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The Liberia Portal


Flag of Liberia
Coat of Arms of Liberia
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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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LIBERIA 1960 truck plate.jpg
Credit: Jerry "Woody"

A 1960 Liberian vehicle license plate.

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Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor (born 28 January 1948) served as the 22nd President of Liberia from 2 August 1997 to 11 August 2003. He was once one of Africa's most prominent warlords during the First Liberian Civil War in the early 1990s and was elected president at the end of that conflict. He was subsequently forced into exile, and is currently being held in the United Nations Detention Unit on the premises of the Penitentiary Institution Haaglanden in The Hague, and on trial by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

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