Where Is Liberia and What
Is It Known For?
Liberia, officially the Republic of Liberia, is on the Atlantic coast of west Africa, bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, and the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2008 Census, the nation is home to 3,476,608 people and covers 111,369 square kilometres (43,000 sq mi). Beyond the coastal belt of sandy beaches and mangrove swamps the land rises to a forested plateau and highlands along the Guinea border. A quarter of the population lives along the coast.
The history of Liberia is unique among African nations because of its relationship with the United States. It is one of only two countries in Africa, along with Ethiopia, without roots in the European Scramble for Africa, a process of invasion, attack, occupation, and annexation of African territory by European powers during the New Imperialism period between 1881 and World War I in 1914. Liberia was founded and colonized by freed American slaves with the help of a private organization called the American Colonization Society in 1821-1822, on the premise that former American slaves would have greater freedom and equality there.
Slaves freed from slave ships were also sent there instead of being repatriated to their countries of origin. These colonists formed an elite group in Liberian society, and, in 1847, they founded the Republic of Liberia, establishing a government modeled on that of the United States, naming Monrovia, their capital city, after James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States and a prominent supporter of the colonization.
A military-led coup in 1980 overthrew then-president William R. Tolbert, which marked the beginning of a period of instability that eventually led to two civil wars that left hundreds of thousands of people dead and devastated the country's economy. Today, Liberia is recovering from the lingering effects of the civil war and related economic dislocation.
The climate is hot with heavy rainfall. Liberia is rich in mineral resources and forest. The economy is based on the production and export of basic products. Export includes diamond, iron ore, rubber and timber. Liberia has a huge international debt and relies heavily on foreign aid. Statistics indicate that about 85% of the population live on less than $1.25 a day.