Liberia: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government of the country Liberia.



Location--In the "hump" of West Africa, with a 300-mi. southern coast along the Atlantic Ocean. To the north, Guinea; to the northwest, Sierra Leone; to the east, Ivory Coast.

How Created--The land was purchased from tribal chiefs in 1822 by the American Colonization Society as a place to settle freed American slaves. (The price included a box of beads, 3 pairs of shoes, a box of soap, one barrel of rum, and 12 spoons.) Liberia became a "voluntary haven" for slaves from the U.S., the West Indies, and those freed from ships at sea. By 1865, around 14,000 former American slaves, and 6,000 from elsewhere, had settled the land.

Size--43,000 sq. mi. (111,400 sq. km.).

Population--1,750,000: Kpell, 20.8%; Bassa, 16.3%; Gio, 8.2%; Kru, 8%; Grebo, 7.6%; Mano, 7.1%; Americo-Liberians, 3%; other, 29%. 90% Animist, 7% Christian, 3% Muslim.

Who Rules--President and Vice-President directly elected by universal suffrage; 8-year initial term, 4-year terms if reelected. Senate: 2 senators from each of the 9 counties; 6-year terms. House: one representative for every 10,000 voters; 4-year terms.

Who REALLY Rules--Since the 1959 defense pact, Liberia has agreed to consult the U.S. in the event of aggression and the U.S. has provided economic aid and military assistance. The U.S. built Monrovia's airport as a military base during W.W. II, and the Port of Monrovia after the war. The Liberian Frontier Force (the Army) is trained by Americans.

The U.S. now controls all of Liberia's major industry; the basis of the Liberian economy is an American-owned rubber plantation; one of Liberia's 1st 2 banks was owned by First National City Bank of New York.

Still, Liberia has on occasion voted against the U.S. in the UN.

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