This 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 was
established to place freed blacks in the days of slavery in the United States in
the 1800s. The government was modeled after of the United Stats. Monrovia, the
capital and principal, port is named after a president of the united states
James 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 seeking
Liberia’s tribal peoples migrated to the area between the 12th and 16th
centuries. The Portuguese arrived in 1461 and began a trade in ivory, pepper,
and later in slaves. In 1820, the first colonists arrived. Their successful
settlement was named Monrovia in 1824. More colonists gradually arrived and
established separate colonies. In 1847 the colonies united and Liberia became
the first independent republic in black Africa.
The new nation faced many problems. Some of them were tribal wars, low
exports, and land claimed by other countries. Liberia was able to maintain its
independence 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 frequent
military conflicts and civil wars. In August 1990, forces from several African
countries entered Liberia to try and stop the bloody civil wars. The fighting
only became worse and the Prospects of a negotiated settlement were dim.
LAND AND RESOURCES
Liberia’s straight sandy coast is 350 miles long. It is broken by
lagoons and mangrove swamps. It gives way to a low rolling plain about 20 miles
wide. Further inland, foothills ranging in height from 600 to 1000 feet high
are found. They become mountains in the north and east. The highest point in
the country is Mt. Wutuvi which rises to 4,531 feet. Land area of the country
is 43,000 square miles.
Liberia’s rivers are short and flow parallel to one another from the
mountains to the ocean. The largest rivers are the St. Paul, St. John, and
Liberia’s tropical climate is hot and humid. The usual temperature
ranges from 60 degrees to 87 degrees. Annual rainfall, as much as 177 inches at
the coast, gradually decreases inland to 96 inches. The rainy season occurs
between May and October. A dusty winter wind blows during December.
There are 90 different kind of usable wood in Liberia’s vast timber
resources. Mineral resources include large deposits of iron ore, diamonds, and
The country is rich in wildlife. More than 100 species of mammals have
so for been identified. There are fifteen species belonging to the cat family,
among which the largest is the leopard. The number of leopards has been
decreasing rapidly along with the elephant and bush cow. Monkeys, chimpanzees,
and antelopes swarm. two rare mammals found here are the manatee and the pygmy
hippopotamus. In addition to mammals, there are more that 100 species of birds,
including eagles, kites, and hawks.
Liberians of black American ancestry who migrated from North and South
America between 1820 and 1856 are known as Americo- Liberians. They live along
the 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 own
language. There is also a large group of English speaking people. The largest
native group is the Kpelle which is 19% of the population. The Bassa group
makes up 14% of the population. It is estimated that 18% of the people practice
traditional African religions. About 68 percent are Christians and about 14
percent are Islamic. Liberia is officially Christian.
Almost half of the country’s city population lives in the capitol of
Monrovia, which is the largest city. The population of Monrovia was 425,000 in
Education was formerly provided by Christian missions but most schools
are now government operated. Although education is free and required between
the ages of 6 and 16, less than half of the school-age children attend, partly
because of a teacher shortage. The University of Liberia was founded in 1862.
It is located in the capitol city of Monrovia. ECONOMY
Most of Liberia’s workers work in farming. It is the most important
economic activity for more than 68% of the people. They mostly grow what they
Rubber is a commercial crop grown on plantations which employ about half
of those who work for money. The first Liberian rubber plantation was
established by the British in 1904. It was obtain from the British in 1926 by
an American company known as the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Firestone
improved and expanded their company but in 1983 cut off their operations.
Fishing is an important industry. Mining and logging are also important. Iron
ore 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 large
amounts of money the United States has given Liberia has not always been handled
well. This caused the United States to decide to give them less. This caused
Liberia to have difficulties in their economy. Expensive civil wars used most
of Liberia’s money so they could not pay their debts for several years. Homes
and businesses were destroyed, the planting and harvesting of crops were
disrupted, and hunger threatened much of the population.
In 1950s the roads in remote areas were greatly expanded. Most of the
existing roads is were constructed to meet the needs of the plantations rather
than needs of small rural farmers.
The only railroad is owned and operated by a foreign iron-ore mining
A telephone and radio communication system, one of the first in Africa
was introduced in Liberia in the early 1900s.
Liberia had a constitution written on July 26, 1847. It was written
like the constitution of the United States. The Country was lead by a elected
president, a vice president, and a cabinet. It had a Senate and House of
Representatives 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 encourage
participation of the tribes in the political life of the country. The
constitution continued until April 12, 1980. At that time there was military
fighting that caused the government to change so the constitution was no longer
William V. S. Tubman served as president from 1944 until his death in
1971. Following him was William R. Tolbert, Jr. He was also the vice-president
for Tubman. Tolbert was assassinated on April 12, 1980 in the first Liberians
military coup, led by an army sergeant named Samuel K. Doe. Then the government
was overthrown. Doe became commander in chief of the army with the rank
of general. He also become the first non-Americo-Liberian to head the
government. After his victory in an election in 1985, Doe was elected the
president of the republic on January 6, 1986, and a new constitution came into
A bloody civil war began in December 1989 when a group of rebels led by
a former member of Doe’s administration invaded the county. The rebels,
associated with the Mano and Gio tribes, sought to overthrow Doe. By the mid
1990 the insurrection had turned into tribal war.
In September 1990 Doe was killed by one of the rebel groups that had
been trying to overthrow hem. Four men claimed leadership of the country A
caretaker government was appointed until a freely elected government could be
formed. The country continues to have political problems.
Monrovia is the liberia capital. The town was founded in 1822 and named
for United Stats President James Monroe. The american Colonization Society
helped found the city as a settlement for freed slaves. It is the largest city
in Liberia. Monrovia is the country’s chief port located at the mouth of the
Mesurado River on the Atlantic coast. The port and industrial area are on
Bushrod Island which is connected by a bridge to the rest of Monrovia. The free
port was completed in 1948.
Monrovia is a city of displacement. Office buildings and stone houses
in the colonial style of the southern United States are near African huts and
shacks, some with television antennas. Elaborate buildings include the Capital,
the Executive Mansion, city hall, and the Temple of Justice. Monrovia is the
center of Liberia’s trade and transportation. Industrial products include
petroleum, cement, paint, and tuna. James Spriggs Payn Airfield is within the
city limits, and an international airport is 27 miles southeast of the city.,
Monrovia is the sit of the University of Liberia.
Liberia is a country started with tribal people migrating and freed
slaves coming to live free. It consists of many native groups. They fought for
their 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 in
iron ore, diamonds, and timber.
It had a constitution written for the country based on the United States
constitution. With a House of representatives, senate, President, vice
President, and Cabinet. Until it was overthrown.
Monrovia, the capital is the industrial port for liberia. It is
displaced. It has shays next to high rise buildings. It was named after one of
the presidents of the United States, James Monroe.
Liberia is an interesting country and it is fighting to have peace in it
country and counties to have problems.
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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.