Brief History of Liberia:
The original inhabitants of Liberia were native tribal peoples. The Portuguese were the first to arrive in the land in 1461. They named it the Grain Coast. Later, in 1663, the British established trading posts on the coast, but the Dutch destroyed them and no more effort was made to settle the area.
The country of Liberia, which means "land of the free", was founded in 1820 by freed slaves and African-Americans from the United States. The first to arrive were 86 immigrants, who built the first settlement in Christopolis. The city would later be renamed to Monrovia after President James Monroe. The first president of Liberia was Joseph Jenkins Roberts.
In the coming years thousands more freed slaves and African-Americans immigrated to Liberia. The Republic of Liberia was declared as an independent country on July 26, 1847. The government and constitution was similar to that of the United States. However, the natives were not allowed to participate and, even later, their voting rights were limited. The True Whig Party ruled the country and all aspects of Liberia until 1980. On April 12, 1980 local Liberians under the lead of Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe overthrew the government and executed many officials. Since then violence and unrest has been the situation in the country.
The Geography of Liberia
Total Size: 111,370 square km
Size Comparison: slightly larger than Tennessee
Geographical Coordinates: 6 30 N, 9 30 W
World Region or Continent: Africa
General Terrain: mostly flat to rolling coastal plains rising to rolling plateau and low mountains in northeast
Geographical Low Point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Geographical High Point: Mount Wuteve 1,380 m
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; dry winters with hot days and cool to cold nights; wet, cloudy summers with frequent heavy showers
Major cities: MONROVIA (capital) 882,000 (2009)
The People of Liberia
Type of Government: republic
Languages Spoken: English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence
Independence: 26 July 1847
National Holiday: Independence Day, 26 July (1847)
Religions: indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%
National Symbol: white star
National Anthem or Song: All Hail, Liberia Hail!
Economy of Liberia
Major Industries: rubber processing, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds
Agricultural Products: rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber
Natural Resources: iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, hydropower
Major Exports: rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
Major Imports: fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs
Currency: Liberian dollar (LRD)
National GDP: $2,432,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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