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The Liberia Portal


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Liberia About this sound /laɪˈbɪəriə/ , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the west coast of Africa, bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, and the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2008 Census, the nation is home to 3,476,608 people and covers 111,369 square kilometres (43,000 sq mi).

Liberia's capital is Monrovia. Liberia has a hot equatorial climate with most rainfall arriving in summer with harsh harmattan winds in the dry season. Liberia's populated Pepper Coast is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the sparsely populated inland is forested, later opening to a plateau of drier grasslands.

The history of Liberia is unique among African nations because of its relationship with the United States. It is one of the few countries in Africa, and the only country in West Africa, without roots in the European Scramble for Africa. It was founded and colonized by freed American slaves with the help of a private organization called the American Colonization Society in 1821-1822, on the premise former American slaves would have greater freedom and equality there.

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Samuel Doe with then Secretary of Defense of the United States Caspar W. Weinberger in 1982

The First Liberian Civil War was an internal conflict in Liberia running from 1989 until 1996. The conflict killed over 200,000 people and eventually led to the involvement the Economic Community of West African States and of the United Nations. The peace did not last long, and in 1999 the Second Liberian Civil War broke-out.

Samuel Doe had led a Coup d'état that overthrew the West African's elected government in 1980, and in 1985 held elections that were widely considered fraudulent. After an unsuccessful coup by a former military leader, former government minister Charles Taylor invaded the country in December 1989 from neighboring Ivory Coast to start an uprising meant to topple the Doe regime. During the civil war, factions formed around Taylor and those who supported his former soldier with the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, Prince Johnson. Johnson took the capital Monrovia in 1990 and executed Doe, while Taylor's forces, the Armed Forces of Liberia, and Johnson's forces battled for control of Monrovia.

Peace negotiations and foreign involvement lead to a ceasefire in 1995 that was broken the next year before a final peace agreement and new national elections were held in 1997. Taylor was then elected President of Liberia in July 1997. (Read more...)

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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf George Bush 20080221.jpg
Credit: White House photo by Eric Draper

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia passes an honor guard in 2008 along United States President George W. Bush during the latter's visit to Monrovia.

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Hendrik Pieter Nicolaas Muller

Hendrik Pieter Nicolaas Muller (2 April 1859 in Rotterdam - 11 August 1941 in The Hague, Netherlands) was a Dutch businessman, diplomat, world traveler, publicist, and philanthropist. He was a son of Hendrik Muller Sz., a Rotterdam-based Dutch businessman and politician, and Marie Cornelie van Rijckevorsel, member of another prominent Rotterdam based business family.

Muller started his career as a businessman, trading with East and West Africa. He was a manager in his father's trading company Hendrik Muller & Co. that did business in Liberia, and made several visits to the country, in addition to travels to many parts of Africa and Asia. Later in life the Liberian government bestowed several honors on the Dutchman.

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