Liberia: The Beginnings

Liberia is a small country roughly the size of Tennessee on lying on the West of Africa. It is a country covered in tropical forest with a substantial amount of rain of about 160cm every year. It is Africa’s first republic nation, and has been built upon a history of political turmoil. Liberia was founded in 1822 as an effort by the American Colonization Society to settle freed colonized slaves from America into West Africa.

Originally known as Monrovia, the American Society thought that it was the only way to solve racial incompatibility and to end slavery and that the emigration of the blacks was the only solution to the problem. Over the course of years, a number of people were moved into the country. Around 12,000 slaves were voluntarily relocated and Monrovia became the Free and Independent Republic of Liberia in 1847.

The indigenous population of Liberia consists of 16 different ethnic groups, with the English speaking Americo-Liberians making up only 5% of the population. They are the descendants of the former American slaves and have historically dominated the intellectual and ruling class. The government of Liberia, being the first republic of Africa, was modelled after that of the United States of America. A man named Joseph Jenkins Roberts from Virginia was elected as the first president of the country.

Although the country did have some pitfalls. The constitution of Liberia itself denied indigenous Liberians equal rights as compared to the lighter-skilled American emigrants and their descendants. Thus, a disparity was already created in the country amongst the people. Sometime after 1920, there was considerable development and a lot of progress was made for accessing the interior most parts of the country. This facilitated the establishment of a 43 mile railroad to the Bomi Hills from Monrovia. There was a struggle between the two classes that had emerged, namely the American-emigrants, who were in places of high power and reach, and those who were from the indigenous communities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.