Sierra Leone’s Cotton Tree, a centuries-old symbol of the nation, has been destroyed by a wind and rain storm. The Ceiba pentandra was estimated to be around 400 years old and had lost all its branches. It was said to have been used by American War of Independence slaves who won their freedom after fighting for the British. The tree had been visited by Queen Elizabeth II and was a landmark in Freetown, where residents continued to pray beneath it. No one was injured in the incident, and the government has announced a clean-up effort is underway.