From the sixteenth century the coastal populations of Sierra Leone were involved in the slave trade introduced by European traders. In 1787, the British bought the peninsula and it became the capital Freetown; 400 black people from London lived there. In 1794, Sierra Leone was the first British colony in West Africa. The country gained its independence in 1961. Obverse: Coat of arms depicting lions and palm trees. State House on State Avenue, Tower Hill, Freetown. Also, fishing net background, President Joseph Saidu Momoh (1937-2003). Reverse: Fishing fleet in Freetown Harbour with a fishing net background. Signatures: Abdul R. Turay (Governor); James K.E. Cole (Deputy Governor).