Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s known for the white-sand beaches lining the Freetown Peninsula. The capital city, Freetown, commemorates the nation’s slave-trade history with the Cotton Tree landmark and King’s Yard Gate. Both were known as places of refuge for returned slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries. Nearby Bunce Island was a key departure point during the slave trade. Sierra Leone is also known around the world for its blood diamonds (also commonly referred to as conflict or war diamonds) which were mined and sold for weapons during the country's violent civil war from 1991 to 2002.