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.
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...)
He is regarded as the "father of modern Liberia"; his presidency was marked by the influx of foreign investment in his country and its modernization. During his tenure, Liberia experienced a period of prosperity. He also led a policy of national unity in order to reduce the social and political differences between his fellow Americo-Liberians and the indigenous Liberians. However, further into his years in power, his way of governing became increasingly dictatorial.