Liberia: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Liberia, the Americanization there, the road system, Monrovia described, the social structure.

LIBERIA

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Americanization of Liberia is extreme. The nation's capital is named for James Monroe, the founding fathers were from the U.S., the official language is English, the Government and constitution were patterned after the U.S. system, the Liberian dollar is at par with and interchangeable with the U.S. dollar, the Liberian flag is red, white, and blue (one star, 11 stripes), and the Liberian police uniforms are like those worn by New York City police.

The road system is extremely poor. Going into the Hinterland (as the interior is called) is difficult except for the industrialized areas. The back country, inhabited solely by aborigines, is virtually unexplored and completely undeveloped. The trip into the Hinterland can be made by "ankle express"--in a hammock carried by porters. Even in Monrovia there were no roads until 1916, when an American diplomat received an automobile by mistake and, in order to have the use of it, was obliged to build the nation's 1st road.

Social Structure--Americo-Liberians: the English-speaking descendants of U.S. slaves who have been settling in Liberia since the founding of the colony. They are a well-defined ruling class including intellectuals, professionals, government officials, and--until 1931--slave traders. Afro-Liberians: This 97% of the population has been oppressed and exploited by the Americo-Liberian blacks since the latter's arrival. The Afro-Liberians are farmers, fishermen, mine workers, or house servants for the elite.

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