Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Liberia Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Liberia

travel guide

Liberia, formally the Republic of Liberia, is a West African country. Liberia is a Latin word that meaning “Land of the Free.” It is bounded on the west by Sierra Leone, on the north by Guinea, and on the east by Ivory Coast. It has a population of 4,503,000 people and an area of 111,369 square kilometers (43,000 square miles). The official language is English, while over 20 indigenous languages are spoken, reflecting the several tribes that make up more than 95 percent of the population.

The woods along the coast are primarily made up of salt-tolerant mangrove trees, but the sparsely inhabited hinterland contains forests that open into a plateau of drier grasslands. The climate is tropical, with substantial rains from May to October and strong harmattan winds the rest of the year. Liberia is home to around 40% of the surviving Upper Guinean rainforest. In the early twentieth century, it was a major producer of rubber.

The Republic of Liberia originated as an American Colonization Society (ACS) colony, which felt that blacks would have greater possibilities for freedom in Africa than in the United States. On July 26, 1847, the nation declared its independence. The United States did not acknowledge Liberia’s independence until February 5, 1862, during the American Civil War. Between January 7, 1822, until the American Civil War, almost 15,000 emancipated and free-born black Americans, as well as 3,198 Afro-Caribbeans, migrated to the colony. The black Americans who settled in Liberia brought their culture with them. Liberia’s constitution and flag were based after those of the United States. After Liberia’s people declared independence on January 3, 1848, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a rich, free-born black American from Virginia who had established in the country, was elected as the country’s first president.

Liberia, Africa’s first and oldest modern republic, is the only African republic to have self-proclaimed independence rather than winning independence through a revolution from another nation. During the European colonial era, Liberia preserved and held its independence. During World War II, Liberia assisted the United States’ war effort against Germany, and the United States, in turn, invested in significant infrastructure in Liberia to aid its war effort, which also benefited the country in upgrading and strengthening its main air transportation facilities.

Furthermore, President William Tubman advocated for economic improvements. Liberia was a founder member of the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the Organization of African Unity on a global scale. Political tensions from William R. Tolbert’s administration led in a military coup in 1980 that ousted his leadership soon after his death, ushering in years of political instability. The First and Second Liberian Civil Wars followed five years of military control by the People’s Redemption Council and five years of civilian governance by the National Democratic Party of Liberia. More than 500,000 people were killed or displaced as a result of these events, which destroyed Liberia’s economy. A 2003 peace treaty resulted in democratic elections in 2005. The recovery process is ongoing, although around 85 percent of the population lives below the international poverty level.

Ebola virus outbreak endangered Liberia’s economic and political stability in the 2010s; it began in Guinea in December 2013, spread to Liberia in March 2014, and was declared officially over on May 8, 2015.

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Liberia - Info Card

Population

5,214,030

Currency

Liberian dollar (LRD)

Time zone

UTC (GMT)

Area

111,369 km2 (43,000 sq mi)

Calling code

+231

Official language

English

Liberia - Introduction

Geography

Liberia is a West African nation that borders the North Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. It is located between 4° and 9° north latitude and 7° and 12° west longitude.

In the northeast, the terrain is characterized by mainly flat to rolling coastal lowlands with mangroves and marshes, which ascend to a rolling plateau and low mountains.

The hills are covered with tropical rainforests, while elephant grass and semi-deciduous woods dominate the northern parts. The tropical environment is hot all year, with significant rain from May to October and a little respite from mid-July to August. Dry dust-laden harmattanwinds blow inland throughout the winter months of November to March, creating many difficulties for inhabitants.

As fresh rains flow down the wooded plains from the interior mountain range of Guinée Forestière in Guinea, Liberia’s watershed tends to migrate in a southwestern direction towards the sea. Cape Mount, near the Sierra Leone border, gets the greatest precipitation in the country.

The Mano River runs across Liberia’s major northern border, while the Cavalla River runs through its southeast. The St. Paul River, which exits at Monrovia, the St. John River in Buchanan, and the Cestos River, all of which run into the Atlantic, are Liberia’s three biggest rivers. With a length of 515 kilometers, the Cavalla is the country’s longest river (320 mi).

Mount Wuteve, at 1,440 meters (4,724 feet) above sea level in the northern Liberia range of the West Africa Mountains and the Guinea Highlands, is the highest peak entirely inside Liberia.

Mount Nimba near Yekepa, on the other hand, is higher at 1,752 meters (5,748 feet) above sea level, but it is not entirely inside Liberia since it shares a border with Guinea and the Ivory Coast, and it is also their highest peak.

Demographics

Liberia had a population of 3,476,608 persons according to the 2008 national census. Montserrado County, the country’s most populated county and home to the capital of Monrovia, has 1,118,241 residents. The Greater Monrovia District has a population of 970,824 people. With 462,026 inhabitants, Nimba County is the second most populated county. Monrovia has more than four times the population of all the county capitals combined, according to the 2008 census.

Prior to the 2008 census, the most recent census was in 1984, when the country’s population was estimated to be 2,101,628 people. Liberia’s population grew from 1,016,443 in 1962 to 1,503,368 in 1974. Liberia has the world’s fastest population growth rate as of 2006. (4.50 percent per annum). Liberians under the age of 15 accounted for 43.5 percent of the population in 2010.

Ethnic groups

There are 16 indigenous ethnic groups as well as numerous immigrant minorities in the community. Indigenous peoples make up about 95% of the population. The Kpelle, Bassa, Mano, Gio or Dan, Kru, Grebo, Krahn, Vai, Gola, Mandingo or Mandinka, Mende, Kissi, Gbandi, Loma, Fante, Dei or Dewoin, Belleh, and Americo-Liberians or Congo people are among the 16 officially recognized ethnic groups.

The Kpelle make up more than 20% of Liberia’s population and are the country’s biggest ethnic group, living mostly in Bong County and surrounding regions in central Liberia. Americo-Liberians, descendants of African American and West Indian immigrants, mainly Barbadians, make about 2.5 percent of the population. An estimated 2.5 percent of the population are Congo people, descendants of repatriated Congo and Afro-Caribbean slaves who came in 1825. In the 19th century, these two factions gained political dominance, which they maintained far into the 20th century.

Many immigrants, including Lebanese, Indians, and other West African nationalities, have arrived as merchants and have formed an important part of the commercial sector. Interracial marriages between ethnic Liberians and Lebanese are common, resulting in a large mixed-race population, particularly in and around Monrovia. Liberians of European ancestry make up a tiny minority in the nation. Citizenship in Liberia is limited to individuals of Black African ancestry, according to the country’s constitution.

Religion

According to the 2008 National Census, Christianity is practiced by 85.5 percent of the population. Muslims make up 12.2 percent of the population, with the Mandingo and Vai ethnic groups making up the majority. The majority of Liberian Muslims are Sunnis, Shias, Ahmadiyyas, Sufis, and non-denominational Muslims.

Traditional indigenous faiths are followed by 0.5 percent of the population, whereas 1.5 percent of the population has no religious affiliation. A tiny percentage of the population is Bahá’, Hindu, Sikh, or Buddhist. Many Liberians are Christian, but they also belong to traditional, gender-based indigenous religious secret organizations like Poro for men and Sande for women. Female circumcision is practiced in the all-female Sande culture.

The right to freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Constitution, and the government usually upholds this right. Liberia is a Christian state in reality, notwithstanding the Constitution’s requirement for separation of religion and state. Biblical studies are taught in public schools, although parents have the option of opting their children out. On Sundays and important Christian holidays, commerce is banned by law. Businesses and institutions are not required by law to exempt Muslims from Friday prayers.

Economy and infrastructure

The Liberian dollar, which is the country’s principal form of money, is printed and maintained by the Central Bank of Liberia. Liberia is one of the poorest nations in the world, with a formal employment rate of just 15%. In 1980, the GDP per capita reached a high of $496, which was similar to Egypt’s (at the time). The country’s nominal GDP was US$1.154 billion in 2011, with a nominal GDP per capita of US$297, the world’s third-lowest. Liberia’s economy has historically relied largely on international assistance, foreign direct investment, and natural resource exports such as iron ore, rubber, and wood.

Following the 1980 coup, the Liberian economy started a gradual slide due to economic mismanagement, following a high in growth in 1979. The start of civil conflict in 1989 hastened this fall; GDP fell by an estimated 90% between 1989 and 1995, making it one of the fastest decreases in history. GDP growth started to increase after the conflict ended in 2003, hitting 9.4% in 2007. The global financial crisis reduced GDP growth to 4.6 percent in 2009, but a resurgent agriculture sector, driven by rubber and wood exports, boosted growth to 5.1 percent in 2010 and 7.3 percent in 2011, making the economy one of the world’s fastest growing.

A limited domestic market, a lack of sufficient infrastructure, high transportation costs, weak trade connections with neighboring nations, and the economy’s high dollarization are all now obstacles to development. Liberia used the US dollar as its currency from 1943 to 1982, and the US dollar is being used alongside the Liberian dollar today.

Inflation began to decline in 2003, but again surged in 2008 as a consequence of global food and energy problems, hitting 17.5 percent before falling to 7.4 percent in 2009. Liberia’s foreign debt was projected to be about $4.5 billion in 2006, or 800 percent of GDP. Between 2007 and 2010, the country’s foreign debt was reduced to $222.9 million as a consequence of bilateral, multilateral, and commercial debt reduction.

While official commodities exports fell in the 1990s as many investors left the civil war, Liberia’s wartime economy was based on the region’s diamond riches. In 1999, the nation was a significant dealer in Sierra Leonean blood diamonds, shipping more than $300 million worth of diamonds. Following Liberia’s admission to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in 2007, the UN imposed an embargo on Liberian diamond exports in 2001, which was removed in 2007.

Additional UN sanctions were imposed in 2003 on Liberian wood exports, which had increased from US$5 million in 1997 to over US$100 million in 2002 and were suspected of supporting Sierra Leone insurgents. In 2006, the sanctions were removed. Liberia has a huge account deficit, which peaked at almost 60% in 2008, thanks in large part to international assistance and investment inflows after the conclusion of the conflict. Liberia joined the World Trade Organization as an observer in 2010 and is now working to become a full member.

With US$16 billion in foreign direct investment since 2006, Liberia has the highest ratio of foreign direct investment to GDP in the world. Following the beginning of the Sirleaf government in 2006, Liberia negotiated multibillion-dollar concession deals with a number of international companies, including BHP Billiton, ArcelorMittal, and Sime Darby, in the iron ore and palm oil sectors. Palm oil businesses, particularly Sime Darby in Malaysia and Golden Veroleum in the United States, have been accused by opponents of destroying livelihoods and displacing local people via government concessions. Since 1926, the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company has owned and managed Liberia’s biggest rubber plantation.

Entry Requirements For Liberia

Visa & Passport

To apply for a Liberian visa, you’ll need a letter of invitation and proof of yellow fever vaccine. A 3-month visa costs US$131 for US citizens and US$100 for everyone else. Multiple-entry visas for one, two, and three years are also available. The embassy in Conakry has been relocated to Kipe, a town outside of town.

The embassy in Freetown offers same-day service with minimal fuss. When traveling overland, they will stamp the length of your stay in your passport, so don’t tell them too few days when they ask, otherwise you’ll have to pay US$20 to extend your visa at the immigration office on Broad Street in Monrovia (though they will probably ask for more).

Regardless of visa validity, all visitors must extend their visa at the immigration office on Broad Street within 30 days of arrival.

How To Travel To Liberia

By plane

Roberts International Airport (IATA: ROB) (also known as Roberts International Airport or RIA) is situated in Robertsfield, about 60 kilometers from the city center.

Delta Air Lines flies from the United States. This flight departs from Atlanta straight. Ethiopian Airlines has an Addis Ababa layover. Royal Air Maroc flies from Casablanca to London.

On Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Brussels Airlines offers flights. Air France flies from Paris to Conakry on Tuesdays and Fridays. You may check in at their city center facility on the day of your flight. Checking in at the airport is more difficult and time consuming.

Once upon a time, the journey from the airport to the city was notorious. With the return of peace and order, the situation has considerably improved. UNMIL has now completely safeguarded and made the road safe.

By helicopter

Although helicopter flights are by far the most convenient mode of transportation, they are only available to UN officials. During the rainy season, bad weather compels helicopters to return, particularly from Voinjama.

By car

As of February 2010, the roads from Roberts Airport to Monrovia and Monrovia to the Sierra Leone border at Bo (Waterside) are paved and in good shape. Other regions have terrible road conditions, therefore a 4×4 may be required for travel. Travel times are much longer during the wet season. Due to many traffic jams and damaged parts of road, travel in Monrovia may be sluggish. Gas is sold in gallons, not litres, in the United States. The majority of distances and speed restrictions are expressed in mph.

By bus

For visitors, there are no long-distance buses. The government recently acquired a few buses for public transportation, which are now available for use under the National Transit Authority’s (NTA) supervision from their main terminal in Gardnerville. Intercity transit to places such as Buchanan, Gbarnga, Tubmanburg, Kakata, and Robertsport is now in operation, with plans to expand to cities such as Zwedru, Ganta, and Bopolu in the future.

For chartered express, tourist sofas are set up. While this is going on, the NTA is crisscrossing Monrovia, giving transit to all of the suburbs as well as the downtown center. A number of private buses, such as Lizard corporate and individual transportations, also serve the suburbs and the central business area. Take caution while boarding buses and avoid rushing since criminals, known locally as “Rogue,” take advantage of the situation to steal. Form a line at different bus stations and terminals. Buses are often overcrowded, so pack a fan or seat near a window if you can.

By taxi

The most efficient mode of transportation in Monrovia. The majority of Monrovia taxis on the streets will pick up several people on route, and are therefore often overcrowded. Because being robbed in a cab is a possibility, ask someone you trust whether they know of a trustworthy taxi driver to contact. If you can’t locate one, try renting a cab to your location just for your needs.

Long-distance shared taxis depart from “Douala Station” in Monrovia’s northern suburbs for destinations across Liberia. They’re usually older yellow Nissan station wagons that depart when ten people have bought tickets. The cost of a shared cab is affordable. As of February 2010, the three-hour trip from Monrovia to Robertsport costs LRD350 (US$5).

Alternatively, at a considerably higher fee, a “charter” cab may be hired for solo travel.

Destinations in Liberia

  • Monrovia – Liberia’s biggest city, with a population of approximately one million people, is the capital city.
  • Robertsport – Coastal village with great surfing, a nice vacation resort, and a beachfront campground.
  • Greenville
  • Harper – Harper, Maryland’s historic capital, is located in the southeast of the nation. Beautiful beaches and beach homes are well-known. These homes are now decrepit, yet you can still get a feeling of the former grandeur.
  • Paynesville – interesting for BASE-Jumpers

Things To See in Liberia

Human face rock known as ‘Blo Degbo’ in Paynesville, Liberia (Note: this is not a developed tourist destination, so make sure it is a safe place to visit)

Rain forests are typically located in isolated locations, and although most are distinctive and have many appealing characteristics, others are dangerous due to their fauna.

There are many beaches in the Monrovia area. After the ELWA intersection, out towards the airport, is ELWA beach, which is situated within a complex and has a designated safe swimming area, a clean beach, and a lot of families on weekends. However, there are no amenities. Thinkers (pronounced Tinkers) is a little farther along with a food and drink service, but the waves are a little rough here and it is not safe to go too far up or down the beach. CE CE beach, on the opposite side of the bridge, is well-equipped with palm umbrellas, beverages service, and a buffet, as well as a well-protected swimming area.

Robertsport provides a taste of Liberia’s cultural heritage as well as clean, gorgeous beaches for a fun day excursion. For those who want to spend the night on the beach, a group of South Africans has set up a tent camp, and the UN is also providing lodgings on a first-come, first-served basis. Be wary of the high tides.

Buchanan, a few hours’ drive from Monrovia, also has beautiful beaches and a variety of restaurants and guest accommodations.

Things To Do in Liberia

Immerse yourself in the culture of the area. Liberia has a flourishing hip-hop music culture called hip co, which combines hip hop with Liberian English. Popular artists include Takun J, Santos, Mr. Smith, Soul Smiter, and Nasseman. Concerts are conducted on a regular basis across the nation, particularly during the dry season.

Liberia features a number of nightclubs. Instead of going to locations like Deja Vu, which cater to mostly expats, go to areas that are more popular with locals. Liberian music, freestyle sessions, and live performances by Liberia’s most prominent artists can be found at 146 on Carey Street.

Food & Drinks in Liberia

Eating Liberian cuisine may be both pleasurable and economical. Liberian dishes like palm butter, cassava leaf, potato greens, chock rice, and jollof rice won’t break the bank (US$2-3 with a drink). The portions are typically very large. Fufu (fermented bread produced from the cassava plant) and soup are another famous local meal (the most common are goat soup and pepper soup).

Fruit and snacks may also be purchased from street sellers around Monrovia for those who like to dine on the move. For LRD5-20 (about US$0.10-0.30), you may get peanuts, fried plantain chips, roasted ears of corn or plantains, bananas, mangos, and other fruits. The different breads offered fresh baked in the morning are very excellent. Some of the loaves are similar to banana bread, while others are more like corn bread. All of them are excellent, although a little greasy.

Club beer is a popular drink that can be found almost everywhere. Gin made in the area is also available.

On most street corners, you can buy bottled water in a bag. It is intended to be filtered and safe, however this cannot be confirmed. To be safe, drink only bottled water. Bottled water is available at every store, restaurant, or Total petrol station.

Money & Shopping in Liberia

Beautiful masks are well-known in Liberia. Masks are for sale at hotels and UN buildings. They will cost you about LRD25 after negotiating (depending on the size etc.)

Liberia has some lovely patterned fabric. It is offered in lapas (typically two), each of which is 2 yards long. Three lapas of the highest grade, made of genuine wax, will set you back approximately LRD15. The Abi Jaoudi, Xclusive superstore, situated downtown, the ERA Mall, Stop n Shop, Payless Center, and the Sinkor Xclusive, all in the Sinkor Suburb, and the Save Way Supermarket at the ELWA Junction are among the contemporary and technical supermarkets or malls. The Sinkor Suburb, which has become Monrovia’s new mid-town, is flanked with excellent hotels and restaurants.

Credit cards can only be used in a few ways. Bring US dollars in cash (most transactions in Western companies are done in USD) or use Moneygram or Western Union to send money. Many foreigners utilize the Ecobank on Randall Street. Accept any Liberian Dollars given to you as change since it will be helpful to have some on hand for minor transactions, but once you have a small amount, make sure you get your dollars back (except when your change is less than a dollar, they use local currency in lieu of coins).

For a visitor, Liberia may be extremely costly or very cheap, depending on the facilities desired.

Traditions & Customs in Liberia

Liberians are very social and friendly. They, on the other hand, will label you “rude” if you ignore them. Make a point of greeting as many individuals as possible and do it with a smile. Make friends with every guard, cleaner, or other person you come across, introduce yourself, and keep their names in mind. Your security will also increase since locals will alert you about security risks if they recognize you and know that you can communicate with them.

The convention is to shake hands, which is typically followed by a finger snap. Handshake with everyone you encounter, even fruit vendors.

Because Liberia is so impoverished, you will almost certainly be solicited for money or assistance. Former soldiers are usually the most persistent beggars. Giving money to the elderly or physically handicapped is a good idea. However, it’s ideal to spend some time with most youngsters and others, play a game with them, take digital pictures (liked here), and then perhaps offer something as a gift to your pals. Liberians are proud people who should not be treated as beggars despite their dire need.

Because school costs are costly (up to USD100 per year), foreigners are often requested to pay for school, but this may also be a ruse.

With the exception of internally displaced persons, most residents in Monrovia are reasonably well-off in Liberian standards. The worst circumstances are seen in rural areas, when assistance is most required.

Instead of saying “no,” which is considered impolite in this country, use “later,” “tomorrow,” or “I’ll see what I can do.” People should not be ignored. When responding, though, be firm since kids will frequently badger you and call you “boss” until you give up.

It’s a good idea to carry some business cards with you. They are distributed at every event.

Because the conflicts of the 1990s and 2000s are still fresh in many people’s memories, it is best to avoid the subject.

The greater a person’s social standing, the more respect they deserve, but this does not imply you should ignore the very poor or lavish presents of appreciation on the affluent.

Culture Of Liberia

The Americo-Liberians’ religious rituals, social traditions, and cultural standards have their origins in the antebellum American South. The settlers dressed up in top hats and tails, and their houses were fashioned like those of Southern slaveowners. The Masonic Order of Liberia, which became highly engaged in the country’s politics, was home to the majority of Americo-Liberian males.

Because the immigrants carried their sewing and quilting talents with them, Liberia has a long and rich history in textile arts and quilting. National Fairs were held in Liberia in 1857 and 1858, with awards given for different needle arts. Martha Ann Ricks, a well-known Liberian quilter, presented Queen Victoria with a quilt depicting the famous Liberian coffee tree in 1892. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf allegedly had a Liberian-made blanket placed in her presidential office when she moved into the Executive Mansion.

Liberia has had a strong literary history for almost a century. Among Liberia’s most well-known writers are Edward Wilmot Blyden, Bai T. Moore, Roland T. Dempster, and Wilton G. S. Sankawulo. Liberia’s most well-known book is Moore’s novella Murder in the Cassava Patch.

Polygamy

Polygamous marriages are common among Liberian women between the ages of 15 and 49. Men are allowed to have up to four wives under customary law.

Cuisine

The country’s main meal, rice, is prominently included in Liberian cuisine. Cassava, fish, bananas, citrus fruit, plantains, coconut, okra, and sweet potatoes are among the other components. Heavy stews with habanero and scotch bonnet peppers are popular, and they’re served with fufu. Liberia also has a distinct baking history in West Africa, thanks to imports from the United States.

Sport

Liberia’s most popular sport is association football, and the country’s most renowned athlete is George Weah (the only African to be awarded FIFA World Player of the Year). Liberia has qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations on two occasions, in 1996 and 2002.

Basketball is Liberia’s second most popular sport. Liberia’s national basketball team has made two appearances in the AfroBasket, in 1983 and 2007.

The Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex is a multi-purpose stadium in Liberia. It holds FIFA World Cup qualification matches, international concerts, and national political events, among other things.

History of Liberia

Indigenous African peoples have lived on the Pepper Coast, also known as the Grain Coast, since at least the 12th century. Many minor ethnic groups were forced southward toward the Atlantic Ocean when Mende-speaking people moved westward from Sudan. The Dei, Bassa, Kru, Gola, and Kissi were among the first peoples in the region to be recorded.

The fall of the Western Sudanic Mali Empire in 1375 and the Songhai Empire in 1591 exacerbated the migration. Additionally, when the interior areas were desertified, residents relocated to the moist shore. From the Mali and Songhai empires, these newcomers brought cotton spinning, textile weaving, iron smelting, rice and sorghum farming, as well as social and political structures. The Vai people of the old Mali Empire came to the Grand Cape Mount County region shortly after the Mane captured the area. The ethnic Kru were opposed to the inflow of Vai and formed an alliance with the Mane to halt it.

From Cap-Vert to the Gold Shore, people along the coast constructed boats and traded with other West Africans. Arab merchants arrived from the north, and a long-standing slave trade sent captives to northern and eastern Africa.

Portuguese, Dutch, and British merchants established connections and commercial stations in the area between 1461 and the late 17th century. The region was originally called Costa da Pimenta (“Pepper Coast”) by the Portuguese, but owing to the quantity of melegueta pepper grains, it became known as the Grain Coast. Local people would exchange commodities and products with European merchants.

Early settlement

There was a movement in the United States to relocate free-born blacks and freed slaves who faced legal restrictions in Africa, thinking that blacks would have greater prospects for freedom there than in the United States. A group of influential politicians and slaveholders formed the American Colonization Society in Washington, DC in 1816 for this goal. However, it expanded to encompass a majority of individuals who supported the abolition of slavery. Slaveholders wanted free people of color out of the South, where they were seen as a danger to the slave communities’ security. Some abolitionists worked together to relocate free blacks because they were disheartened by racial prejudice in the North and thought they would never be welcomed in society. Instead of emigrating, most African-Americans who were native-born at the time preferred to fight for justice in the United States. Leading Northern activists were hostile to the ACS, but some free blacks were willing to try something new.

The American Colonization Society started sending African-American volunteers to the Pepper Coast in 1822 in order to create a liberated African-American colony. By 1867, the ACS (and state-affiliated chapters) had helped almost 13,000 African Americans migrate to Liberia. These free African-Americans and their descendants began to identify as Americo-Liberians after marrying inside their group. Many were of mixed race and had been schooled in American culture; they did not identify with the tribes’ original inhabitants. They mostly intermarried within the colonial society, resulting in an ethnic group with a cultural heritage imbued with American political republicanism and Protestant Christianity.

The American Civilization Society (ACS), a private group backed by notable Americans including Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay, and James Monroe, felt that repatriation of free blacks was preferable to universal emancipation of slaves. Mississippi-in-Africa and the Republic of Maryland, both of which were subsequently acquired by Liberia, were colonized by similar state-based organizations.

The indigenous peoples they met, particularly those in more remote “bush” settlements, did not resonate with the Americo-Liberian immigrants. Their cultures, languages, and animist religion were unknown to them. In the jungle, encounters with tribal Africans often devolved into violent clashes. The Kru and Grebo attacked the colonial towns from their interior chiefdoms. The Americo-Liberians evolved into a tiny elite that controlled political power because they felt set aside and superior to indigenous peoples due to their culture and education. It denied indigenous tribesmen birthright citizenship in their own territories until 1904, mirroring the treatment of Native Americans in the United States. Due to ethnocentrism and a cultural divide, the Americo-Liberians envisioned establishing a western-style state into which the tribesmen would integrate. They urged religious groups to establish missions and schools to educate indigenous peoples.

Government

The settlers published a Declaration of Independence and established a constitution on July 26, 1847. It created the independent Republic of Liberia based on the political ideals outlined in the United States Constitution.

The Americo-Liberians dominated the new nation’s leadership, establishing political and economic supremacy in the coastal regions acquired by the ACS; they maintained relationships with United States connections in developing these areas and the commerce that resulted. Their enactment of the 1865 Ports of Entry Act, purportedly to “promote the development of civilized ideals” before such trade was permitted, banned foreign commerce with interior tribes.

By 1877, the Americo-Liberian True Whig Party had become the country’s most dominant political force. It was mainly made up of members of the Americo-Liberian ethnic group, who retained social, economic, and political supremacy long into the twentieth century, following in the footsteps of European colonists in other African countries. Within the party, competition for office was generally limited; a party candidacy almost always guaranteed election.

Liberia’s claims to vast areas were lost due to pressure from the United Kingdom, who controlled Sierra Leone to the west, and France, which had interests in the north and east. Some areas were annexed by Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast. Liberia has had a difficult time attracting investment in order to build infrastructure and a bigger, industrial economy.

In the late nineteenth century, Liberian commodities output declined, and the government suffered financially, resulting in debt to a succession of foreign lenders.

20th century

Rubber manufacturing was a significant business in the early twentieth century, with American and other foreign interests focusing on resource exploitation.

Liberia started to modernize with American aid in the mid-twentieth century. During World War II, the US invested heavily on infrastructure to assist its military operations in Africa and Europe. Before entering World War II, it used the Lend-Lease program to construct the Monrovia Freeport and Roberts International Airport.

President William Tubman welcomed international investment in the country after the war. During the 1950s, Liberia enjoyed the world’s second-highest rate of economic growth.

Liberia started to get increasingly involved in foreign issues as well. In 1945, it became a founding member of the United Nations and a strong opponent of South Africa’s apartheid government. Liberia was also a supporter of African independence from European colonial powers and Pan-Africanism, and contributed to the funding of the Organisation of African Unity.

On April 12, 1980, President William R. Tolbert, Jr. was overthrown and murdered by a military coup headed by Master Sergeant Samuel Doe of the Krahn ethnic group. A majority of Tolbert’s cabinet, as well as other Americo-Liberian government officials and True Whig Party members, were subsequently killed by Doe and the other plotters. To administer the nation, the coup leaders established the People’s Redemption Council (PRC). Doe got considerable financial support from the United States during the Cold War, while opponents criticized the PRC for corruption and political persecution.

Following the adoption of a new constitution in Liberia in 1985, Doe was elected president in following elections that were widely seen as rigged. Thomas Quiwonkpa staged a botched counter-coup on November 12, 1985, in which his troops temporarily seized the national radio station. As a result, government persecution increased, with Doe’s soldiers killing members of the Gio and Mano ethnic communities in Nimba County.

With the support of neighboring nations such as Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, headed by Charles Taylor, began an insurgency against Doe’s government in December 1989. The First Liberian Civil War erupted as a result of this. Doe’s troops held just a tiny region just outside the city by September 1990, and Doe was arrested and killed by rebel forces later that month.

The rebels were quickly divided into different groups that were battling one other. A military task force was formed by the Economic Community Monitoring Group under the Economic Community of West African States to intervene in the situation. From 1989 through 1996, one of Africa’s deadliest civil conflicts erupted, killing over 200,000 Liberians and forcing a million more into neighboring nations’ refugee camps. In 1995, opposing groups negotiated a peace agreement, which led to Taylor’s election as president in 1997.

Due to its exploitation of blood diamonds and illicit wood exports to finance the Revolutionary United Front in the Sierra Leone Civil War, Liberia became regarded as a pariah state under Taylor’s leadership. Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, a rebel organization headquartered in the country’s northwest, started an armed insurgency against Taylor in 1999, starting the Second Liberian Civil War.

2000s

A second rebel organization, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia, started attacking Taylor from the southeast in March 2003. In June of that year, peace negotiations between the groups started in Accra, and Taylor was charged for crimes against humanity by the Special Court for Sierra Leone in the same month. The rebels had begun an attack on Monrovia by July 2003. Taylor resigned in August 2003 and went into exile in Nigeria, under pressure from the international community and the domestic Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace movement.

Later that month, a peace treaty was concluded. In September 2003, the United Nations Mission in Liberia arrived to provide security and oversee the peace agreement, and an interim government seized control in October of that year.

The elections that followed in 2005 were widely considered as the most free and fair in Liberian history. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Harvard-educated economist and former Finance Minister, was elected as Africa’s first female president. Sirleaf sought Taylor’s extradition from Nigeria and handed him to the SCSL for prosecution in The Hague shortly after her appointment.

To address the origins and atrocities of the civil war, the government created a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2006.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Liberia

Stay Safe in Liberia

Avoid walking late at night, and make sure your vehicle doors are secured while driving. When a car is stopped, thieves will frequently reach inside the vehicle and steal anything they can, so keep the windows open, particularly in Monrovia’s busier neighborhoods (redlight). Rape and armed robbery are both frequent and on the increase in the United States. Hotels and other similar establishments have private security and are quite secure.

Former fighters, armed with machetes, roam the streets of Monrovia’s poorest neighborhoods (Redlight). Former fighters may also be found at the Palm Grove Cemetery on Center Street. Do not attempt to go there alone.

The intersection of Randall and Carey is very hazardous and said to be a drug dealer’s hangout.

Stay in groups and avoid deserted areas.

Keep an eye on the locals; if they are going about their business as usual and there are lots of women and children about, there are unlikely to be significant causes of worry. If, on the other hand, people have vanished from a normally bustling area, or you find yourself surrounded solely by teenagers, you should attempt to flee as quickly as possible.

UNMIL has brought peace to the nation (in general), but the security situation is expected to worsen after UNMIL departs.

In the event of an evacuation, it is a good idea to notify your embassy that you are in the nation.

Also, study all you can about the security situation. Locals are a valuable source of knowledge. However, be wary about believing everything you hear. Because rumours are the primary source of information in Monrovia, they spread like wildfire. Details, on the other hand, are often incorrect.

Local newspapers are enjoyable to read. The Daily Observer has the most readers, but there are many others. They are available for purchase on the street.

Female travellers

Because rape is on the rise, be wary about walking alone in previously unknown or isolated places. Women will be treated with respect by males in general. They may tell you how lovely you are, that they “love you,” or even ask you to marry them (for the status rather than the money), but they will never grasp your hand or act inappropriately.

Stay Healthy in Liberia

HIV is on the rise, despite its low prevalence. There is a lot of prostitution going on.

Malaria, typhoid, and worms are all extremely prevalent. Liberia is a hotspot for infectious illnesses in general, therefore disinfectants and gels are recommended (especially as handshakes are the norm).

Because foreign travelers have access to a limited number of physicians, obtaining medical assistance may be difficult. For private patients, the Kennedy hospital seems to have a Jordanian wing. MSF will see a traveller as well, but only in extreme circumstances.

On most street corners, you can buy bottled water in a bag. It is intended to be filtered and safe, however this cannot be confirmed. To be safe, drink only bottled water. Bottled water is available at every store, restaurant, or Total petrol station.

Liberia had a devastating Ebola epidemic in 2014 and 2015, but was proclaimed Ebola-free in 2016. There hasn’t been a single instance of the illness since then.

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Monrovia

Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia, is located in West Africa. Monrovia had a population of 1,010,970 people and was located on the Atlantic Coast near...