Sierra Leone is a former British colony in West Africa, about the size of Scotland and has been wracked by civil war since 1991, when rebels calling themselves the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) attempted to bring down the government. A militia calling itself “The West Side Niggaz”, later amended to “The West Side Boys”, originally fought on the rebel side but later changed allegiance to the government and were expected to assimilate into the newly reformed Sierra Leone Army, but they refused and began operating as bandits from the abandoned villages of Magbeni and Gberi Bana on opposite sides of Rokel Creek.
In 1759, Britain was locked in a struggle with the French for control of Eastern Canada. The French had established a colony called Acadia in New France in north-eastern North America, centred on what is now the Canadian province of Quebec, plus Maine and areas of the North American coastline stretching to the Ohio River. The fighting lasted from 1754 to 1763 and became known as The Seven Years War, or by some as the French/Indian Wars.
In 1758, the British besieged and captured the port of Louisburg, gaining control of vast areas of Atlantic Canada and opening up the seaway to Quebec. In the same month, they also captured the French Fort Fronternac, situated where the St Lawrence River leaves Lake Ontario, an important French supply base for French outposts along the Ohio Valley. These victories persuaded some Indian allies of the French to defect to the British, forcing the French to draw back and consolidate their strength in major bases such as Quebec.
When Ranjit Singh, Maharajah of Punjab died in 1839, the empire he had built gradually became disordered and descended into factional and tribal quarrelling. Ranjit Singh had maintained a policy of wary friendship with the British owned East India Company and had even ceded some territory south of the Sutlej River to them, but after his death, his various successors and ministers were deposed or murdered in a struggle for power. By 1845, its neighbour in British India, fearing the unrest could spread, increased her military forces on the border.
With the French and their Spanish allies preparing to invade England, only the wooden walls of the British navy stood in their way. The destruction of the enemy's fleet at Trafalgar forced Napoleon to abandon the plan.
In 1805, Napoleon's French Empire was the dominant land power in Europe, while the British Royal Navy controlled the seas. The British operated a blockade on French ports, restricting imports and trade and preventing French warships from leaving port. Britain had been at war with France again since the breakdown of the peace treaty of Amiens in 1803 and stood alone, protected by the English Channel and her navy. Napoleon's actions in carving up the German states and crowning himself King of Italy caused much concern in Europe and resulted in Russia, Portugal, Austria and others to form what became known as the Third Coalition and to declare war on France.