Old Fourah Bay College – Freetown, Sierra Leone - Atlas Obscura

Old Fourah Bay College

The first European-style university in western Sub-Saharan Africa.  

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Created in 1827, this was the first European-style university in western Sub-Saharan Africa, and the first high-level institution since one located in Timbuktu collapsed.

According to UNESCO, “The Old Fourah Bay College is perhaps the single most influential institution in Africa in accounting for the penetration and acceleration of the spread of Western education on the continent.”

The building was used until the late-20th-century. It also once housed the Sierra Leone Government Railway headquarters, and later the Magistrate court. During the Sierra Leone Civil War, the building was used as a  shelter and was burned in 1999. Only the external brick walls and iron entryway have survived.

The World Monuments Fund lists this building as one of the “world’s 100 most endangered historic sites.”

Know Before You Go

The Old Fourah Bay College is inside the Freetown District Health Management Team (DHMT) compound. It is not possible to visit officially, but the keys for the gate are kept by the DHMT security.

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