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Liberia

From Academic Kids

This article is about the country in Africa; for the town in Costa Rica, see Liberia, Costa Rica

The Republic of Liberia is a country on the west coast of Africa, bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Cte d'Ivoire. It has recently been afflicted by two civil wars (19891996 and 19992003) that have displaced hundreds of thousands of its citizens and destroyed the Liberian economy.

Republic of Liberia</font>
Missing image
Liberia_flag_large.png
Flag of Liberia

COA of Liberia
(In Detail) (In Detail)
National motto: The love of liberty brought us here
image:LocationLiberia.png
Official language English
Capital Monrovia
President Gyude Bryant
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 101st
96,320 km
13.514%
Population


 - Total
 - Density

Ranked 129th


3,482,211 (July 2005)
36.2/km²

Independence July 26, 1847
Currency Liberian dollar  (United States dollar also in common use)
Time zone UTC
National anthem All Hail, Liberia, Hail!
Internet TLD .lr
Calling Code 231
Contents

History

Main article: History of Liberia

Settlers from America

The history of Liberia as a political entity begins with the arrival of the black American settlers — the Americo-Liberians, as they were to be known — who established a colony of free men of color on its shore in 1822 under the auspices of the American Colonization Society. The historical roots from which a majority present-day Liberians derive their identity, however, are found in the varied traditions of the several tribal groups of indigenous Africans whom the settlers confronted in their struggle to gain a foothold in Africa and, later, extend their control into the interior.

On July 26, 1847, the Americo-Liberians declared the independence of the Republic of Liberia. The settlers regarded the continent from which their forefathers had been taken as slaves as a Promised Land, but they did not intend to become reintegrated into an African society. They referred to themselves as Americans and recognized as such by tribal Africans and by British colonial authorities in neighboring Sierra Leone. The symbols of their state — its flag, motto, and seal — and the form of government that they chose reflected their American background and immigrant experience. The social customs and cultural standards of the Americo-Liberians had their archetypes in the antebellum American South. These ideals strongly colored the attitudes of the settlers toward the indigenous African people. The new nation, as they conceived of it, was coextensive with the settler community and with those Africans who were assimilated into it. A recurrent theme in the countrys subsequent history, therefore, was the usually successful attempt of the Americo-Liberian minority to dominate people whom they considered uncivilized and inferior. They named the land "Liberia," which in European langauges and Latin means "Land of the Free".

The founding of Liberia was privately sponsored by American religious and philanthropic groups, but the colony enjoyed the support and unofficial cooperation of the United States government. Liberias government, modeled after that of the United States, was democratic in structure, if not always in substance. After 1877 the True Whig Party monopolized political power in the country, and competition for office was usually contained within the party, whose nomination virtually ensured election. Two problems confronting successive administrations were pressure from neighboring colonial powers, Britain and France, and the threat of financial insolvency, both of which challenged the countrys sovereignty. Liberia retained its independence but lost its claim to extensive territories that were annexed by Britain and France. Economic development was retarded by the decline of markets for Liberian goods in the late nineteenth century and by indebtedness on a series of loans, payments on which drained the economy.

Significant mid-20th-century events

Two events were of particular importance in releasing Liberia from its self-imposed isolation. The first was the grant in 1926 of a large concession to the American-owned Firestone Plantation Company; that move became a first step in the modernization of the Liberian economy. The second occurred during World War II, when the United States began providing technical and economic assistance that enabled Liberia to make economic progress and introduce social change.

1980 coup under Doe

On 12 April 1980, a successful military coup was staged by a group of noncommissioned officers of tribal origins led by Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe, and they executed the President of nine years William R. Tolbert, Jr. in his mansion. Constituting themselves the Peoples Redemption Council, Doe and his associates seized control of the government and brought an end to Liberias "first republic".

Doe made strong ties with the United States in the early 1980s, receiving more than $500 million for pushing out the Soviet Union from the country, and allowing exclusive rights for the US to use Liberia's ports and land (including allowing the CIA to use Liberian territory to spy on Libya).

Doe continued his authoritarian policies, banning newspapers, outlawing opposition parties and holding staged elections.

1989 and 1999 civil wars

In late 1989, a civil war began, and in September 1990 Doe was ousted and killed by the forces of faction leader Yormie Johnson and members of the Gio tribe. The war ended in 1996, and a prominent warlord, Charles Taylor, was elected as President in 1997. Taylor's brutal regime targeted several leading opposition and political activists. In 1998, the government sought to assassinate child rights activist Kimmie Weeks for a report he had published on its involvement in the training of child soldiers. Taylor's autocratic and dysfunctional government led to a new rebellion in 1999. More than 200,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the civil wars. The conflict intensified in mid-2003, when the fighting moved closer to Monrovia. As the power of the government shrank and with increasing international and American pressure for him to resign, President Charles Taylor accepted an asylum offer by Nigeria, but vowed: "God willing, I will be back."

Politics

Main article: Politics of Liberia In 1998 Kimmie Weeks was forced into exile.

The Americo-Liberians had little in common with the tribal communities living inland. One of these tribes were the Krahn, to which Samuel Doe belonged. That was partly the reason for the 1980 coup.

The country is currently governed by a transitional government in preparation for elections that are due in October 2005.

See also: List of Presidents of Liberia

Counties

Main article: Counties of Liberia

Liberia is divided into 15 counties:

Geography

Map of Liberia
Enlarge
Map of Liberia

Main article: Geography of Liberia

Liberia is situated in Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean. The landscape is characterised by mostly flat to rolling coastal plains, which rise to rolling plateau and low mountains in the northeast. The climate is tropical: hot and humid. Winters are dry with hot days and cool to cold nights. Summers are wet and cloudy with frequent heavy showers.

See: liberia (http://www.vdiest.nl/Africa/liberia.htm)

Economy

Main article: Economy of Liberia

The Liberian economy depended heavily on the export of iron ore. Before 1990 Liberia also exported rubber. The long civil war has destroyed much of the country's infrastructure, and Liberia is dependent on foreign aid. The country currently has an approximate 85% unemployment rate.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Liberia

The population of over 3 million comprises 16 indigenous ethnic groups and various foreign minorities. The Kpelle in central and western Liberia is the largest ethnic group. Americo-Liberians, who are descendants of freed slaves that arrived in Liberia early in 1821, make up an estimated 5% of the population. There also is a sizable number of Lebanese, Indians, and other West African nationals who make up a significant part of Liberia's business community. A few whites (estimated at 18,000 in 1999; probably fewer now) reside in the country.

Political upheavals and civil war have brought about a steep decline in living standards.

Education

Cuttington University College was established by the Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA) in 1889; its campus is currently located in Suacoco, Bong County (120 miles north of Monrovia).

Culture

Main article: Culture of Liberia

Liberia was traditionally noted for its hospitality and academic institutions, cultural skills and arts and craft works.

Miscellaneous topics

External links

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Countries in Africa

Algeria | Angola | Benin | Botswana | Burkina Faso | Burundi | Cameroon | Cape Verde | Central African Republic | Chad | Comoros | Democratic Republic of the Congo | Republic of the Congo | Cte d'Ivoire | Djibouti | Egypt | Equatorial Guinea | Eritrea | Ethiopia | Gabon | The Gambia | Ghana | Guinea | Guinea-Bissau | Kenya | Lesotho | Liberia | Libya | Madagascar | Malawi | Mali | Mauritania | Mauritius | Morocco | Mozambique | Namibia | Niger | Nigeria | Rwanda | So Tom and Prncipe | Senegal | Seychelles | Sierra Leone | Somalia | Somaliland | South Africa | Sudan | Swaziland | Tanzania | Togo | Tunisia | Uganda | Zambia | Zimbabwe | Western Sahara

Dependencies: Canary Islands | Ceuta and Melilla | Madeira Islands | Mayotte | Runion | Saint Helena and dependencies
ar:ليبيريا

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