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{{about|the country in Africa|other uses|Liberia (disambiguation)}}{{pp-move|small=yes}}{{Use American English|date=April 2019}}{{Use mdy dates|date=December 2017}}{{Coord|6|30|N|9|30|W|display=title}}

| image_map2 = Liberia - Location Map (2013) - LBR - UNOCHA.svg| national_motto = "The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here"| national_anthem = All Hail, Liberia, Hail!(File:Liberia National Anthem.ogg)English language>EnglishEDITOR2-FIRST=GARY F. EDITOR3-FIRST=CHARLES D. YEAR=2015 WEBSITE=ETHNOLOGUE LOCATION=DALLAS, TEXAS URL=HTTP://WWW.ETHNOLOGUE.COM/COUNTRY/LR/LANGUAGES, Liberian English}}| ethnic_groups = {{unbulleted list
| 20.3% Kpelle
| 13.4% Bassa
| 10.0% Gio
| 8.0% Grebo
| 7.9% Mano
| 6.0% Kru
| 5.1% Lorma
| 4.8% Kissi
| 4.4% Gola
| 4.1% Krahn
}}| ethnic_groups_year = 2008| religion = {{unbulleted list
| 85.6% Christianity
| 12.2% Islam
| 2.2% others
}}| demonym = Liberian| capital = Monrovia6N48type:city}}| largest_city = MonroviaUnitary state>Unitary Presidential system republic>constitutional republicPresident of Liberia>President| leader_name1 = George WeahVice President of Liberia>Vice President| leader_name2 = Jewel TaylorList of Speakers of the House of Representatives of Liberia>Speaker of the House| leader_name3 = Bhofal ChambersChief Justice of Liberia>Chief Justice| leader_name4 = Francis Korkpor, Sr.| legislature = Legislature of LiberiaSenate (Liberia)>SenateHouse of Representatives (Liberia)>House of Representatives| area_rank = 102nd | area_km2 = 111,369| area_sq_mi = 43,000 | percent_water = 13.514WORK=THE WORLD BANK COUNTRY PAGE FOR LIBERIA YEAR=2015, September 4, 2014, | population_estimate_year = 2015| population_estimate_rank = 125th| population_census = 3,476,608| population_census_year = 2008| population_census_rank = 130th| population_density_km2 = 40.43| population_density_sq_mi = 92.0 | population_density_rank = 180th| GDP_PPP_year = 2019| GDP_PPP = $6.468 billionWEBSITE=WWW.IMF.ORG, September 1, 2019, | GDP_nominal_year = 2019| GDP_nominal = $3.221 billion| GDP_nominal_per_capita = $704History of Liberia>Formation and IndependenceAmerican Colonization}} Society| established_date1 = January 7, 1822| established_event2 = Liberian Declaration of Independence| established_date2 = July 26, 1847| established_event3 = Annexation of Republic of Maryland| established_date3 = March 18, 1857| established_event4 = Recognition by the United States| established_date4 = February 5, 1862United Nations Charter>Admitted to the United Nations| established_date5 = November 2, 1945Constitution of Liberia>Current constitution| established_date6 = January 6, 1986| Gini_year = 2007| Gini_change = | Gini = 38.2 PUBLISHER=WORLD BANK, August 14, 2015, | Gini_rank = | HDI_year = 2017| HDI_change = increase| HDI = 0.435 WEBSITE=HDR.UNDP.ORG, September 1, 2019, | HDI_rank = 181st| currency = Liberian dollar (LRD)| currency_code = Greenwich Mean Time>GMT| utc_offset = +0| time_zone_DST = | utc_offset_DST = | drives_on = right| calling_code = +231| cctld = .lr}}Liberia ({{IPAc-en|audio=En-us-Liberia.ogg|l|aɪ|ˈ|b|ɪər|i|ə}}), officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the West African coast. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to its northwest, Guinea to its north, Ivory Coast to its east, and the Atlantic Ocean to its south-southwest. It covers an area of 111,369 square kilometers (43,000 sq mi) and has a population of around 4,900,000.staff writers (November 25, 1985). "LIBERIA Comrades Turned Enemies". Time. Retrieved July 22, 2011. English is the official language, but over 20 indigenous languages are spoken, representing the numerous ethnic groups who make up more than 95% of the population. The country's capital and largest city is Monrovia.Liberia began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society (ACS), who believed black people would face better chances for freedom and prosperity in Africa than in the United States. The country declared its independence on July 26, 1847. The U.S. did not recognize Liberia's independence until February 5, 1862, during the American Civil War. Between January 7, 1822, and the American Civil War, more than 15,000 freed and free-born black people who faced legislated limits in the U.S., and 3,198 Afro-Caribbeans, relocated to the settlement. The settlers carried their culture and tradition with them. The Liberian constitution and flag were modeled after those of the U.S. On January 3, 1848, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a wealthy, free-born African American from Virginia who settled in Liberia, was elected Liberia's first president after the people proclaimed independence."July 26, 1847 Liberian independence proclaimed", This Day In History, History website.Liberia was the first African republic to proclaim its independence, and is Africa's first and oldest modern republic. It retained its independence during the Scramble for Africa. During World War II, Liberia supported the United States war efforts against Germany and in turn, the U.S. invested in considerable infrastructure in Liberia to help its war effort, which also aided the country in modernizing and improving its major air transportation facilities. In addition, President William Tubman encouraged economic changes. Internationally, Liberia was a founding member of the League of Nations, United Nations, and the Organisation of African Unity.The Americo-Liberian settlers did not relate well to the indigenous peoples they encountered, especially those in communities of the more isolated "bush". The colonial settlements were raided by the Kru and Grebo from their inland chiefdoms. Americo-Liberians developed as a small elite that held on to political power, and indigenous tribesmen were excluded from birthright citizenship in their own land until 1904, in an echo of the United States' treatment of Native Americans.WEB,weblink Liberia, U.S. State Department, Americo-Liberians promoted religious organizations to set up missions and schools to educate the indigenous peoples.In 1980 political tensions from the rule of William R. Tolbert resulted in a military coup during which Tolbert was killed, marking the beginning of years-long political instability. Five years of military rule by the People's Redemption Council and five years of civilian rule by the National Democratic Party of Liberia were followed by the First and Second Liberian Civil Wars. These resulted in the deaths of 250,000 people (about 8% of the population) and the displacement of many more, and shrank Liberia's economy by 90%.NEWS, Praise for the woman who put Liberia back on its feet,weblink The Economist, October 5, 2017, A peace agreement in 2003 led to democratic elections in 2005, in which Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected President. National infrastructure and basic social services were severely affected by the conflicts, with 83% of the population now living below the international poverty line.WEB,weblink Liberia | World Food Programme,, September 1, 2019,


File:Negroland and Guinea with the European Settlements, 1736.jpg|thumb|left|upright=1.5|A European map of West Africa and the Grain Coast, 1736. It has the archaic mapping designation of NegrolandNegrolandThe Pepper Coast, also known as the Grain Coast, has been inhabited by indigenous peoples of Africa at least as far back as the 12th century. Mende-speaking people expanded westward from the Sudan, forcing many smaller ethnic groups southward toward the Atlantic Ocean. The Dei, Bassa, Kru, Gola, and Kissi were some of the earliest documented peoples in the area.JOURNAL, Dunn-Marcos, Robin, Kollehlon, Konia T., Ngovo, Bernard, Russ, Emily, Ranar, Donald A., April 2005, Liberians: An Introduction to their History and Culture, Culture Profile, 19, Center for Applied Linguistics url=,weblink" title="">weblink June 25, 2008, 5–6, This influx of these groups was compounded by the decline of the Western Sudanic Mali Empire in 1375 and the Songhai Empire in 1591. {{citation needed span|The area now called Liberia was a part of the Kingdom of Koya from 1450 to 1898.|date=April 2019|reason=Kingdom of Koya was absorbed into Sierra Leone. There is no mention in its article that part of the kingdom was in what is now Liberia.}} As inland regions underwent desertification, inhabitants moved to the wetter coast. These new inhabitants brought skills such as cotton spinning, cloth weaving, iron smelting, rice and sorghum cultivation, and social and political institutions from the Mali and Songhai empires. Shortly after the Mane conquered the region, the Vai people of the former Mali Empire immigrated into the Grand Cape Mount County region. The ethnic Kru opposed the influx of Vai, forming an alliance with the Mane to stop further influx of Vai.BOOK, Jesse N. Mongrue M. Ed, Liberia-America's Footprint in Africa: Making the Cultural, Social, and Political Connections, 2011, 24, iUniverse, 978-1462021642, People along the coast built canoes and traded with other West Africans from Cap-Vert to the Gold Coast. Arab traders entered the region from the north, and a long-established slave trade took captives to north and east Africa.

Early colonization

Between 1461 and the late 17th century, Portuguese, Dutch, and British traders had contacts and trading posts in the region. The Portuguese named the area Costa da Pimenta ("Pepper Coast") but it later came to be known as the Grain Coast, due to the abundance of melegueta pepper grains. European traders would barter commodities and goods with local people.In the United States there was a movement to settle free-born Blacks and freed slaves in Africa. This was ostensibly because they faced racial discrimination in the form of political disenfranchisement and the denial of civil, religious, and social privileges;Howard Brotz, ed., African American Social & Political Thought 1850–1920 (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1996), 38–39. most whites and later a small minority of Black nationalists believed that Blacks would be better off in Africa."Background on conflict in Liberia" {{Webarchive|url= |date=February 14, 2007 }}, Friends Committee on National Legislation, July 30, 2003Maggie Montesinos Sale (1997). The Slumbering Volcano: American Slave Ship Revolts and the Production of Rebellious Masculinity, Duke University Press, 1997, p. 264. {{ISBN|0-8223-1992-6}} Southern slaveholders had a different perspective: they wanted to get free people of color out of the South, where they were thought to threaten the apparent stability of their slave societies. In 1816 the American Colonization Society was founded for this purpose in Washington, D.C., by a group of prominent politicians and slaveholders, but its membership grew to include many abolitionists.In 1822 the American Colonization Society began sending black volunteers to the Pepper Coast, the closest point of Africa and therefore the least expensive to reach, to establish a colony for freed blacks. By 1867 the ACS (and state-related chapters) had assisted in the migration of more than 13,000 blacks to Liberia.WEB,weblink The African-American Mosaic, March 31, 2015, These free African-Americans and their descendants married within their community and came to identify as Americo-Liberians. Many were of mixed race and educated in American culture; they did not identify with the indigenous natives of the tribes they encountered. They intermarried largely within the colonial community, developing an ethnic group that had a cultural tradition infused with American notions of political republicanism and Protestant Christianity.WEB
, Wegmann
, Andrew N
, May 5, 2010
, Christian Community and the Development of an Americo-Liberian Identity, 1824–1878
, Louisiana State University
, yes
,weblink" title="">weblink
, June 30, 2010
, mdy-all
, (File:Mitchell Map Liberia colony 1839.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|Map of Liberia Colony in the 1830s, created by the ACS, and also showing Mississippi Colony and other state-sponsored colonies.)The ACS, supported by prominent American politicians such as Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay, and James Monroe, believed repatriation of free African Americans was preferable to widespread emancipation of slaves. Similar state-based organizations established colonies in Mississippi-in-Africa and the Republic of Maryland, which Liberia later annexed.The Americo-Liberian settlers did not relate well to the indigenous peoples they encountered, especially those in communities of the more isolated "bush". They knew nothing of their cultures, languages, or animist religion, and were not interested in learning. The colonial settlements were raided by the Kru and Grebo from their inland chiefdoms. Encounters with tribal Africans in the bush often became violent confrontations.In Slaves to Racism: An Unbroken Chain from America to Liberia, Benjamin Dennis and Anita Dennis argue that the Americo-Liberians replicated the only society most of them knew: the racist culture of the American South. Believing themselves different from and culturally and educationally superior to the indigenous peoples, the Americo-Liberians developed as an elite minority that held on to political power. They treated the natives the way American whites had treated them: as inferiors. The natives could not vote and could not speak unless spoken to. Just as American Blacks were prohibited from marrying or having sexual relationships with white women, the natives could not marry Americo-Liberian women. Even when some natives became educated, they were excluded from government positions, except for a token few.WEB, Global Impacts of White Racism: Americo-Liberians, January 4, 2009, Joe R., Feagin, Racism Review,weblink Indigenous tribesmen did not enjoy birthright citizenship in their own land until 1904. Americo-Liberians encouraged religious organizations to set up missions and schools to educate the indigenous peoples.


File:T. WILLIAMS (c1850) Residence of Joseph Roberts, President of the Republic of Liberia.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|Residence of Joseph Jenkins RobertsJoseph Jenkins RobertsOn July 26, 1847, the settlers issued a Declaration of Independence and promulgated a constitution. Based on the political principles of the United States Constitution, it established the independent Republic of Liberia.BOOK, Johnston, Harry Hamilton, Stapf, Otto, Liberia, Volume I, Hutchinson & Co, 1906,weblink 1-143-31505-7, BOOK, Adekeye Adebajo, 2002, Liberia's Civil War: Nigeria, ECOMOG, and Regional Security in West Africa, International Peace Academy, 21United Kingdom was the first country to recognize Liberia's independence."How a former slave gave a quilt to Queen Victoria". BBC. July 11, 2017 The United States did not recognize Liberia until 1862, after the southern states, who had significant influence in the American government, seceded from the union to form the Confederate States of America>Confederacy.The leadership of the new nation consisted largely of the Americo-Liberians, who initially established political and economic dominance in the coastal areas that the ACS had purchased; they maintained relations with U.S. contacts in developing these areas and the resulting trade. Their passage of the 1865 Ports of Entry Act prohibited foreign commerce with the inland tribes, ostensibly to "encourage the growth of civilized values" before such trade was allowed in the region. By 1877, the True Whig Party was the country's most powerful political entity.WEB,weblink Pike, John, The True Whig Ascendancywork=Global Security, July 23, 2011, It was made up primarily of Americo-Liberians, who maintained social, economic and political dominance well into the 20th century, repeating patterns of European colonists in other nations in Africa. Competition for office was usually contained within the party; a party nomination virtually ensured election.Pressure from the United Kingdom, which controlled Sierra Leone to the northwest, and France, with its interests in the north and east, led to a loss of Liberia's claims to extensive territories. Both Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast annexed territories.WEB, John Pike, 1985,weblink Lost Territories, Global Security, July 23, 2011, Liberia struggled to attract investment to develop infrastructure and a larger, industrial economy.There was a decline in production of Liberian goods in the late 19th century, and the government struggled financially, resulting in indebtedness on a series of international loans.WEB,weblink John Pike, 1985, Lost Markets and Economic Decline, Global Security, July 23, 2011, On July 16, 1892, Martha Ann Erskine Ricks met Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle and presented her a handmade quilt, Liberia's first diplomatic gift. Born into slavery in Tennessee, Ricks said, "I had heard it often, from the time I was a child, how good the Queen had been to my people—to slaves—and how she wanted us to be free."

Early 20th century

File:LiberiaKing.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|Charles D. B. King, 17th President of Liberia (1920–1930), with his entourage on the steps of the Peace PalacePeace Palace American and other international interests emphasized resource extraction, with rubber production a major industry in the early 20th century.BOOK, Robert Jefferson Norrell, Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington,weblink January 1, 2009, Harvard University Press, 978-0-674-03211-8, 374–375, JOURNAL, Rosenberg, Emily S., June 1, 2007, The Invisible Protectorate: The United States, Liberia, and the Evolution of Neocolonialism, 1909–40, Diplomatic History, Oxford Journals, 9, 3, 191–214, 10.1111/j.1467-7709.1985.tb00532.x, In 1914 Imperial Germany accounted for three quarters of the trade of Liberia. This was a cause for concern among the British colonial authorities of Sierra Leone and the French colonial authorities of French Guinea and the Ivory Coast as tensions with Germany increased.BOOK, Tucker, Spencer, World War I: Encyclopedia, 2005, ABC-CLIO, 9781851094202,weblink 27 August 2018, en,

First World War

Liberia remained neutral during World War I until August 1917, when it declared war on Germany. In 1919 Liberia attended the Versailles Peace Conference. Liberia was one of the founding members of the League of Nations when it was founded in January 1920.WEB, Heffinck, Ariane, Liberia: A Nation in Recovery,weblink, United Nations Association of Philadelphia, 27 August 2018,

Middle 20th century

In 1929 allegations of modern slavery in Liberia led the League of Nations to establish the Christy commission. Findings included government involvement in widespread "Forced or compulsory labour". Minority ethnic groups especially were exploited in a system that enriched well-connected elites.JOURNAL, Christy, Cuthbert, 15 December 1930, COMMISSION'S REPORT: INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY IN LIBERIA,weblink League of Nations, 127, As a result of the report, President Charles D. B. King and Vice President Allen N. Yancy resigned.WEB,weblink President Charles D.B. King, Van der Kraaij, Fred PM, February 5, 2018, Liberia Past and Present, In the mid-20th century Liberia gradually began to modernize with American assistance. During World War II the United States made major infrastructure improvements to support its military efforts in Africa and Europe against Germany. It built the Freeport of Monrovia and Roberts International Airport under the Lend-Lease program before its entry into the Second World War.JOURNAL, Marinelli, Lawrence, 1964, Liberia's Open Door Policy, The Journal of Modern African Studies, 2, 1, 91–98, 10.1017/s0022278x00003694, After the war President William Tubman encouraged foreign investment in the country. Liberia had the second-highest rate of economic growth in the world during the 1950s.Liberia also began to take a more active role in international affairs. It was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and became a vocal critic of the South African apartheid regime.NEWS,weblink Africa: A Vote on Apartheid, Time, July 29, 1966, July 20, 2011, Liberia also served as a proponent both of African independence from European colonial powers and of Pan-Africanism, and helped to fund the Organisation of African Unity.JOURNAL
, Adogamh
, Paul G.
, July 2008
, Pan-Africanism Revisited: Vision and Reality of African Unity and Development
, African Review of Integration
, 2
, 2
, July 20, 2011
, yes
,weblink" title="">weblink
, September 25, 2011
, mdy-all
, File:Technical Liberia.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|A technical in Monrovia during the Second Liberian Civil WarSecond Liberian Civil War

Late 20th-century political instability

On April 12, 1980, a military coup led by Master Sergeant Samuel Doe of the Krahn ethnic group overthrew and killed President William R. Tolbert, Jr. Doe and the other plotters later executed a majority of Tolbert's cabinet and other Americo-Liberian government officials and True Whig Party members.WEB, Anjali Mitter Duvatitle=Liberia and the United States: A Complex Relationship, PBS, 2002, July 20, 2011, The coup leaders formed the People's Redemption Council (PRC) to govern the country. A strategic Cold War ally of the West, Doe received significant financial backing from the United States while critics condemned the PRC for corruption and political repression.After Liberia adopted a new constitution in 1985, Doe was elected president in subsequent elections that were internationally condemned as fraudulent. On November 12, 1985, a failed counter-coup was launched by Thomas Quiwonkpa, whose soldiers briefly occupied the national radio station.NEWS,weblink title=LIBERIA Comrades Turned Enemies, Time, November 25, 1985, July 22, 2011, Government repression intensified in response, as Doe's troops retaliated by executing members of the Gio and Mano ethnic groups in Nimba County.The National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), a rebel group led by Charles Taylor, launched an insurrection in December 1989 against Doe's government with the backing of neighboring countries such as Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. This triggered the First Liberian Civil War.BOOK, Ellis, Stephen, The Mask of Anarchy Updated Edition: The Destruction of Liberia and the Religious Dimension of an African Civil War, NYU Press, 2001, 75, 0-8147-2238-5, By September 1990, Doe's forces controlled only a small area just outside the capital, and Doe was captured and executed in that month by rebel forces.NEWS,weblink Liberia country profile, BBC News, May 4, 2011, July 23, 2011, The rebels soon split into various factions fighting one another. The Economic Community Monitoring Group under the Economic Community of West African States organized a military task force to intervene in the crisis.{{failed verification|date=May 2019}} From 1989 to 1996, more than 200,000 Liberians died and a million others were displaced into refugee camps in neighboring countries. A peace deal between warring parties was reached in 1995, leading to Taylor's election as president in 1997.Under Taylor's leadership, Liberia became internationally known as a pariah state due to its use of blood diamonds and illegal timber exports to fund the Revolutionary United Front in the Sierra Leone Civil War.NEWS,weblink Arrest warrant for Liberian leader, BBC News, June 4, 2003, July 20, 2011, The Second Liberian Civil War began in 1999 when Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, a rebel group based in the northwest of the country, launched an armed insurrection against Taylor.
NEWS,weblink Indepth: Liberia, Land of the free, CBC News, July 23, 2009, yes,weblink" title="">weblink September 8, 2013


File:Ebola Monrovia 05.jpg|thumb|left|Ebola virus epidemic in LiberiaEbola virus epidemic in LiberiaIn March 2003, a second rebel group, Movement for Democracy in Liberia, began launching attacks against Taylor from the southeast. Peace talks between the factions began in Accra in June of that year, and Taylor was indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for crimes against humanity the same month. By July 2003, the rebels had launched an assault on Monrovia.NEWS,weblink Liberia's civil war: Fiddling while Monrovia burns, The Economist, July 24, 2003, July 22, 2011, Under heavy pressure from the international community and the domestic Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace movement,WEB,weblink Profile: Leymah Gbowee—Liberia's 'peace warrior', BBC News, October 7, 2011, October 20, 2011, Taylor resigned in August 2003 and went into exile in Nigeria.NEWS, Ann M., Simmons,weblink Taylor resigns as president of Liberia, leaves the country, Baltimore Sune, August 12, 2003, July 23, 2011, A peace deal was signed later that month.NEWS,weblink Liberian rebels sign peace deal, The Guardian, August 19, 2003, July 23, 2011, The United Nations Mission in Liberia began arriving in September 2003 to provide security and monitor the peace accord,WEB,weblink Liberia: UNMIL extends deployment as more troops arrive, IRIN News, December 24, 2003, July 23, 2011, and an interim government took power the following October.NEWS,weblink Bryant takes power in Liberia, The Guardian, October 14, 2003, July 23, 2011, The subsequent 2005 elections were internationally regarded as the most free and fair in Liberian history. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Harvard-educated economist and former Minister of Finance, was elected as the first female president in Africa. Upon her inauguration, Sirleaf requested the extradition of Taylor from Nigeria and transferred him to the SCSL for trial in The Hague.WEB,weblink LIBERIA-NIGERIA: "Time to bring Taylor issue to closure," says Sirleaf, IRIN News, March 17, 2006, July 23, 2011, WEB,weblink Taylor Sent Off to Face War Crimes Charges, AFP, UNMIL, March 29, 2006, July 23, 2011, yes,weblink" title="">weblink October 5, 2011, In 2006, the government established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address the causes and crimes of the civil war.WEB,weblink May 16, 2008, IRIN Africa, LIBERIA: War-battered nation launches truth commission, {{clearleft}}


(File:Topographic map of Liberia-en.svg|thumb|upright=1.35|A map of Liberia)(File:Koppen-Geiger Map LBR present.svg|thumb|Liberia map of Köppen climate classification.)Liberia is situated in West Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean to the country's southwest. It lies between latitudes 4° and 9°N, and longitudes 7° and 12°W.The landscape is characterized by mostly flat to rolling coastal plains that contain mangroves and swamps, which rise to a rolling plateau and low mountains in the northeast.BOOK, Bateman, Graham, Victoria Egan, Fiona Gold, Philip Gardner, Encyclopedia of World Geography, Barnes & Noble Books, New York, 2000, 161, 1-56619-291-9, Tropical rainforests cover the hills, while elephant grass and semi-deciduous forests make up the dominant vegetation in the northern sections. The equatorial climate, in the south of the country, is hot year-round with heavy rainfall from May to October with a short interlude in mid-July to August. During the winter months of November to March, dry dust-laden harmattan winds blow inland, causing many problems for residents.Liberia's watershed tends to move in a southwestern pattern towards the sea as new rains move down the forested plateau off the inland mountain range of Guinée Forestière, in Guinea. Cape Mount near the border with Sierra Leone receives the most precipitation in the nation.Liberia's main northwestern boundary is traversed by the Mano River while its southeast limits are bounded by the Cavalla River. Liberia's three largest rivers are St. Paul exiting near Monrovia, the river St. John at Buchanan, and the Cestos River, all of which flow into the Atlantic. The Cavalla is the longest river in the nation at {{convert|515|km|mi|sp=us}}.The highest point wholly within Liberia is Mount Wuteve at {{convert|1440|m|ft|0|sp=us}} above sea level in the northwestern Liberia range of the West Africa Mountains and the Guinea Highlands. However, Mount Nimba near Yekepa, is higher at {{convert|1752|m|ft|0|sp=us}} above sea level but is not wholly within Liberia as Nimba shares a border with Guinea and Ivory Coast and is their tallest mountain as well.Financial Time's World Desk Reference (2004) Dorling Kindersley Publishing, p. 368.


Forests on the coastline are composed mostly of salt-tolerant mangrove trees, while the more sparsely populated inland has forests opening onto a plateau of drier grasslands. The climate is equatorial, with significant rainfall during the May–October rainy season and harsh harmattan winds the remainder of the year. Liberia possesses about forty percent of the remaining Upper Guinean rainforest. It was an important producer of rubber in the early 20th century.

Administrative divisions

{{Counties of Liberia Image Map}}File:Bomi lake.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|A view of a lake in Bomi CountyBomi CountyLiberia is divided into fifteen counties, which, in turn, are subdivided into a total of 90 districts and further subdivided into clans. The oldest counties are Grand Bassa and Montserrado, both founded in 1839 prior to Liberian independence. Gbarpolu is the newest county, created in 2001. Nimba is the largest of the counties in size at {{convert|11551|km2|abbr=on}}, while Montserrado is the smallest at {{convert|1909|km2|abbr=on}}. Montserrado is also the most populous county with 1,144,806 residents as of the 2008 census.The fifteen counties are administered by superintendents appointed by the president. The Constitution calls for the election of various chiefs at the county and local level, but these elections have not taken place since 1985 due to war and financial constraints.NEWS,weblink Liberia cannot afford local polls, BBC News, January 14, 2008, Parallel to the administrative divisions of the country are the local and municipal divisions. Liberia currently does not have any constitutional framework or uniform statutes which deal with the creation or revocation of local governments.WEB, KIEH, JR., GEORGE KLAY, THE MODEL CITY STATUTE FOR THE LIBERIAN CITY,weblink[1].pdf,weblink" title="">weblink yes, 12 April 2019, Governance Commission of Liberia, GOVERNANCE COMMISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA, 20 July 2018, All existing local governments - cities, townships, and a borough - were created by specific acts of the Liberian government, and thus the structure and duties/responsibilities of each local government varies greatly from one to the other.{{citation needed|date=September 2019}}{| class="wikitable sortable"! Map #! County! Capital! Population(2008 Census)WEB,weblink 2008 National Population and Housing Census: Preliminary Results, 2008, Government of the Republic of Liberia, October 14, 2008, ! Area(km2)! Number ofDistricts! DateCreated 1 {{flagicon imageBomi County>BomiTubmanburg82,036{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}41984 2 {{flagicon imageBong County>BongGbarnga328,919{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}121964 3 {{flagicon imageGbarpolu County>GbarpoluBopolu83,758{{convertkm2|abbr=on}} 62001 4 {{flagicon imageGrand Bassa County>Grand BassaBuchanan224,839{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}81839 5 {{flagicon imageGrand Cape Mount County>Grand Cape MountRobertsport129,055{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}51844 6 {{flagicon imageGrand Gedeh County>Grand GedehZwedru126,146{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}31964 7 {{flagicon imageGrand Kru County>Grand KruBarclayville57,106{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}181984 8 {{flagicon imageLofa County>LofaVoinjama270,114{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}61964 9 {{flagicon imageMargibi County>MargibiKakata199,689{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}4198510 {{flagicon imageMaryland County>MarylandHarper136,404{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}2185711 {{flagicon imageMontserrado County>MontserradoBensonville1,144,806{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}4183912 {{flagicon imageNimba County>NimbaSanniquellie468,088{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}6196413 {{flagicon imageRivercess County>RivercessRivercess65,862{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}6198514 {{flagicon imageRiver Gee County>River GeeFish Town67,318{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}6200015 {{flagicon imageSinoe County>SinoeGreenville104,932{{convertkm2|abbr=on}}171843

Environmental issues

{{Further|Environmental issues in Liberia}}File:Choeropsis.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|Pygmy hippos are among the species illegally hunted for food in Liberia. The assessor=Lewison, R.|assessor2=Oliver, W. (IUCN SSC Hippo Specialist Subgroup)|last-assessor-amp=yes|year=2008|id=10032|title=Hexaprotodon liberiensis|downloaded=December 17, 2006}} Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of endangered.Endangered species are hunted for human consumption as bushmeat in Liberia. Species hunted for food in Liberia include elephants, pygmy hippopotamus, chimpanzees, leopards, duikers, and other monkeys. Bushmeat is often exported to neighboring Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, despite a ban on the cross-border sale of wild animals.Anne Look, "Poaching in Liberia's Forests Threatens Rare Animals" {{Webarchive|url= |date=March 4, 2016 }}, Voice of America News, May 8, 2012.Bushmeat is widely eaten in Liberia, and is considered a delicacy. A 2004 public opinion survey found that bushmeat ranked second behind fish amongst residents of the capital Monrovia as a preferred source of protein. Of households where bushmeat was served, 80% of residents said they cooked it "once in a while," while 13% cooked it once a week and 7% cooked bushmeat daily. The survey was conducted during the last civil war, and bushmeat consumption is now believed to be far higher.Wynfred Russell, "Extinction is forever: A crisis that is Liberia's endangered wildlife" {{Webarchive|url= |date=March 3, 2016 }}, Front Page Africa, January 15, 2014.(File:U.S.DOC(1965)_Liberia._Money_Trees.jpg|thumb|left|upright=1.15|Loggers and logging truck, early 1960s)Liberia is a global biodiversity hotspot—a significant reservoir of biodiversity that is under threat from humans.WEB,weblink Liberia in 'trees for cash' deal, Matt, McGrath, September 23, 2014,, Slash-and-burn agriculture is one of the human activities eroding Liberia's natural forests."Restoring the Battered and Broken Environment of Liberia One of the Keys to a New and Sustainable Future" {{webarchive|url= |date=November 8, 2014 }}, United Nations Environment Program, February 13, 2014. A 2004 UN report estimated that 99% of Liberians burned charcoal and fuel wood for cooking and heating, resulting in deforestation.Illegal logging has increased in Liberia since the end of the Second Civil War in 2003. In 2012 President Sirleaf granted licenses to companies to cut down 58% of all the primary rainforest left in Liberia. After international protests, many of those logging permits were canceled. In September 2014 Liberia and Norway struck an agreement whereby Liberia ceased all logging in exchange for $150 million in development aid.Pollution is a significant issue in Monrovia.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink y, Monrovia's 'Never-Ending' Pollution Issues In 2013, Edwin M. Fayia III, The Liberian Observer, December 30, 2014, December 26, 2016, September 1, 2019, Since 2006 the international community has paid for all garbage collection and disposal in Monrovia via the World Bank.WEB,weblink IDA - Liberia: Digging Out Monrovia from the Waste of War,,


File:Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf3.jpg|thumb|Former President Ellen Johnson SirleafEllen Johnson SirleafThe government of Liberia, modeled on the government of the United States, is a unitary constitutional republic and representative democracy as established by the Constitution. The government has three co-equal branches of government: the executive, headed by the president; the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Legislature of Liberia; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and several lower courts.The president serves as head of government, head of state, and the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia.WEB,weblink Liberia, The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency, Among the president's other duties are to sign or veto legislative bills, grant pardons, and appoint Cabinet members, judges, and other public officials. Together with the vice president, the president is elected to a six-year term by majority vote in a two-round system and can serve up to two terms in office.The Legislature is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The House, led by a speaker, has 73 members apportioned among the 15 counties on the basis of the national census, with each county receiving a minimum of two members. Each House member represents an electoral district within a county as drawn by the National Elections Commission and is elected by a plurality of the popular vote of their district into a six-year term. The Senate is made up of two senators from each county for a total of 30 senators. Senators serve nine-year terms and are elected at-large by a plurality of the popular vote. The vice president serves as the President of the Senate, with a President pro tempore serving in their absence.Liberia's highest judicial authority is the Supreme Court, made up of five members and headed by the Chief Justice of Liberia. Members are nominated to the court by the president and are confirmed by the Senate, serving until the age of 70. The judiciary is further divided into circuit and speciality courts, magistrate courts and justices of the peace.WEB,weblink Background Note: Liberia, Bureau of African Affairs, United States Department of State, March 8, 2011, The judicial system is a blend of common law, based on Anglo-American law, and customary law. An informal system of traditional courts still exists within the rural areas of the country, with trial by ordeal remaining common despite being officially outlawed.From 1877 to 1980 the government was dominated by the True Whig Party. Today over 20 political parties are registered in the country, based largely around personalities and ethnic groups. Most parties suffer from poor organizational capacity. The 2005 elections marked the first time that the president's party did not gain a majority of seats in the Legislature.


{{Further|Corruption in Liberia}}Corruption is endemic at every level of the Liberian government.WEB, 2010 Human Rights Report: Liberia,weblink US Department of State, January 10, 2013, When President Sirleaf took office in 2006, she announced that corruption was "the major public enemy." "Liberia: Police Corruption Harms Rights, Progress", Human Rights Watch, August 22, 2013. In 2014 the US ambassador to Liberia said that corruption there was harming people through "unnecessary costs to products and services that are already difficult for many Liberians to afford".WEB,weblink "Liberia: Corruption Is Liberia's Problem, US Ambassador to Liberia Alarms", Al-Varney Rogers, allAfrica, 21 February 2014.,, October 17, 2014, Liberia scored a 3.3 on a scale from 10 (highly clean) to 0 (highly corrupt) on the 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index. This gave it a ranking 87th of 178 countries worldwide and 11th of 47 in Sub-Saharan Africa.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, October 20, 2010, 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International, October 26, 2010, July 22, 2011, This score represented a significant improvement since 2007, when the country scored 2.1 and ranked 150th of 180 countries.WEB,weblink Corruption Perceptions Index 2007, Transparency International, 2007, July 22, 2011, When dealing with public-facing government functionaries, 89% of Liberians say they have had to pay a bribe, the highest national percentage in the world according to the organization's 2010 Global Corruption Barometer.WEB,weblink Global Corruption Barometer 2010, Transparency International, December 9, 2010, July 22, 2011,


The Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) are the country's armed forces. Founded as the Liberian Frontier Force in 1908, the military was renamed in 1956. For virtually all of its history, the AFL has received considerable material and training assistance from the United States. For most of the 1941–89 period, training was largely provided by U.S. advisers. After UN Security Council Resolution 1509 in September 2003, the United Nations Mission in Liberia arrived to referee the ceasefire with units from Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, and China with the view to assist the National Transitional Government of Liberia in forming the new Liberian military.Moumouni, Guillaume. (April 2014). "China and Liberia: Engagement in a Post-Conflict Country 2003–2013". Global Powers and Africa Programme. Occasional Paper No. 182{{Dead link|date=September 2018 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}. Johannesburg, South Africa: The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA). p. 8.

Foreign relations

File:Secretary Kerry Listens as Liberian President Sirleaf Addresses the Post-2015 Development Panel Discussion in New York City (21582539498).jpg|left|thumb|President Sirleaf with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, and British PM David CameronDavid Cameron{{Further|Foreign relations of Liberia}}After the turmoil following the First and Second Liberian Civil Wars, Liberia's internal stabilization in the 21st century brought a return to cordial relations with neighboring countries and much of the Western world. As in other African countries, China is an important part of the post-conflict reconstruction.BOOK, China and Africa, Moumouni, Guillaume, 2018, 978-3-319-52893-9, Alden, C., 225–251, China and Liberia: Engagement in a Post-Conflict Country (2003–2013), 10.1007/978-3-319-52893-9_12, Alao, A., Chun, Z., Barber, L., In the past, both of Liberia's neighbors, Guinea and Sierra Leone, have accused Liberia of backing rebels in their countries.

Law enforcement

{{Further|Law enforcement in Liberia}}The Liberian National Police is the country's national police force. As of October 2007 it has 844 officers in 33 stations in Montserrado County, which contains Monrovia.NEWS,weblink Montserrado County Development Agenda, 2008, Republic of Liberia, October 14, 2008, The National Police Training Academy is in Paynesville City.NEWS, Nine officials commissioned, October 11, 2008, The Analyst, A history of corruption among police officers diminishes public trust and operational effectiveness. The internal security is characterized by a general lawlessness coupled with the danger that former combatants in the late civil war might reestablish militias to challenge the civil authorities.Crane, Keith; Gompert, David C; Oliker, Olga; Riley, Kevin Jack; and Lawson, Brooke Stearns. (2007). Making Liberia safe : transformation of the national security sector. Santa Monica, CA : Rand. pp. 9-11. {{ISBN|9780833040084}}. Rand Corp website Retrieved 7 December 2017.{{clearleft}}

Economy and infrastructure

File:Liberia Export Treemap.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|A proportional representation of Liberian exports. The shipping related categories reflect Liberia's status as an international flag of convenienceflag of convenienceFile:Liberia, Trends in the Human Development Index 1970-2010.png|thumb|upright=1.35|Liberia, trends in the Human Development IndexHuman Development IndexThe Central Bank of Liberia is responsible for printing and maintaining the Liberian dollar, Liberia's primary currency. Liberia is one of the world's poorest countries, with a formal employment rate of 15%. GDP per capita peaked in 1980 at US$496, when it was comparable to Egypt's (at the time).WEB,weblink GDP per capita (current US$) |Data |Graph,, March 26, 2013, In 2011 the country's nominal GDP was US$1.154 billion, while nominal GDP per capita stood at US$297, the third-lowest in the world.WEB,weblink Liberia, International Monetary Fund, Historically the Liberian economy has depended heavily on foreign aid, foreign direct investment and exports of natural resources such as iron ore, rubber, and timber.Following a peak in growth in 1979, the Liberian economy began a steady decline due to economic mismanagement after the 1980 coup.WEB,weblink The Challenges of Post-War Reconstruction—the Liberian Experience, Government of Liberia,, June 13, 2011, This decline was accelerated by the outbreak of civil war in 1989; GDP was reduced by an estimated 90% between 1989 and 1995, one of the fastest declines in history. Upon the end of the war in 2003, GDP growth began to accelerate, reaching 9.4% in 2007.WEB,weblink Report for Selected Countries and Subjects: Liberia, International Monetary Fund, June 20, 2011, The global financial crisis slowed GDP growth to 4.6% in 2009, though a strengthening agricultural sector led by rubber and timber exports increased growth to 5.1% in 2010 and an expected 7.3% in 2011, making the economy one of the 20 fastest-growing in the world.WEB,weblink IMF Country Report No. 10/37, International Monetary Fund, 2010, WEB,weblink Liberian President: Government and People are Partners in Progress, January 27, 2011, Africa Governance Initiative, yes,weblink" title="">weblink December 20, 2016, mdy-all, Current impediments to growth include a small domestic market, lack of adequate infrastructure, high transportation costs, poor trade links with neighboring countries and the high dollarization of the economy. Liberia used the United States dollar as its currency from 1943 until 1982 and continues to use the U.S. dollar alongside the Liberian dollar.WEB,weblink Liberia Economic Recovery Assessment, USAID, July 2008, File:Young boy grinding sugar cane in Liberia.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|A boy grinding sugar canesugar caneFollowing a decrease in inflation beginning in 2003, inflation spiked in 2008 as a result of worldwide food and energy crises,WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 2012-03-25, Quarter Three Fiscal Outturn, Fiscal Year 2010/11, Ministry of Finance, May 2011, reaching 17.5% before declining to 7.4% in 2009. Liberia's external debt was estimated in 2006 at approximately $4.5 billion, 800% of GDP. As a result of bilateral, multilateral and commercial debt relief from 2007 to 2010, the country's external debt fell to $222.9 million by 2011.WEB,weblink Second Quarter 2010/2011 Public Debt Management Report, Debt Management Unit, Ministry of Finance, March 25, 2011, yes,weblink" title="">weblink September 10, 2013, While official commodity exports declined during the 1990s as many investors fled the civil war, Liberia's wartime economy featured the exploitation of the region's diamond wealth.NEWS,weblink Liberia's diamond links, BBC News, July 18, 2000, The country acted as a major trader in Sierra Leonian blood diamonds, exporting over US$300 million in diamonds in 1999.NEWS,weblink CBC News Indepth: Liberia, CBC News, March 29, 2006, yes,weblink" title="">weblink September 8, 2013, This led to a United Nations ban on Liberian diamond exports in 2001, which was lifted in 2007 following Liberia's accession to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.NEWS,weblink Liberia restarts diamond industry, USA Today, May 1, 2007, In 2003, additional UN sanctions were placed on Liberian timber exports, which had risen from US$5 million in 1997 to over US$100 million in 2002 and were believed to be funding rebels in Sierra Leone.WEB,weblink Bloody timber off the market, Greenpeace, May 7, 2003, WEB, Gary, Strieker,weblink U.N. mulls embargo on Liberian timber, CNN, January 13, 2002, These sanctions were lifted in 2006.WEB, Chenni, Xu,weblink UN Lifts Liberia Timber Sanctions, Voice of America, June 20, 2006, June 21, 2011,weblink" title="">weblink January 30, 2012, yes, Due in large part to foreign aid and investment inflow following the end of the war, Liberia maintains a large account deficit, which peaked at nearly 60% in 2008. Liberia gained observer status with the World Trade Organization in 2010 and is in the process of acquiring full member status.WEB,weblink Liberia gains WTO observer status, Star Radio Liberia, March 17, 2010, {{dead link|date=December 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}Liberia has the highest ratio of foreign direct investment to GDP in the world, with US$16 billion in investment since 2006. Following Sirleaf's inauguration in 2006, Liberia signed several multi-billion-dollar concession agreements in the iron ore and palm oil industries with numerous multinational corporations, including BHP Billiton, ArcelorMittal, and Sime Darby.WEB,weblink Government Announces Agreement with Chevron to Explore Liberian Waters,, August 27, 2010, Palm oil companies like Sime Darby (Malaysia) and Golden Veroleum (USA) have been accused of destroying livelihoods and displacing local communities, enabled by government concessions.WEB,weblink Palm oil industry accused of land grabs in Liberia,, December 27, 2012, Since 1926 The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company has operated the world's largest rubber plantation in Harbel, Margibi County. As of 2015 it had more than 8,000 mostly Liberian employees, making it the country's largest private employer.Fred van der Kraaij, From the love of liberty to paradise lost, p. 144, Leiden, African Studies Centre 2015, pdfWEB,weblink Firestone and Liberia – Company History, Firestone Natural Rubber Company, yes,weblink" title="">weblink June 12, 2011, mdy-all,

Shipping flag of convenience

Due to its status as a flag of convenience, Liberia has the second-largest maritime registry in the world behind Panama. It has 3,500 vessels registered under its flag, accounting for 11% of ships worldwide.


There are six major newspapers in Liberia, and 45% of the population has a mobile phone service.Much of Liberia's communications infrastructure was destroyed or plundered during the two civil wars (1989–1996 and 1999–2003).WEB,weblink PPIAF Supports Telecommunications Reform and Liberalization in Liberia, Public-Private Infrastructure Facility (PPIAF), July 2011, September 3, 2011, With low rates of adult literacy and high poverty rates, television and newspaper use is limited, leaving radio as the predominant means of communicating with the public."Introduction to Communication and Development in Liberia" {{Webarchive|url= |date=March 7, 2014 }}, AudienceScapes. Retrieved February 8, 2014.


File:Downtown Monrovia 3348917715 67a2002529.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|The streets of downtown MonroviaMonroviaLiberia's economic main links to the outside world come through Monrovia, via the port and airport in the capital.


{{Further|Energy in Liberia}}Public electricity services are provided solely by the state-owned Liberia Electricity Corporation, which operates a small grid almost exclusively in the Greater Monrovia District.WEB,weblink Options for the Development of Liberia's Energy Sector, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, World Bank Group, 2011, The vast majority of electric energy services is provided by small, privately-owned generators. At $0.54 per kWh, the cost of electricity in Liberia is among the highest in the world. Total capacity in 2013 was 20 MW, a sharp decline from a peak of 191 MW in 1989 before the wars.Completion of the repair and expansion of the Mount Coffee Hydropower Project, with a maximum capacity of 80 MW, is scheduled to be completed by 2018.NEWS, Clair, MacDougall, Liberia: Stepping Back Into The Light?, ThinkPressAfrica, July 18, 2012, Construction of three new heavy fuel oil power plants is expected to boost electrical capacity by 38 MW.NEWS,weblink Liberia: Massive Electrification Boost,, November 27, 2013, In 2013, Liberia began importing power from neighboring Ivory Coast and Guinea through the West African Power Pool.NEWS, Joe, Teh,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, June 9, 2014, Behind The Power Switch in Nimba, An optimism for Vibrant Economy, The News Pinnacle, July 30, 2013, Liberia has begun exploration for offshore oil; unproven oil reserves may be in excess of one billion barrels.NEWS,weblink Liberia may have over 1 bln barrels in oil resources, Reuters Africa, November 3, 2009, The government divided its offshore waters into 17 blocks and began auctioning off exploration licenses for the blocks in 2004, with further auctions in 2007 and 2009.WEB,weblink NOCAL 2004 Liberia Offshore Bid Round Announcement, Business Wire, February 2, 2004, WEB, Natalie Obiko, Pearson,weblink Liberia Opens Bidding for 10 Offshore Oil Blocks, RigZone, December 10, 2007, WEB,weblink Third Liberian Offshore Petroleum Licensing Round 2009, Deloitte Petroleum Services, Deloitte, August 27, 2009, yes,weblink November 4, 2013, An additional 13 ultra-deep offshore blocks were demarcated in 2011 and planned for auction.WEB, Alphonso, Toweh,weblink Liberia marks out new oil blocks, auction seen soon, Reuters, July 21, 2011, August 22, 2011, Among the companies to have won licenses are Repsol YPF, Chevron Corporation, and Woodside Petroleum.WEB, Ansu, Konneh,weblink Chevron, Liberia Sign Deepwater Offshore Exploration Agreement, Bloomberg News, August 30, 2010,


File:Liberia-demography.png|thumb|upright=1.35|Liberia's population from 1961–2013, in millions.Data of FAOFAOFile:Pyramide Liberia.PNG|thumb|upright=1.35|Liberia's population pyramidpopulation pyramid{{See also|Liberian nationality law}}As of the 2017 national census, Liberia was home to 4,694,608 people.WEB,weblink 2008 National Population and Housing Census Final Results: Population by County, Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, May 2009, 2017 Population and Housing Census, Republic of Liberia, June 10, 2009, Of those, 1,118,241 lived in Montserrado County, the most populous county in the country and home to the capital of Monrovia. The Greater Monrovia District has 970,824 residents.WEB,weblink 2008 National Population and Housing Census Final Results: Population by County, Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, May 2009, 2008 Population and Housing Census, Republic of Liberia, June 10, 2009, Nimba County is the next most populous county, with 462,026 residents. As revealed in the 2008 census, Monrovia is more than four times more populous than all the county capitals combined.Prior to the 2008 census, the last census had been taken in 1984 and listed the country's population as 2,101,628. The population of Liberia was 1,016,443 in 1962 and increased to 1,503,368 in 1974. {{As of|2006}}, Liberia had the highest population growth rate in the world (4.50% per annum).United Nations World Population Prospects: 2006 revision – Table A.8 In 2010 some 43.5% of Liberians were below the age of 15.

Ethnic groups

The population includes 16 indigenous ethnic groups and various foreign minorities. Indigenous peoples comprise about 95 percent of the population. The 16 officially recognized ethnic groups include the Kpelle, Bassa, Mano, Gio or Dan, Kru, Grebo, Krahn, Vai, Gola, Mandingo or Mandinka, Mende, Kissi, Gbandi, Loma, Dei or Dewoin, Belleh, and Americo-Liberians or Congo people.The Kpelle comprise more than 20% of the population and are the largest ethnic group in Liberia, residing mostly in Bong County and adjacent areas in central Liberia.WEB,weblink Kpelle, Alan, Fiske,, Americo-Liberians, who are descendants of African American and West Indian, mostly Barbadian settlers, make up 2.5%. Congo people, descendants of repatriated Congo and Afro-Caribbean slaves who arrived in 1825, make up an estimated 2.5%.WEB,weblink Liberia's Ugly Past: Re-writing Liberian History,, January 3, 2010, These latter two groups established political control in the 19th century which they kept well into the 20th century.Numerous immigrants have come as merchants and become a major part of the business community, including Lebanese, Indians, and other West African nationals. There is a high percentage of interracial marriage between ethnic Liberians and the Lebanese, resulting in a significant mixed-race population especially in and around Monrovia. A small minority of Liberians who are White Africans of European descent reside in the country.{{Better source|reason= CIA Fact Book is no authority to populations in Liberia|date=November 2015}} The Liberian constitution restricts citizenship to "Negroes or persons of Negro descent."WEB,weblink The Constitution of the Republic of Liberia - Chapter IV: Citizenship,, 2018-11-29,


{{Further|Languages of Liberia}}English is the official language and serves as the lingua franca of Liberia.WEB, Jina, Moore,weblink Liberia: Ma Ellen talk plenty plenty Liberian English, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, October 19, 2009, July 22, 2011, Thirty-one indigenous languages are spoken in Liberia, but each is a first language for only a small percentage of the population.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink October 18, 2011, Languages of Liberia, Ethnologue, 2009, July 22, 2011, Liberians also speak a variety of creolized dialects collectively known as Liberian English.

Largest cities

{{Largest cities of Liberia}}


{{bar box |float=right |titlebar=#dddReligion in Liberia (2010)HTTP://WWW.GLOBALRELIGIOUSFUTURES.ORG/COUNTRIES/LIBERIA#/?AFFILIATIONS_RELIGION_ID=0&AFFILIATIONS_YEAR=2010®ION_NAME=ALL+COUNTRIES&RESTRICTIONS_YEAR=2015WEBSITE=WWW.GLOBALRELIGIOUSFUTURES.ORG, |left1=Religion|right1=percent|bars={{bar percent|Protestantism|lightBlue|76.3}}{{bar percent|Islam|green|12.2}}{{bar percent|Roman Catholicism|red|7.2}}{{bar percent|Other Christian|blue|1.6}}{{bar percent|Unaffiliated|Lavender|1.4}}{{bar percent|Other faith|grey|1.3}}}}According to the 2008 National Census, 85.6% of the population practices Christianity, while Muslims represent a minority of 12.2%.WEB,weblink 2008 Population and Housing Census: Final Results, Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, May 2009, A4-84, 21 April 2018, A multitude of diverse Protestant confessions such as Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, United Methodist, African Methodist Episcopal (AME) and African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) denominations form the bulk of the Christian population, followed by adherents of the Roman Catholic Church and other non-Protestant Christians. Most of these Christian denominations were brought by African American settlers moving from the United States into Liberia via the American Colonization Society, while some are indigenous—especially Pentecostal and evangelical Protestant ones. Protestantism was originally associated with Black American settlers and their Americo-Liberian descendants, while native peoples held to their own animist forms of African traditional religion. Indigenous people were subject to Christian missionary, as well as Americo-Liberian efforts to close the cultural gap by means of education. This proved successful, leaving Christians a majority in the country.Muslims comprise 12.2% of the population, largely represented by the Mandingo and Vai ethnic groups. Liberian Muslims are divided between Sunnis, Shias, Ahmadiyyas, Sufis, and non-denominational Muslims.Pew Forum on Religious & Public life. August 9, 2012. Retrieved October 29, 2013Traditional indigenous religions are practiced by 0.5% of the population, while 1.5% subscribe to no religion. A small number of people are Bahá'í, Hindu, Sikh, or Buddhist. While Christian, many Liberians also participate in traditional, gender-based indigenous religious secret societies, such as Poro for men and Sande for women. The all-female Sande society practices female circumcision.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, November 23, 2010, International Religious Freedom Report 2010: Liberia, United States Department of State, November 17, 2010, July 22, 2011, The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally respects this right. While separation of church and state is mandated by the Constitution, Liberia is considered a Christian state in practice.WEB,weblink Freedom in the World 2011 – Liberia, Freedom House, UNHCR, July 7, 2011, July 22, 2011, Public schools offer biblical studies, though parents may opt their children out. Commerce is prohibited by law on Sundays and major Christian holidays. The government does not require businesses or schools to excuse Muslims for Friday prayers.{{clear}}


File:Liberian students.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|Students studying by candlelight in Bong CountyBong CountyIn 2010, the literacy rate of Liberia was estimated at 60.8% (64.8% for males and 56.8% for females).WEB,weblink Education profile – Liberia, Institute for Statistics, UNESCO, 2010, July 20, 2011, In some areas primary and secondary education is free and compulsory from the ages of 6 to 16, though enforcement of attendance is lax.WEB,weblink LIBERIA: Go to school or go to jail, September 21, 2007, IRN, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, April 8, 2009, In other areas children are required to pay a tuition fee to attend school. On average, children attain 10 years of education (11 for boys and 8 for girls). The country's education sector is hampered by inadequate schools and supplies, as well as a lack of qualified teachers.WEB, Sidiki, Trawally, Derek, Reeves,weblink Making Quality Education Affordable And Assessable To All—Prez. Sirleaf's Vision With Passion, Lift Liberia, 2009, July 20, 2011, yes,weblink" title="">weblink May 12, 2013, Higher education is provided by a number of public and private universities. The University of Liberia is the country's largest and oldest university. Located in Monrovia, the university opened in 1862. Today it has six colleges, including a medical school and the nation's only law school, Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law.Jallah, David A. B. "Notes, Presented by Professor and Dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia, David A. B. Jallah to the International Association of Law Schools Conference Learning From Each Other: Enriching the Law School Curriculum in an Interrelated World Held at Soochow University Kenneth Wang School of Law, Suzhou, China, October 17–19, 2007." International Association of Law Schools. Retrieved on September 1, 2008.In 2009, Tubman University in Harper, Maryland County was established as the second public university in Liberia.NEWS,weblink Ellen Describes Tubman University's Opening As PRS Success, The New Dawn, March 3, 2010, July 22, 2010, Since 2006, the government has also opened community colleges in Buchanan, Sanniquellie, and Voinjama.WEB,weblink Remarks by H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf At Official Launch and Fundraising Program Of the Grand Bassa Community College, The Executive Mansion, October 21, 2010, July 22, 2011, WEB, Peter A., Fahn,weblink Government Moves Ahead With Education Decentralization Plans, July 7, 2011, August 3, 2011, WEB,weblink" title="">weblinkweblink July 26 Celebrations Kick Off in Lofa As President Sirleaf Arrives, The Executive Mansion, July 25, 2011, October 4, 2011, August 29, 2013, Due to student protests late in October 2018, newly elected president George M. Weah abolished tuition fees for undergraduate students in the public universities in Liberia.NEWS,weblink Liberia's Weah announces free tuition for undergrads, 25 October 2018, Mail & Guardian, 20 March 2018, Agence France-Presse,

Private universities

  • Stella Maris Polytechnic, a post-secondary, private institution of higher learning. Founded in 1988, the school is owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia. Located on Capitol Hill, the school has approximately 2,000 students.WEB,weblink Stella Maris Polytechnic, 2013, smp>edu, 20 March 2019,
  • Adventist University of West Africa, a post-secondary learning environment that is situated in Margibi County, on the Roberts International Airport.WEB,weblink Adventist University of West Africa, auwa,edu, 20 March 2019,
  • United Methodist University, a private Christian university located in Liberia, West Africa, it is commonly known amongst locals as UMU. As of 2016, it had approximately 9,118 students. This institution was founded in 1998.WEB,weblink United Methodist University, 2019, umu'edu, 20 March 2019,
  • African Methodist Episcopal University, a private higher education institution that was founded in 1995.WEB,weblink African Methodist Episcopal University,, 20 March 2019,


{{Further|Health in Liberia}}Hospitals in Liberia include the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia and several others. Life expectancy in Liberia is estimated to be 57.4 years in 2012.WEB,weblink CIA World Factbook: Life Expectancy ranks, CIA, April 26, 2012, With a fertility rate of 5.9 births per woman, the maternal mortality rate stood at 990 per 100,000 births in 2010.WEB,weblink The State of the World's Midwifery 2011: Liberia, United Nations Population Fund, August 2, 2011, A number of highly communicable diseases are widespread, including tuberculosis, diarrheal diseases and malaria. In 2007, the HIV infection rates stood at 2% of the population aged 15–49WEB,weblink Data: Prevalence of HIV, total (% of population ages 15–49), The World Bank, February 23, 2011, whereas the incidence of tuberculosis was 420 per 100,000 people in 2008.WEB,weblink Liberia: Health profile, World Health Organization, February 23, 2011, Approximately 58.2%NEWS, Female genital mutilation (FGM),weblink World Health Organization, – 66%UNICEF 2013, p. 27. of women are estimated to have undergone female genital mutilation.Liberia imports 90% of its rice, a staple food, and is extremely vulnerable to food shortages.WEB,weblink Liberia: Nurtitional "crisis" in Monrovia, Integrated Regional Information Networks. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, February 24, 2011, In 2007, 20.4% of children under the age of five were malnourished.WEB,weblink Data: Malnutrition prevalence, weight for age (% of children under 5). The, World Bank, February 23, 2011, In 2008, only 17% of the population had access to adequate sanitation facilities.WEB,weblink Data: Improved sanitation facilities (% of population with access), The World Bank, February 23, 2011, Approximately 95% of the country's healthcare facilities had been destroyed by the time civil war ended in 2003.WEB,weblink Liberia: Breathing Life into ailing healthcare system, Integrated Regional Information Networks. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, February 24, 2011, In 2009, government expenditure on health care per capita was US$22,WEB,weblink Data: Health expenditure per capita (current US$), World Bank, February 23, 2011, accounting for 10.6% of total GDP.WEB,weblink Data: Health expenditure, total (% of GDP), World Bank, February 23, 2011, In 2008, Liberia had only one doctor and 27 nurses per 100,000 people.In 2014, an outbreak of Ebola virus in Guinea spread to Liberia.NEWS, Alphonso, Toweh, March 30, 2014, Liberian health authorities confirm two cases of Ebola: WHO,weblink Reuters, March 30, 2014, {{as of|2014|November|17|df=US}}, there were 2,812 confirmed deaths from the ongoing outbreak.WEB,weblink How Liberia (Might Have) Beat Ebola, The Daily Beast, November 17, 2014, In early August 2014 Guinea closed its borders to Liberia to help contain the spread of the virus, as more new cases were being reported in Liberia than in Guinea. On May 9, 2015, Liberia was declared Ebola free after six weeks with no new cases.NEWS, Wonderful News Liberia after plague,weblink The Economist, May 11, 2015, According to an Overseas Development Institute report, private health expenditure accounts for 64.1% of total spending on health.Marc DuBois and Caitlin Wake, with Scarlett Sturridge and Christina Bennett (2015) The Ebola response in West Africa: Exposing the politics and culture of international aid London: Overseas Development Institute


Rape and sexual assault are frequent in the post-conflict era in Liberia. Liberia has one of the highest incidences of sexual violence against women in the world. Rape is the most frequently reported crime, accounting for more than one-third of sexual violence cases. Adolescent girls are the most frequently assaulted, and almost 40% of perpetrators are adult men known to victims.Nicola Jones, Janice Cooper, Elizabeth Presler-Marshall and David Walker, June 2014; "The fallout of rape as a weapon of war", ODI;weblink male and female homosexuality are illegal in Liberia.WEB, State Sponsored Homophobia 2016: A world survey of sexual orientation laws: criminalisation, protection and recognition,weblink International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, May 17, 2016, NEWS, Daniel, Avery, 71 Countries Where Homosexuality is Illegal,weblink Newsweek, 4 April 2019, On July 20, 2012, the Liberian senate voted unanimously to enact legislation to prohibit and criminalize same-sex marriages.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink y, "Senate Passes 'No Same Sex Marriage' Bill ", Daily Observer, 21 July 2012, August 5, 2012, September 1, 2019,


File:Brooklyn Museum 1998.80.2 Helmet Mask for Sande Society.jpg|thumb|Bassa culture. Helmet Mask for Sande Society (Ndoli Jowei), Liberia. 20th century. Brooklyn MuseumBrooklyn MuseumThe religious practices, social customs and cultural standards of the Americo-Liberians had their roots in the antebellum American South. The settlers wore top hat and tails and modeled their homes on those of Southern slaveowners.WEB, Teresa, Wiltz,weblink Liberia: War-Weary, With Echoes of Old Dixie, The Root, December 2, 2010, July 23, 2011, yes,weblink" title="">weblink September 1, 2011, mdy-all, Most Americo-Liberian men were members of the Masonic Order of Liberia, which became heavily involved in the nation's politics.WEB,weblink Monrovia—Masonic Grand Lodge, Global Security, July 23, 2011, Liberia has a rich history in textile arts and quilting, as the settlers brought with them their sewing and quilting skills. Liberia hosted National Fairs in 1857 and 1858 in which prizes were awarded for various needle arts. One of the most well-known Liberian quilters was Martha Ann Ricks,WEB,weblink Martha Ricks, National Portrait Gallery, December 12, 2008, who presented a quilt featuring the famed Liberian coffee tree to Queen Victoria in 1892. When President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf moved into the Executive Mansion, she reportedly had a Liberian-made quilt installed in her presidential office.WEB,weblink May 16, 2008, Liberia: It's the Little Things—A Reflection on Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's Journey to the Presidency,, A rich literary tradition has existed in Liberia for over a century. Edward Wilmot Blyden, Bai T. Moore, Roland T. Dempster and Wilton G. S. Sankawulo are among Liberia's more prominent authors.NEWS, Varney, Kamara,weblink Liberia: "Literature Must Be Given Priority", The Analyst,, July 20, 2010, July 23, 2011, Moore's novella Murder in the Cassava Patch is considered Liberia's most celebrated novel.WEB, J. Kpanneh, Doe,weblink Baa Salaka: Sacrificial Lamb – A Book Review & Commentary, The Perspective, October 31, 2000, July 23, 2011,


{{Further|Polygamy in Liberia}}One-third of married Liberian women between the ages of 15–49 are in polygamous marriages.OECD Atlas of Gender and Development: How Social Norms Affect Gender Equality in non-OECD Countries, OECD Publishing, 2010. p 236. Customary law allows men to have up to four wives.Olukoju, Ayodeji. "Gender Roles, Marriage and Family", Culture and Customs of Liberia. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2006, p. 97.


File:Beachside Barbeque (6831739276).jpg|thumb|A beachside barbeque at Sinkor, MonroviaMonroviaLiberian cuisine heavily incorporates rice, the country's staple food. Other ingredients include cassava, fish, bananas, citrus fruit, plantains, coconut, okra and sweet potatoes.WEB,weblink Celtnet Liberian Recipes and Cookery, Celtnet Recipes, July 23, 2011, yes,weblink" title="">weblink September 3, 2011, Heavy stews spiced with habanero and scotch bonnet chillies are popular and eaten with fufu.WEB,weblink Liberia, Food in Every Country, August 27, 2013, Liberia also has a tradition of baking imported from the United States that is unique in West Africa.WEB,weblink The Baking Recipes of Liberia, Africa Aid, July 23, 2011,


The most popular sport in Liberia is association football, with President George Weah — the only African to be named FIFA World Player of the Year — being the nation's most famous athlete."Iconic Weah a true great". Retrieved November 17, 2013NEWS, George Weah: Ex-AC Milan, Chelsea & Man City striker elected Liberia president,weblink BBC, 22 June 2018, The Liberia national football team has reached the Africa Cup of Nations finals twice, in 1996 and 2002.The second most popular sport in Liberia is basketball. The Liberian national basketball team has reached the AfroBasket twice, in 1983 and 2007.In Liberia, the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex serves as a multi-purpose stadium. It hosts FIFA World Cup qualifying matches in addition to international concerts and national political events.NEWS, Liberia:Chaos Mars Grand Bassa and Nimba Clash,weblink October 9, 2016, All Africa, January 21, 2012,

Measurement system

Liberia is one of only three countries that have not officially adopted the International System of Units (short SI, also called the metric system), the others being the United States and Myanmar.
  • In the United States, the Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act amended the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 and designated the metric system as "the Preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce", but is mixed in consumer usage, with the population generally preferring customary units and industries either fully metric or mixed.Metrication in the United States{{Circular reference|date=February 2018}}
  • Myanmar has made an official decision to metricate and, since 2013, has been transitioning away from Imperial and Burmese units in the past few years. Gasoline sales are now in litres.WEB

, CIA The World Factbook
, 2010
, Appendix G: Weights and Measures
, US Central Intelligence Agency
, April 24, 2010
, The Liberian government has begun transitioning away from use of United States Customary Units to the metric system.WEB
, Reforming Cocoa and Coffee Marketing in Liberia
, Wilcox, Michael D., Jr. Department of Agricultural Economics University of Tennessee
, 2008
, Presentation and Policy Brief
, University of Tennessee
, April 25, 2010
, yes
,weblink" title="">weblink
, June 24, 2010
, However, this change has been gradual, with government reports concurrently using both United States Customary and metric units.WEB
,weblink" title="">weblink
, January 14, 2010
, County Development Agendas
, Government of Liberia
, 2008
, Government of the Republic of Liberia
, May 1, 2010
,weblink" title="">weblink
, yes
, April 10, 2011
, Annual report
, Shannon, Eugene H.
, December 31, 2009
, Liberian Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy
, May 1, 2010
, In 2018 the Liberian Commerce and Industry Minister announced that the Liberian government are committed to adopting the metric system.WEB,weblink Gov't Pledges Commitment to Adopt Metric System, Robin, Dopoe, May 25, 2018, September 1, 2019,

See also



Further reading

  • Cooper, Helene, House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood (Simon & Schuster, 2008, {{ISBN|0-7432-6624-2}})
  • BOOK, Africa in World History, From Prehistory to the Present, October 2003, Prentice Hall, 978-0-13-092907-5, Paperback
author2=Reynolds, Jonathan T,
  • BOOK, Too Late to Turn Back, March 5, 1991, Penguin, 0-14-009594-2, Greene, Barbara,weblink
  • BOOK, Journey Without Maps, Vintage, 1936, 978-0-09-928223-5, Greene, Graham, Journey Without Maps
  • BOOK, Long Story Bit By Bit: Liberia Retold, New York: Umbrage, 2009, 978-1-884167-73-7, Hetherington, Tim
  • BOOK, Mississippi in Africa: The Saga of the Slaves of Prospect Hill Plantation and Their Legacy in Liberia Today, Gotham Books, 2004, 978-1-59240-044-7, Huffman, Alan,weblink
  • BOOK,weblink Liberia : From the Love of Liberty to Paradise Lost, African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2015, 978-90-54481447, Kraaij, Fred, van der
  • Lang, Victoria, To Liberia: Destiny's Timing (Publish America, Baltimore, 2004, {{ISBN|1-4137-1829-9}}). A fast-paced gripping novel of the journey of a young Black couple fleeing America to settle in the African motherland of Liberia.
  • Maksik, Alexander, A Marker to Measure Drift (John Murray 2013; Paperback 2014; {{ISBN|978-1-84854-807-7}}). A beautifully written, powerful & moving novel about a young woman's experience of and escape from the Liberian civil war.
  • BOOK, Merriam Webster's Geographical Dictionary: 3rd Edition, Merriam Webster Inc., Springfield, 1997, 0-87779-546-0, Paperback,weblink
  • Mwakikagile, Godfrey, Military Coups in West Africa Since The Sixties, Chapter Eight: Liberia: 'The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here,' pp. 85–110, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., Huntington, New York, 2001; Godfrey Mwakikagile, The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, Chapter One: The Collapse of A Modern African State: Death and Rebirth of Liberia, pp. 1–18, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2001.
  • BOOK, Liberia: Portrait of a Failed State, April 4, 2001, Reed Press, 1-59429-012-1, Pham, John-Peter,weblink
  • Sankawulo, Wilton, Great Tales of Liberia. Dr. Sankawulo is the compiler of these tales from Liberia and about Liberian culture. Editura Universitatii "Lucian Blaga", Sibiu, Romania, 2004. {{ISBN|9789736518386}}.
  • Sankawulo, Wilton, Sundown at Dawn: A Liberian Odyssey. Recommended by the Cultural Resource Center, Center for Applied Linguistics for its content concerning Liberian culture. {{ISBN|0-9763565-0-3}}
  • Shaw, Elma, Redemption Road: The Quest for Peace and Justice in Liberia (a novel), with a Foreword by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Cotton Tree Press, 2008, {{ISBN|978-0-9800774-0-7}})
  • BOOK, Liberia: The Heart of Darkness, July 6, 2006, Trafford Publishing, 1-55369-294-2, Williams, Gabriel I. H.

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