announce the idea for such an organization during the 1960 presidential campaign, on October 14, 1960, at a late-night speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on the steps of the Michigan Union.
He dubbed the proposed organization the "Peace Corps." A brass marker commemorates the place. In the weeks after the 1960 election, the study group at Colorado State University released their feasibility a few days before Kennedy's Presidential Inauguration in January 1961. Critics opposed the program. Kennedy's opponent, Richard M. Nixon, predicted it would become a "cult of escapism" and "a haven for draft dodgers."Others doubted whether recent graduates had the necessary skills and maturity for such a task. The idea was popular among students and Kennedy pursued it, asking respected academics such as Max Millikan and Chester Bowles to help him outline the organization and its goals. During his inaugural address, Kennedy again promised to create the program: "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country". President Kennedy in a speech at the White House on June 22, 1962, "Remarks to Student Volunteers Participating in Operation Crossroads Africa", acknowledged that Operation Crossroads for Africa was the basis for the development of the Peace Corps.
"This group and this effort were the progenitors of
Sierra Leone the Republic of Sierra Leone, informally Salone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savanna to rainforests; the country has a population of 7,075,641 as of the 2015 census. Sierra Leone is a constitutional republic with a directly elected president and a unicameral legislature; the country's capital and largest city is Freetown. Sierra Leone is made up of five administrative regions: the Northern Province, North West Province, Eastern Province, Southern Province and the Western Area; these regions are subdivided into sixteen districts. Sierra Leone was a British Crown Colony from 1808 to 1961. Sierra Leone became independent from the United Kingdom on 27 April 1961, led by Sir Milton Margai, who became the country's first prime minister. In May 1962, Sierra Leone held its first general elections as an independent nation. On 19 April 1971, Siaka Stevens' government abolished Sierra Leone's parliamentary government system and declared Sierra Leone a presidential republic.
From 1978 to 1985, Sierra Leone was a one-party state in which Stevens' APC was the only legal political party in the country. The current constitution of Sierra Leone, which includes multiparty democracy, was adopted in 1991 by the government of President Joseph Saidu Momoh, Stevens' hand-picked successor. On 23 March 1991, a rebel group known as the Revolutionary United Front led by a former Sierra Leone army officer Foday Sankoh launched an eleven-year brutal civil war in the country, in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Sierra Leone government. In April 1992, a group of junior army officers in their twenties overthrew president Momoh from power, their leader a 25 year old captain Valentine Strasser became the world's youngest Head of State. In January 1996 Brigadier General Julius Maada Bio returned the country to multi-party democracy and the 1991 constitution was reestablished. Bio handed power to Ahmad Tejan Kabbah after his victory in the 1996 Sierra Leone presidential election.
In 1997, the military overthrew President Kabbah. However, in February 1998, a coalition of West African Ecowas armed forces led by Nigeria removed the military junta from power by force and President Kabbah was reinstated as president. Sierra Leone has had an uninterrupted democracy from 1998 to present. In January 2002, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah fulfilled his campaign promise by ending the civil war as the rebels were defeated by military force with the help and support of Ecowas, the British government, the African Union, the United Nations. 16 ethnic groups inhabit each with its own language and customs. The two largest and most influential are the Mende; the Temne are predominantly found in the northwest of the country, the Mende are predominant in the southeast. Comprising a small minority, about 2%, are the Krio people, who are descendants of freed African-American and West Indian slaves. Although English is the official language, used in schools and government administration, Krio, an English-based creole, is the most spoken language across Sierra Leone and is spoken by 98% of the country's population.
The Krio language unites all the different ethnic groups in the country in their trade and social interaction. Sierra Leone is a Muslim-majority country at about 78%, though there is an influential Christian minority at 21%. Sierra Leone is regarded as one of the most religiously tolerant states in the world. Muslims and Christians collaborate and interact with each other peacefully, religious violence is rare; the major Christian and Muslim holidays are public holidays in the country, including Christmas, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha Sierra Leone has relied on mining diamonds, for its economic base. It is among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, is a major producer of gold, has one of the world's largest deposits of rutile. Sierra Leone is home to the third-largest natural harbour in the world. Despite this natural wealth, 53% of its population lived in poverty in 2011. Sierra Leone is a member of many international organisations, including the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the Mano River Union, the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Development Bank and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Archaeological finds show that Sierra Leone has been inhabited continuously for at least 2,500 years, populated successively by societies who migrated from other parts of Africa. The people adopted the use of iron by the 9th century and by 1000 AD agriculture was being practised along the coast; the climate changed and boundaries among different ecological zones changed as well, affecting migration and conquest. Sierra Leone's dense tropical rainforest and swampy environment was considered impenetrable; this environmental factor protected its people from conquests by the Mande and other African empires. This reduced the Islamic influence of the Mali Empire but Islam, introduced by Susu traders and migrants from the north and east, became adopted in the 18th century. European contacts within Sierra Leone were among the first in West Africa in the 15th century. In 1462, Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra mapped the hills surrounding what is now Freetown Harbour, naming the shaped formation Serra da Leoa or "Serra Leoa".
The Spanish rendering of this geographic formation is Sierra Leona, adapted and, became the country's current name. Although according to the p