Liberia Information

General Information for Liberia

Country: Liberia
Location: West Africa
Independence: Julyl 26, 1847
Nationality: Liberian
Capital City: Monrovia
Population: 3,029,000
Important Cities: Buchanan, Marshall, Gbarnga
Head of State: David Kpomakpor
Area: 111,378
Type of Government: Civil war
Currency: 1 LD=1 USD
Major peoples: Kpelle, Bassa, Gio, Kru, Grebo, Mano, Dan
Religion: African religion 70%, Muslim 20%, Christian 10%
Climate: Tropical
Literacy: 40%
Official Language: English
Principal Languages: Kru, Madinka, Mano
Major Exports: Diamonds, Rubber,Timber
Pre-Colonial History It is believed that the ancestors of present day Liberians migrated into the area from the North and East between the 12th and 17th centuries. None of the sub-Saharan empires of that period encompassed Liberia. Portuguese explorers visited Liberia's coast in 1461, and during the next 300 years, European merchants and coastal Africans engaged in trade. The history of modern Liberia dates from 1816, when the American Colonization Society, a private United States organization, was given a charter by the United States to send freed slaves to the west coast of Africa. The United States government, under President James Monroe, provided funds and assisted in negotiations with local chiefs for the ceding of land for this purpose. The first settlers landed at the site of Monrovia in 1822. In 1838, the settlers united to form the Commonwealth of Liberia, under a governor appointed by the American Colonization Society.
Post-Colonial History In 1847, Liberia became Africa's first independent republic with a constitution modeled after that of the United States. The United Kingdom officially recognized the Republic of Liberia in 1848, as did France in 1852. The Republic's first 100 years have been described as a "century of survival" because of attempts by neighboring colonial powers (France and Britain) to encroach on Liberia. William R. Tolbert, Jr., 19th President of Liberia, took office in 1971, upon the death of his predecessor, William V. S. Tubman. Tolbert was overthrown in a coup led by Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe on April 12, 1980, when the constitution was suspended and martial law imposed. A new constitution was drafted and reviewed by an elected assembly; the ban on political activity was lifted and an Interim National Assembly appointed in July 1984; and four political parties were able to register and complete in presidential and legislative elections held on October 15, 1985. The new government and the new constitution were inaugurated on January 6, 1986, with Samuel K. Doe as president.

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