Liberia 12th and 16th centuries. The Portuguese arrived


LiberiaThis paper is about a small country on the west coast of Africa called Liberia.It is a country built with the help of The American Colonization Society. I wasestablished to place freed blacks in the days of slavery in the United States inthe 1800s. The government was modeled after of the United Stats. Monrovia, thecapital and principal, port is named after a president of the united statesJames Monroe.

This country has historical significance for african Americans.As Africa’s oldest republic, established by former black American slaves,Liberia played and important role as a model for African colones seekingindependence.HISTORYLiberia’s tribal peoples migrated to the area between the 12th and 16thcenturies. The Portuguese arrived in 1461 and began a trade in ivory, pepper,and later in slaves. In 1820, the first colonists arrived. Their successfulsettlement was named Monrovia in 1824.

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More colonists gradually arrived andestablished separate colonies. In 1847 the colonies united and Liberia becamethe first independent republic in black Africa.The new nation faced many problems. Some of them were tribal wars, lowexports, and land claimed by other countries. Liberia was able to maintain itsindependence only with the help of the United States. Following World War II,the modern port, airport, hospitals, hydroelectric station, and other projects,all financed by the United States, were opened.

There has been frequentmilitary conflicts and civil wars. In August 1990, forces from several Africancountries entered Liberia to try and stop the bloody civil wars. The fightingonly became worse and the Prospects of a negotiated settlement were dim.LAND AND RESOURCESLiberia’s straight sandy coast is 350 miles long. It is broken bylagoons and mangrove swamps. It gives way to a low rolling plain about 20 mileswide. Further inland, foothills ranging in height from 600 to 1000 feet highare found. They become mountains in the north and east.

The highest point inthe country is Mt. Wutuvi which rises to 4,531 feet. Land area of the countryis 43,000 square miles.Liberia’s rivers are short and flow parallel to one another from themountains to the ocean. The largest rivers are the St. Paul, St.

John, andCavalla.Liberia’s tropical climate is hot and humid. The usual temperatureranges from 60 degrees to 87 degrees. Annual rainfall, as much as 177 inches atthe coast, gradually decreases inland to 96 inches. The rainy season occursbetween May and October. A dusty winter wind blows during December.

There are 90 different kind of usable wood in Liberia’s vast timberresources. Mineral resources include large deposits of iron ore, diamonds, andgold.The country is rich in wildlife. More than 100 species of mammals haveso for been identified. There are fifteen species belonging to the cat family,among which the largest is the leopard.

The number of leopards has beendecreasing rapidly along with the elephant and bush cow. Monkeys, chimpanzees,and antelopes swarm. two rare mammals found here are the manatee and the pygmyhippopotamus. In addition to mammals, there are more that 100 species of birds,including eagles, kites, and hawks.PEOPLELiberians of black American ancestry who migrated from North and SouthAmerica between 1820 and 1856 are known as Americo- Liberians. They live alongthe coast and make of up about 5 percent of the more that 2 million population.

The bulk population consist of native cultural groups. Each has its ownlanguage. There is also a large group of English speaking people. The largestnative group is the Kpelle which is 19% of the population. The Bassa groupmakes up 14% of the population. It is estimated that 18% of the people practicetraditional African religions.

About 68 percent are Christians and about 14percent are Islamic. Liberia is officially Christian.Almost half of the country’s city population lives in the capitol ofMonrovia, which is the largest city. The population of Monrovia was 425,000 in1984.Education was formerly provided by Christian missions but most schoolsare now government operated. Although education is free and required betweenthe ages of 6 and 16, less than half of the school-age children attend, partlybecause of a teacher shortage. The University of Liberia was founded in 1862.It is located in the capitol city of Monrovia.

ECONOMYMost of Liberia’s workers work in farming. It is the most importanteconomic activity for more than 68% of the people. They mostly grow what theyuse.

Rubber is a commercial crop grown on plantations which employ about halfof those who work for money. The first Liberian rubber plantation wasestablished by the British in 1904. It was obtain from the British in 1926 byan American company known as the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.

Firestoneimproved and expanded their company but in 1983 cut off their operations.Fishing is an important industry. Mining and logging are also important. Ironore is the largest export.Liberia also receives income from the registration of foreign ships.Many foreign ships fly the Liberian flag to avoid regulations and taxes.

Industry remains underdeveloped. Machinery, transportation equipment,and food are imported.The United States has helped Liberia economically. However, the largeamounts of money the United States has given Liberia has not always been handledwell. This caused the United States to decide to give them less. This causedLiberia to have difficulties in their economy. Expensive civil wars used mostof Liberia’s money so they could not pay their debts for several years. Homesand businesses were destroyed, the planting and harvesting of crops weredisrupted, and hunger threatened much of the population.

In 1950s the roads in remote areas were greatly expanded. Most of theexisting roads is were constructed to meet the needs of the plantations ratherthan needs of small rural farmers.The only railroad is owned and operated by a foreign iron-ore miningcompany.A telephone and radio communication system, one of the first in Africawas introduced in Liberia in the early 1900s.GOVERNMENTLiberia had a constitution written on July 26, 1847. It was writtenlike the constitution of the United States.

The Country was lead by a electedpresident, a vice president, and a cabinet. It had a Senate and House ofRepresentatives as the chief legislative bodies. The constitution, at first,only applied to Americo-Liberians and not to the African Tribes. William Tubman,who was president from 1944-1971, made a serious effort to encourageparticipation of the tribes in the political life of the country. Theconstitution continued until April 12, 1980. At that time there was militaryfighting that caused the government to change so the constitution was no longerbe used.William V.

S. Tubman served as president from 1944 until his death in1971. Following him was William R. Tolbert, Jr. He was also the vice-presidentfor Tubman. Tolbert was assassinated on April 12, 1980 in the first Liberiansmilitary coup, led by an army sergeant named Samuel K. Doe. Then the governmentwas overthrown.

Doe became commander in chief of the army with the rankof general. He also become the first non-Americo-Liberian to head thegovernment. After his victory in an election in 1985, Doe was elected thepresident of the republic on January 6, 1986, and a new constitution came intoeffect.A bloody civil war began in December 1989 when a group of rebels led bya former member of Doe’s administration invaded the county.

The rebels,associated with the Mano and Gio tribes, sought to overthrow Doe. By the mid1990 the insurrection had turned into tribal war.In September 1990 Doe was killed by one of the rebel groups that hadbeen trying to overthrow hem. Four men claimed leadership of the country Acaretaker government was appointed until a freely elected government could beformed. The country continues to have political problems.MONROVIAMonrovia is the liberia capital. The town was founded in 1822 and namedfor United Stats President James Monroe.

The american Colonization Societyhelped found the city as a settlement for freed slaves. It is the largest cityin Liberia. Monrovia is the country’s chief port located at the mouth of theMesurado River on the Atlantic coast. The port and industrial area are onBushrod Island which is connected by a bridge to the rest of Monrovia. The freeport was completed in 1948.Monrovia is a city of displacement.

Office buildings and stone housesin the colonial style of the southern United States are near African huts andshacks, some with television antennas. Elaborate buildings include the Capital,the Executive Mansion, city hall, and the Temple of Justice. Monrovia is thecenter of Liberia’s trade and transportation. Industrial products includepetroleum, cement, paint, and tuna. James Spriggs Payn Airfield is within thecity limits, and an international airport is 27 miles southeast of the city.,Monrovia is the sit of the University of Liberia.CONCLUSIONLiberia is a country started with tribal people migrating and freedslaves coming to live free. It consists of many native groups.

They fought fortheir there independence and many problems arose.It is full of mountains, Plains, foothills, Rivers, timber, and wildlife.Most people farm and grow only what they use. There is still trade iniron ore, diamonds, and timber.

It had a constitution written for the country based on the United Statesconstitution. With a House of representatives, senate, President, vicePresident, and Cabinet. Until it was overthrown.Monrovia, the capital is the industrial port for liberia.

It isdisplaced. It has shays next to high rise buildings. It was named after one ofthe presidents of the United States, James Monroe.Liberia is an interesting country and it is fighting to have peace in itcountry and counties to have problems.BibliographyCooper, K., The World and Its People, Siver Burdett Company, 1986.

Prodigy Service, Prodigy, Grolire Electronic Publishing, 1992.Software Toolworks, World Atlas ver. 3.2, Liberia, 1992.

Sullivan M., Jo Liberia, Harry Jonas Lerner, 1988.Wiley, David S., Liberia, Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia, 1994.

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