A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.
Republic of Liberia
Motto: "The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here"
Anthem: All Hail, Liberia, Hail!
and largest city
| Monrovia |
|Spoken and national languages|
|Government||Unitary presidential constitutional republic|
|Francis Korkpor, Sr.|
|Legislature||Legislature of Liberia|
|House of Representatives|
|Formation and Independence|
• Settlement by the American Colonization Society
|January 7, 1822|
|July 26, 1847|
• Annexation of Republic of Maryland
|March 18, 1857|
• Recognition by the United States
|February 5, 1862|
|November 2, 1945|
|January 6, 1986|
|111,369 km2 (43,000 sq mi)(102nd)|
• Water (%)
• 2015 estimate
• 2008 census
|40.43/km2 (104.7/sq mi)(180th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2018 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2018 estimate|
• Per capita
|Gini (2007)||38.2 |
low · 181st
|Currency||Liberian dollar (LRD)|
|Time zone||UTC+0 (GMT)|
|ISO 3166 code||LR|
Liberia ( // (
West Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 16 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, as well as the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The population of West Africa is estimated at about 362 million people as of 2016, and at 381,981,000 as of 2017, to which 189,672,000 are female, and 192,309,000 male.
Sierra Leone, officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, informally Salone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It is bordered by Liberia to the southeast and Guinea to the northeast. Sierra Leone has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savanna to rainforests, and a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi) and a population of 7,075,641 as of the 2015 census. The capital and largest city is Freetown, and the country is divided into five administrative regions, which are further subdivided into sixteen districts.
Guinea, officially the Republic of Guinea, is a west-coastal country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea, the modern country is sometimes referred to as Guinea-Conakry in order to distinguish it from other countries with "Guinea" in the name and the eponymous region, such as Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea. Guinea has a population of 12.4 million and an area of 245,860 square kilometres (94,927 sq mi).
Liberia began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society (ACS), who believed black people would face better chances for freedom and prosperity in Africa than in the United States.The country declared its independence on July 26, 1847. The U.S. did not recognize Liberia's independence until February 5, 1862, during the American Civil War. Between January 7, 1822, and the American Civil War, more than 15,000 freed and free-born black people who faced legislated limits in the U.S., and 3,198 Afro-Caribbeans, relocated to the settlement. The settlers carried their culture and tradition with them. The Liberian constitution and flag were modeled after those of the U.S. On January 3, 1848, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a wealthy, free-born African American from Virginia who settled in Liberia, was elected Liberia's first president after the people proclaimed independence.
The Society for the Colonization of Free People of Color of America, commonly known as the American Colonization Society (ACS), was a group established in 1816 by Robert Finley of New Jersey which supported the migration of free African Americans to the continent of Africa. The society in 1821–1822 helped to found a colony on the Pepper Coast of West Africa, as a place for free-born or manumitted American blacks. The ACS met with immediate and continuing objections from such African-Americans as James Forten and David Walker, who wished to remain in the land of their birth, saw colonization as a racist strategy for protecting slavery and purging the U.S. of its black citizens, and preferred to fight for equal rights at home. Colonizers were also met with resistance and attacks from those already living in and around the areas being colonized. There was some religious support and missionary efforts were part of the colonization. Disease was a major problem, with Liberian immigrants suffering the highest mortality rates in accurately recorded human history. Of the 4,571 emigrants who arrived in Liberia from 1820 to 1843, only 1,819 survived until 1843.
Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent, being behind Asia in both categories. At about 30.3 million km2 including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of more than 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Liberia was the first African republic to proclaim its independence, and is Africa's first and oldest modern republic. It retained its independence during the Scramble for Africa. During World War II, Liberia supported the United States war efforts against Germany and in turn, the U.S. invested in considerable infrastructure in Liberia to help its war effort, which also aided the country in modernizing and improving its major air transportation facilities. In addition, President William Tubman encouraged economic changes. Internationally, Liberia was a founding member of the League of Nations, United Nations, and the Organisation of African Unity.
The Scramble for Africa, also called the Rape of Africa, was the occupation, division, and colonisation of African territory by European powers during the period of the New Imperialism, between 1881 and 1914. In 1870, only 10 percent of Africa was under formal European control; by 1914 it had increased to almost 90 percent of the continent, with only Ethiopia (Abyssinia) and Liberia remaining independent. After the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1936, only Liberia remained independent. There were multiple motivations for European colonizers, including the quest for national prestige, tensions between pairs of European powers, religious missionary zeal and internal African native politics.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman was a Liberian politician. He was the 19th President of Liberia, serving from his election in 1944 until his death in 1971.
The Americo-Liberian settlers did not relate well to the indigenous peoples they encountered, especially those in communities of the more isolated "bush". The colonial settlements were raided by the Kru and Grebo from their inland chiefdoms. Americo-Liberians developed as a small elite that held on to political power, and indigenous tribesmen were excluded from birthright citizenship in their own land until 1904, in an echo of the United States' treatment of Native Americans.Americo-Liberians promoted religious organizations to set up missions and schools to educate the indigenous peoples.
"The bush" is a rural, undeveloped country area in certain areas.
The Kru or Kroo are a West African ethnic group who originated in eastern Liberia and migrated and settled along various points of the West African coast, notably Freetown, Sierra Leone, but also the Ivorian and Nigerian coasts. The Kru were famous for their skills in navigating and sailing the Atlantic. Their maritime expertise evolved along the west coast of Africa as they made livings as fishermen and traders. Knowing the in-shore waters of the western coast of Africa, and having nautical experience, they were employed as sailors, navigators and interpreters aboard slave ships, as well as American and British warships used against the slave trade.
Grebo people is a term used to refer to an ethnic group or subgroup within the larger Kru group of Africa, a language and cultural ethnicity, and to certain of its constituent elements. Within Liberia members of this group are found primarily in Maryland County and Grand Kru County in the southeastern portion of the country, but also in River Gee County and Sinoe County. The Grebo population in Côte d'Ivoire are known as the Krumen and are found in the southwestern corner of that country.
In 1980 political tensions from the rule of William R. Tolbert resulted in a military coup during which Tolbert was killed, marking the beginning of years-long political instability. Five years of military rule by the People's Redemption Council and five years of civilian rule by the National Democratic Party of Liberia were followed by the First and Second Liberian Civil Wars. These resulted in the deaths of 250,000 people (about 8% of the population) and the displacement of many more, and shrank Liberia's economy by 90%.A peace agreement in 2003 led to democratic elections in 2005, in which Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected President. National infrastructure and basic social services were severely affected by the conflicts, with 83% of the population now living below the international poverty line.
A coup d'état, also known as a putsch (German:), a golpe de Estado (Spanish), or simply as a coup, means the overthrow of an existing government; typically, this refers to an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a dictator, the military, or a political faction.
The People's Redemption Council (PRC) was a governmental body that ruled Liberia during the early 1980s. It was established after the 1980 Liberian coup d'état wherein Samuel Doe seized power on 12 April 1980. The Council, with Doe as its chairman, promised a complete overhaul of Liberia's society, economy, and political system and the replacement of the corruption of previous regimes with respect for the rights of the Liberian people. The PRC had 17 founding members and was later expanded to 28. The PRC initially functioned as the executive and legislative body in Doe's government. However, over time Doe consolidated power as a central executive. In 1984, the PRC was dissolved and replaced by the Interim National Assembly.
The National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) is a political party in Liberia.
The Pepper Coast, also known as the Grain Coast, has been inhabited by indigenous peoples of Africa at least as far back as the 12th century. Mende-speaking people expanded westward from the Sudan, forcing many smaller ethnic groups southward toward the Atlantic Ocean. The Dei, Bassa, Kru, Gola, and Kissi were some of the earliest documented peoples in the area.
This influx of these groups was compounded by the decline of the Western Sudanic Mali Empire in 1375 and the Songhai Empire in 1591. [ citation needed ] As inland regions underwent desertification, inhabitants moved to the wetter coast. These new inhabitants brought skills such as cotton spinning, cloth weaving, iron smelting, rice and sorghum cultivation, and social and political institutions from the Mali and Songhai empires. Shortly after the Mane conquered the region, the Vai people of the former Mali Empire immigrated into the Grand Cape Mount County region. The ethnic Kru opposed the influx of Vai, forming an alliance with the Mane to stop further influx of Vai.
People along the coast built canoes and traded with other West Africans from Cap-Vert to the Gold Coast. Arab traders entered the region from the north, and a long-established slave trade took captives to north and east Africa.
Between 1461 and the late 17th century, Portuguese, Dutch and British traders had contacts and trading posts in the region. The Portuguese named the area Costa da Pimenta ("Pepper Coast") but it later came to be known as the Grain Coast, due to the abundance of melegueta pepper grains. European traders would barter commodities and goods with local people.
In the United States there was a movement to resettle free-born blacks and freed slaves who faced racial discrimination in the form of political disenfranchisement and the denial of civil, religious, and social privileges.Most whites and later a small cadre of black nationalists believed that blacks would face better chances for freedom in Africa than in the U.S. In 1816 the American Colonization Society was founded for this purpose in Washington, DC by a group of prominent politicians and slaveholders, but its membership grew to include mostly people who supported the abolition of slavery. Slaveholders wanted to get free people of color out of the South, where they were thought to threaten the stability of the slave societies. Some abolitionists collaborated on the relocation of free blacks, as they were discouraged by racial discrimination against them in the North and believed they would never be accepted in the larger society.
In 1822 the American Colonization Society began sending black volunteers to the Pepper Coast to establish a colony for freed blacks. By 1867 the ACS (and state-related chapters) had assisted in the migration of more than 13,000 blacks to Liberia.These free African-Americans and their descendants married within their community and came to identify as Americo-Liberians. Many were of mixed race and educated in American culture; they did not identify with the indigenous natives of the tribes they encountered. They intermarried largely within the colonial community, developing an ethnic group that had a cultural tradition infused with American notions of political republicanism and Protestant Christianity.
The ACS, supported by prominent American politicians such as Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay, and James Monroe, believed repatriation of free African Americans was preferable to widespread emancipation of slaves.Similar state-based organizations established colonies in Mississippi-in-Africa and the Republic of Maryland, which Liberia later annexed.
The Americo-Liberian settlers did not relate well to the indigenous peoples they encountered, especially those in communities of the more isolated "bush", knowing nothing of their cultures, languages, or animist religion. Encounters with tribal Africans in the bush often became violent confrontations. The colonial settlements were raided by the Kru and Grebo from their inland chiefdoms. Feeling set apart from and culturally and educationally superior to the indigenous peoples, the Americo-Liberians developed as an elite minority that held on to political power. It excluded the indigenous tribesmen from birthright citizenship in their own lands until 1904, in a parallel of the United States' treatment of Native Americans.Because of ethnocentrism and the cultural gap, the Americo-Liberians envisioned creating a western-style state to which the tribesmen would assimilate. They promoted religious organizations to set up missions and schools to educate the indigenous peoples.
On July 26, 1847, the settlers issued a Declaration of Independence and promulgated a constitution. Based on the political principles of the United States Constitution, it established the independent Republic of Liberia.The United Kingdom was the first country to recognize Liberia's independence.
The leadership of the new nation consisted largely of the Americo-Liberians, who initially established political and economic dominance in the coastal areas that the ACS had purchased; they maintained relations with U.S. contacts in developing these areas and the resulting trade. Their passage of the 1865 Ports of Entry Act prohibited foreign commerce with the inland tribes, ostensibly to "encourage the growth of civilized values" before such trade was allowed in the region.
By 1877, the True Whig Party was the country's most powerful political entity.It was made up primarily of Americo-Liberians, who maintained social, economic and political dominance well into the 20th century, repeating patterns of European colonists in other nations in Africa. Competition for office was usually contained within the party; a party nomination virtually ensured election.
Pressure from the United Kingdom, which controlled Sierra Leone to the west, and France, with its interests in the north and east, led to a loss of Liberia's claims to extensive territories. Both Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast annexed territories.Liberia struggled to attract investment to develop infrastructure and a larger, industrial economy.
There was a decline in production of Liberian goods in the late 19th century, and the government struggled financially, resulting in indebtedness on a series of international loans.On July 16, 1892, Martha Ann Erskine Ricks met Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle and presented her a handmade quilt, Liberia's first diplomatic gift. Born into slavery in Tennessee, Ricks said, "I had heard it often, from the time I was a child, how good the Queen had been to my people—to slaves—and how she wanted us to be free."
American and other international interests emphasized resource extraction, with rubber production a major industry in the early 20th century.In 1914 Imperial Germany accounted for three quarters of the trade of Liberia. This was a cause for concern among the British colonial authorities of Sierra Leone and the French colonial authorities of French Guinea and the Ivory Coast as tensions with Germany increased.
Liberia remained neutral during World War I until August 1917, when it declared war on Germany. In 1919 Liberia attended the Versailles Peace Conference. Liberia was one of the founding members of the League of Nations when it was founded in January 1920.
In 1929 allegations of modern slavery in Liberia led the League of Nations to establish the Christy commission. Findings included government involvement in widespread "Forced or compulsory labour". Minority ethnic groups especially were exploited in a system that enriched well-connected elites.As a result of the report, President Charles D. B. King and Vice President Allen N. Yancy resigned.
In the mid-20th century Liberia gradually began to modernize with American assistance. During World War II the United States made major infrastructure improvements to support its military efforts in Africa and Europe against Germany. It built the Freeport of Monrovia and Roberts International Airport under the Lend-Lease program before its entry into the Second World War.
After the war President William Tubman encouraged foreign investment in the country. Liberia had the second-highest rate of economic growth in the world during the 1950s.
Liberia also began to take a more active role in international affairs. It was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and became a vocal critic of the South African apartheid regime.Liberia also served as a proponent both of African independence from European colonial powers and of Pan-Africanism, and helped to fund the Organisation of African Unity.
On April 12, 1980, a military coup led by Master Sergeant Samuel Doe of the Krahn ethnic group overthrew and killed President William R. Tolbert, Jr. Doe and the other plotters later executed a majority of Tolbert's cabinet and other Americo-Liberian government officials and True Whig Party members.The coup leaders formed the People's Redemption Council (PRC) to govern the country. A strategic Cold War ally of the West, Doe received significant financial backing from the United States while critics condemned the PRC for corruption and political repression.
After Liberia adopted a new constitution in 1985, Doe was elected president in subsequent elections that were internationally condemned as fraudulent.On November 12, 1985, a failed counter-coup was launched by Thomas Quiwonkpa, whose soldiers briefly occupied the national radio station. Government repression intensified in response, as Doe's troops retaliated by executing members of the Gio and Mano ethnic groups in Nimba County.
The National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), a rebel group led by Charles Taylor, launched an insurrection in December 1989 against Doe's government with the backing of neighboring countries such as Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. This triggered the First Liberian Civil War.By September 1990, Doe's forces controlled only a small area just outside the capital, and Doe was captured and executed in that month by rebel forces.
The rebels soon split into various factions fighting one another. The Economic Community Monitoring Group under the Economic Community of West African States organized a military task force to intervene in the crisis. [ not in citation given ] From 1989 to 1996, more than 200,000 Liberians died and a million others were displaced into refugee camps in neighboring countries. A peace deal between warring parties was reached in 1995, leading to Taylor's election as president in 1997.
Under Taylor's leadership, Liberia became internationally known as a pariah state due to its use of blood diamonds and illegal timber exports to fund the Revolutionary United Front in the Sierra Leone Civil War.The Second Liberian Civil War began in 1999 when Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, a rebel group based in the northwest of the country, launched an armed insurrection against Taylor.
In March 2003, a second rebel group, Movement for Democracy in Liberia, began launching attacks against Taylor from the southeast.Peace talks between the factions began in Accra in June of that year, and Taylor was indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for crimes against humanity the same month. By July 2003, the rebels had launched an assault on Monrovia. Under heavy pressure from the international community and the domestic Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace movement, Taylor resigned in August 2003 and went into exile in Nigeria.
A peace deal was signed later that month.The United Nations Mission in Liberia began arriving in September 2003 to provide security and monitor the peace accord, and an interim government took power the following October.
The subsequent 2005 elections were internationally regarded as the most free and fair in Liberian history.Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Harvard-educated economist and former Minister of Finance, was elected as the first female president in Africa. Upon her inauguration, Sirleaf requested the extradition of Taylor from Nigeria and transferred him to the SCSL for trial in The Hague.
In 2006, the government established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address the causes and crimes of the civil war.
Liberia is situated in West Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean to the country's southwest. It lies between latitudes 4° and 9°N, and longitudes 7° and 12°W.
The landscape is characterized by mostly flat to rolling coastal plains that contain mangroves and swamps, which rise to a rolling plateau and low mountains in the northeast.
Tropical rainforests cover the hills, while elephant grass and semi-deciduous forests make up the dominant vegetation in the northern sections.The equatorial climate, in the south of the country, is hot year-round with heavy rainfall from May to October with a short interlude in mid-July to August. During the winter months of November to March, dry dust-laden harmattan winds blow inland, causing many problems for residents.
Liberia's watershed tends to move in a southwestern pattern towards the sea as new rains move down the forested plateau off the inland mountain range of Guinée Forestière, in Guinea. Cape Mount near the border with Sierra Leone receives the most precipitation in the nation.
Liberia's main northwestern boundary is traversed by the Mano River while its southeast limits are bounded by the Cavalla River. 515 kilometers (320 mi).Liberia's three largest rivers are St. Paul exiting near Monrovia, the river St. John at Buchanan, and the Cestos River, all of which flow into the Atlantic. The Cavalla is the longest river in the nation at
The highest point wholly within Liberia is Mount Wuteve at 1,440 meters (4,724 ft) above sea level in the northwestern Liberia range of the West Africa Mountains and the Guinea Highlands. However, Mount Nimba near Yekepa, is higher at 1,752 meters (5,748 ft) above sea level but is not wholly within Liberia as Nimba shares a border with Guinea and Ivory Coast and is their tallest mountain as well.
Forests on the coastline are composed mostly of salt-tolerant mangrove trees, while the more sparsely populated inland has forests opening onto a plateau of drier grasslands. The climate is equatorial, with significant rainfall during the May–October rainy season and harsh harmattan winds the remainder of the year. Liberia possesses about forty percent of the remaining Upper Guinean rainforest. It was an important producer of rubber in the early 20th century.
Liberia is divided into fifteen counties, which, in turn, are subdivided into a total of 90 districts and further subdivided into clans. The oldest counties are Grand Bassa and Montserrado, both founded in 1839 prior to Liberian independence. Gbarpolu is the newest county, created in 2001. Nimba is the largest of the counties in size at 11,551 km2 (4,460 sq mi), while Montserrado is the smallest at 1,909 km2 (737 sq mi). Montserrado is also the most populous county with 1,144,806 residents as of the 2008 census.
The fifteen counties are administered by superintendents appointed by the president. The Constitution calls for the election of various chiefs at the county and local level, but these elections have not taken place since 1985 due to war and financial constraints.
Parallel to the administrative divisions of the country are the local and municipal divisions. Liberia currently does not have any constitutional framework or uniform statutes which deal with the creation or revocation of local governments.All existing local governments - cities, townships, and a borough - were created by specific acts of the Liberian government, and thus the structure and duties/responsibilities of each local government varies greatly from one to the other.
|1||Tubmanburg||82,036||1,942 km2 (750 sq mi)||4||1984|
|2||Gbarnga||328,919||8,772 km2 (3,387 sq mi)||12||1964|
|3||Bopolu||83,758||9,689 km2 (3,741 sq mi)||6||2001|
|4||Buchanan||224,839||7,936 km2 (3,064 sq mi)||8||1839|
|5||Robertsport||129,055||5,162 km2 (1,993 sq mi)||5||1844|
|6||Zwedru||126,146||10,484 km2 (4,048 sq mi)||3||1964|
|7||Barclayville||57,106||3,895 km2 (1,504 sq mi)||18||1984|
|8||Voinjama||270,114||9,982 km2 (3,854 sq mi)||6||1964|
|9||Kakata||199,689||2,616 km2 (1,010 sq mi)||4||1985|
|10||Harper||136,404||2,297 km2 (887 sq mi)||2||1857|
|11||Bensonville||1,144,806||1,909 km2 (737 sq mi)||4||1839|
|12||Sanniquellie||468,088||11,551 km2 (4,460 sq mi)||6||1964|
|13||Rivercess||65,862||5,594 km2 (2,160 sq mi)||6||1985|
|14||Fish Town||67,318||5,113 km2 (1,974 sq mi)||6||2000|
|15||Greenville||104,932||10,137 km2 (3,914 sq mi)||17||1843|
Endangered species are hunted for human consumption as bushmeat in Liberia.Species hunted for food in Liberia include elephants, pygmy hippopotamus, chimpanzees, leopards, duikers, and other monkeys. Bushmeat is often exported to neighboring Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, despite a ban on the cross-border sale of wild animals.
Bushmeat is widely eaten in Liberia, and is considered a delicacy.A 2004 public opinion survey found that bushmeat ranked second behind fish amongst residents of the capital Monrovia as a preferred source of protein. Of households where bushmeat was served, 80% of residents said they cooked it "once in a while," while 13% cooked it once a week and 7% cooked bushmeat daily. The survey was conducted during the last civil war, and bushmeat consumption is now believed to be far higher.
Liberia is a global biodiversity hotspot—a significant reservoir of biodiversity that is under threat from humans.
Slash-and-burn agriculture is one of the human activities eroding Liberia's natural forests.A 2004 UN report estimated that 99% of Liberians burned charcoal and fuel wood for cooking and heating, resulting in deforestation.
Illegal logging has increased in Liberia since the end of the Second Civil War in 2003.In 2012 President Sirleaf granted licenses to companies to cut down 58% of all the primary rainforest left in Liberia. After international protests, many of those logging permits were canceled. In September 2014 Liberia and Norway struck an agreement whereby Liberia ceased all logging in exchange for $150 million in development aid.
Pollution is a significant issue in Monrovia.Since 2006 the international community has paid for all garbage collection and disposal in Monrovia via the World Bank.
The government of Liberia, modeled on the government of the United States, is a unitary constitutional republic and representative democracy as established by the Constitution. The government has three co-equal branches of government: the executive, headed by the president; the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Legislature of Liberia; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and several lower courts.
The president serves as head of government, head of state, and the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia.Among the president's other duties are to sign or veto legislative bills, grant pardons, and appoint Cabinet members, judges, and other public officials. Together with the vice president, the president is elected to a six-year term by majority vote in a two-round system and can serve up to two terms in office.
The Legislature is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The House, led by a speaker, has 73 members apportioned among the 15 counties on the basis of the national census, with each county receiving a minimum of two members.Each House member represents an electoral district within a county as drawn by the National Elections Commission and is elected by a plurality of the popular vote of their district into a six-year term. The Senate is made up of two senators from each county for a total of 30 senators. Senators serve nine-year terms and are elected at-large by a plurality of the popular vote. The vice president serves as the President of the Senate, with a President pro tempore serving in their absence.
Liberia's highest judicial authority is the Supreme Court, made up of five members and headed by the Chief Justice of Liberia. Members are nominated to the court by the president and are confirmed by the Senate, serving until the age of 70. The judiciary is further divided into circuit and speciality courts, magistrate courts and justices of the peace.The judicial system is a blend of common law, based on Anglo-American law, and customary law. An informal system of traditional courts still exists within the rural areas of the country, with trial by ordeal remaining common despite being officially outlawed.
From 1877 to 1980 the government was dominated by the True Whig Party.Today over 20 political parties are registered in the country, based largely around personalities and ethnic groups. Most parties suffer from poor organizational capacity. The 2005 elections marked the first time that the president's party did not gain a majority of seats in the Legislature.
Corruption is endemic at every level of the Liberian government.When President Sirleaf took office in 2006, she announced that corruption was "the major public enemy." In 2014 the US ambassador to Liberia said that corruption there was harming people through "unnecessary costs to products and services that are already difficult for many Liberians to afford".
Liberia scored a 3.3 on a scale from 10 (highly clean) to 0 (highly corrupt) on the 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index. This gave it a ranking 87th of 178 countries worldwide and 11th of 47 in Sub-Saharan Africa.This score represented a significant improvement since 2007, when the country scored 2.1 and ranked 150th of 180 countries. When dealing with public-facing government functionaries, 89% of Liberians say they have had to pay a bribe, the highest national percentage in the world according to the organization's 2010 Global Corruption Barometer.
The Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) are the country's armed forces. Founded as the Liberian Frontier Force in 1908, the military was renamed in 1956. For virtually all of its history, the AFL has received considerable material and training assistance from the United States. For most of the 1941–89 period, training was largely provided by U.S. advisers. After UN Security Council Resolution 1509 in September 2003, the United Nations Mission in Liberia arrived to referee the ceasefire with units from Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, and China with the view to assist the National Transitional Government of Liberia in forming the new Liberian military.
After the turmoil following the First and Second Liberian Civil Wars, Liberia's internal stabilization in the 21st century brought a return to cordial relations with neighboring countries and much of the Western world. As in other African countries, China is an important part of the post-conflict reconstruction.
In the past, both of Liberia's neighbors, Guinea and Sierra Leone, have accused Liberia of backing rebels in their countries.
The Liberian National Police is the country's national police force. As of October 2007 it has 844 officers in 33 stations in Montserrado County, which contains Monrovia.The National Police Training Academy is in Paynesville City. A history of corruption among police officers diminishes public trust and operational effectiveness. The internal security is characterized by a general lawlessness coupled with the danger that former combatants in the late civil war might reestablish militias to challenge the civil authorities.
The Central Bank of Liberia is responsible for printing and maintaining the Liberian dollar, Liberia's primary currency. Liberia is one of the world's poorest countries, with a formal employment rate of 15%.GDP per capita peaked in 1980 at US$496, when it was comparable to Egypt's (at the time). In 2011 the country's nominal GDP was US$1.154 billion, while nominal GDP per capita stood at US$297, the third-lowest in the world. Historically the Liberian economy has depended heavily on foreign aid, foreign direct investment and exports of natural resources such as iron ore, rubber, and timber.
Following a peak in growth in 1979, the Liberian economy began a steady decline due to economic mismanagement after the 1980 coup.This decline was accelerated by the outbreak of civil war in 1989; GDP was reduced by an estimated 90% between 1989 and 1995, one of the fastest declines in history. Upon the end of the war in 2003, GDP growth began to accelerate, reaching 9.4% in 2007. The global financial crisis slowed GDP growth to 4.6% in 2009, though a strengthening agricultural sector led by rubber and timber exports increased growth to 5.1% in 2010 and an expected 7.3% in 2011, making the economy one of the 20 fastest-growing in the world.
Current impediments to growth include a small domestic market, lack of adequate infrastructure, high transportation costs, poor trade links with neighboring countries and the high dollarization of the economy.Liberia used the United States dollar as its currency from 1943 until 1982 and continues to use the U.S. dollar alongside the Liberian dollar.
Following a decrease in inflation beginning in 2003, inflation spiked in 2008 as a result of worldwide food and energy crises,reaching 17.5% before declining to 7.4% in 2009. Liberia's external debt was estimated in 2006 at approximately $4.5 billion, 800% of GDP. As a result of bilateral, multilateral and commercial debt relief from 2007 to 2010, the country's external debt fell to $222.9 million by 2011.
While official commodity exports declined during the 1990s as many investors fled the civil war, Liberia's wartime economy featured the exploitation of the region's diamond wealth.The country acted as a major trader in Sierra Leonian blood diamonds, exporting over US$300 million in diamonds in 1999. This led to a United Nations ban on Liberian diamond exports in 2001, which was lifted in 2007 following Liberia's accession to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
In 2003, additional UN sanctions were placed on Liberian timber exports, which had risen from US$5 million in 1997 to over US$100 million in 2002 and were believed to be funding rebels in Sierra Leone.These sanctions were lifted in 2006. Due in large part to foreign aid and investment inflow following the end of the war, Liberia maintains a large account deficit, which peaked at nearly 60% in 2008. Liberia gained observer status with the World Trade Organization in 2010 and is in the process of acquiring full member status.
Liberia has the highest ratio of foreign direct investment to GDP in the world, with US$16 billion in investment since 2006.Following Sirleaf's inauguration in 2006, Liberia signed several multi-billion-dollar concession agreements in the iron ore and palm oil industries with numerous multinational corporations, including BHP Billiton, ArcelorMittal, and Sime Darby. Palm oil companies like Sime Darby (Malaysia) and Golden Veroleum (USA) have been accused of destroying livelihoods and displacing local communities, enabled by government concessions. Since 1926 The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company has operated the world's largest rubber plantation in Harbel, Margibi County. As of 2015 it had more than 8,000 mostly Liberian employees, making it the country's largest private employer.
Due to its status as a flag of convenience, Liberia has the second-largest maritime registry in the world behind Panama. It has 3,500 vessels registered under its flag, accounting for 11% of ships worldwide.
There are six major newspapers in Liberia, and 45% of the population has a mobile phone service. Much of Liberia's communications infrastructure was destroyed or plundered during the two civil wars (1989–1996 and 1999–2003).With low rates of adult literacy and high poverty rates, television and newspaper use is limited, leaving radio as the predominant means of communicating with the public.
Liberia's economic main links to the outside world come through Monrovia, via the port and airport in the capital.
Formal electricity services are provided solely by the state-owned Liberia Electricity Corporation, which operates a small grid almost exclusively in the Greater Monrovia District.The vast majority of electric energy services is provided by small privately owned generators. At $0.54 per kWh, the electricity tariff in Liberia is among the highest in the world. Total installed capacity in 2013 was 20 MW, a sharp decline from a peak of 191 MW in 1989 before the wars.
Completion of the repair and expansion of the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant, with a maximum capacity of 80 MW, is scheduled to be completed by 2018.Construction of three new heavy fuel oil power plants is expected to boost electrical capacity by 38 MW. In 2013, Liberia began importing power from neighboring Ivory Coast and Guinea through the West African Power Pool.
Liberia has begun exploration for offshore oil; unproven oil reserves may be in excess of one billion barrels.The government divided its offshore waters into 17 blocks and began auctioning off exploration licenses for the blocks in 2004, with further auctions in 2007 and 2009. An additional 13 ultra-deep offshore blocks were demarcated in 2011 and planned for auction. Among the companies to have won licenses are Repsol, Chevron, Anadarko and Woodside Petroleum.
As of the 2017 national census, Liberia was home to 4,694,608 people.Of those, 1,118,241 lived in Montserrado County, the most populous county in the country and home to the capital of Monrovia. The Greater Monrovia District has 970,824 residents. Nimba County is the next most populous county, with 462,026 residents. As revealed in the 2008 census, Monrovia is more than four times more populous than all the county capitals combined.
Prior to the 2008 census, the last census had been held in 1984 and listed the country's population as 2,101,628. As of 2006 [update] , Liberia had the highest population growth rate in the world (4.50% per annum). In 2010 some 43.5% of Liberians were below the age of 15.The population of Liberia was 1,016,443 in 1962 and increased to 1,503,368 in 1974.
The population includes 16 indigenous ethnic groups and various foreign minorities. Indigenous peoples comprise about 95 percent of the population. The 16 officially recognized ethnic groups include the Kpelle, Bassa, Mano, Gio or Dan, Kru, Grebo, Krahn, Vai, Gola, Mandingo or Mandinka, Mende, Kissi, Gbandi, Loma, Dei or Dewoin, Belleh, and Americo-Liberians or Congo people.
The Kpelle comprise more than 20% of the population and are the largest ethnic group in Liberia, residing mostly in Bong County and adjacent areas in central Liberia.Americo-Liberians, who are descendants of African American and West Indian, mostly Barbadian settlers, make up 2.5%. Congo people, descendants of repatriated Congo and Afro-Caribbean slaves who arrived in 1825, make up an estimated 2.5%. These latter two groups established political control in the 19th century which they kept well into the 20th century.
Numerous immigrants have come as merchants and become a major part of the business community, including Lebanese, Indians, and other West African nationals. There is a high percentage of interracial marriage between ethnic Liberians and the Lebanese, resulting in a significant mixed-race population especially in and around Monrovia. A small minority of Liberians who are White Africans of European descent reside in the country.[ better source needed ] The Liberian constitution restricts citizenship to "Negroes or persons of Negro descent."
English is the official language and serves as the lingua franca of Liberia.Thirty-one indigenous languages are spoken in Liberia, but each is a first language for only a small percentage of the population. Liberians also speak a variety of creolized dialects collectively known as Liberian English.
According to the 2008 National Census, 85.6% of the population practices Christianity, while Muslims represent a minority of 12.2%.A multitude of diverse Protestant confessions such as Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, United Methodist, African Methodist Episcopal (AME) and African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) denominations form the bulk of the Christian population, followed by adherents of the Roman Catholic Church and other non-Protestant Christians. Most of these Christian denominations were brought by African American settlers moving from the United States into Liberia via the American Colonization Society, while some are indigenous—especially Pentecostal and evangelical Protestant ones. Protestantism was originally associated with Black American settlers and their Americo-Liberian descendants, while native peoples held to their own animist forms of African traditional religion. Indigenous people were subject to Christian missionary, as well as Americo-Liberian efforts to close the cultural gap by means of education. This proved successful, leaving Christians a majority in the country.
Muslims comprise 12.2% of the population, largely represented by the Mandingo and Vai ethnic groups. Liberian Muslims are divided between Sunnis, Shias, Ahmadiyyas, Sufis, and non-denominational Muslims.
Traditional indigenous religions are practiced by 0.5% of the population, while 1.5% subscribe to no religion. A small number of people are Bahá'í, Hindu, Sikh, or Buddhist. While Christian, many Liberians also participate in traditional, gender-based indigenous religious secret societies, such as Poro for men and Sande for women. The all-female Sande society practices female circumcision.
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally respects this right.While separation of church and state is mandated by the Constitution, Liberia is considered a Christian state in practice. Public schools offer biblical studies, though parents may opt their children out. Commerce is prohibited by law on Sundays and major Christian holidays. The government does not require businesses or schools to excuse Muslims for Friday prayers.
In 2010, the literacy rate of Liberia was estimated at 60.8% (64.8% for males and 56.8% for females).In some areas primary and secondary education is free and compulsory from the ages of 6 to 16, though enforcement of attendance is lax. In other areas children are required to pay a tuition fee to attend school. On average, children attain 10 years of education (11 for boys and 8 for girls). The country's education sector is hampered by inadequate schools and supplies, as well as a lack of qualified teachers.
Higher education is provided by a number of public and private universities. The University of Liberia is the country's largest and oldest university. Located in Monrovia, the university opened in 1862. Today it has six colleges, including a medical school and the nation's only law school, Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law.
In 2009, Tubman University in Harper, Maryland County was established as the second public university in Liberia.Since 2006, the government has also opened community colleges in Buchanan, Sanniquellie, and Voinjama.
Due to student protests late in October 2018, newly elected president George M. Weah abolished tuition fees for undergraduate students in the public universities in Liberia.
Hospitals in Liberia include the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia and several others. Life expectancy in Liberia is estimated to be 57.4 years in 2012.With a fertility rate of 5.9 births per woman, the maternal mortality rate stood at 990 per 100,000 births in 2010. A number of highly communicable diseases are widespread, including tuberculosis, diarrheal diseases and malaria. In 2007, the HIV infection rates stood at 2% of the population aged 15–49 whereas the incidence of tuberculosis was 420 per 100,000 people in 2008. Approximately 58.2% – 66% of women are estimated to have undergone female genital mutilation.
Liberia imports 90% of its rice, a staple food, and is extremely vulnerable to food shortages.In 2007, 20.4% of children under the age of five were malnourished. In 2008, only 17% of the population had access to adequate sanitation facilities.
Approximately 95% of the country's healthcare facilities had been destroyed by the time civil war ended in 2003.In 2009, government expenditure on health care per capita was US$22, accounting for 10.6% of total GDP. In 2008, Liberia had only one doctor and 27 nurses per 100,000 people.
In 2014, an outbreak of Ebola virus in Guinea spread to Liberia. As of November 17,2014 [update] , there were 2,812 confirmed deaths from the ongoing outbreak. In early August 2014 Guinea closed its borders to Liberia to help contain the spread of the virus, as more new cases were being reported in Liberia than in Guinea. On May 9, 2015, Liberia was declared Ebola free after six weeks with no new cases.
According to an Overseas Development Institute report, private health expenditure accounts for 64.1% of total spending on health.
Rape and sexual assault are frequent in the post-conflict era in Liberia. The country has one of the highest incidences of sexual violence against women in the world. Rape is the most frequently reported crime, accounting for more than one-third of sexual violence cases. Adolescent girls are the most frequently assaulted, and almost 40% of perpetrators are adult men known to victims.
Both male and female homosexuality are illegal in Liberia.On July 20, 2012, the Liberian senate voted unanimously to enact legislation to prohibit and criminalize same-sex marriages.
The religious practices, social customs and cultural standards of the Americo-Liberians had their roots in the antebellum American South. The settlers wore top hat and tails and modeled their homes on those of Southern slaveowners.Most Americo-Liberian men were members of the Masonic Order of Liberia, which became heavily involved in the nation's politics.
Liberia has a rich history in textile arts and quilting, as the settlers brought with them their sewing and quilting skills. Liberia hosted National Fairs in 1857 and 1858 in which prizes were awarded for various needle arts. One of the most well-known Liberian quilters was Martha Ann Ricks,who presented a quilt featuring the famed Liberian coffee tree to Queen Victoria in 1892. When President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf moved into the Executive Mansion, she reportedly had a Liberian-made quilt installed in her presidential office.
A rich literary tradition has existed in Liberia for over a century. Edward Wilmot Blyden, Bai T. Moore, Roland T. Dempster and Wilton G. S. Sankawulo are among Liberia's more prominent authors.Moore's novella Murder in the Cassava Patch is considered Liberia's most celebrated novel.
One-third of married Liberian women between the ages of 15–49 are in polygamous marriages.Customary law allows men to have up to four wives.
Liberian cuisine heavily incorporates rice, the country's staple food. Other ingredients include cassava, fish, bananas, citrus fruit, plantains, coconut, okra and sweet potatoes.Heavy stews spiced with habanero and scotch bonnet chillies are popular and eaten with fufu. Liberia also has a tradition of baking imported from the United States that is unique in West Africa.
The most popular sport in Liberia is association football, with President George Weah — the only African to be named FIFA World Player of the Year — being the nation's most famous athlete.The Liberia national football team has reached the Africa Cup of Nations finals twice, in 1996 and 2002.
The second most popular sport in Liberia is basketball. The Liberian national basketball team has reached the AfroBasket twice, in 1983 and 2007.
In Liberia, the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex serves as a multi-purpose stadium. It hosts FIFA World Cup qualifying matches in addition to international concerts and national political events.
Liberia is one of only three countries that have not officially adopted the International System of Units (short SI, also called the metric system), the others being the United States and Myanmar.
The Liberian government has begun transitioning away from use of United States Customary Units to the metric system.However, this change has been gradual, with government reports concurrently using both United States Customary and metric units. In 2018 the Liberian Commerce and Industry Minister announced that the Liberian government are committed to adopting the metric system.
Liberia is a country in West Africa which was founded, established, colonized, and controlled by citizens of the United States and ex-Caribbean slaves as a colony for former African American slaves and their free black descendants. It is one of only two sovereign countries in the world that were started by citizens and ex-Caribbean slaves of a political power as a colony for former slaves of the same political power, the other being Sierra Leone, established by Great Britain. Settlement of former slaves was organised by the American Colonization Society (ACS). The mortality rate of these settlers was the highest in accurately recorded human history. Of the 4,571 emigrants who arrived in Liberia from 1820 to 1843, only 1,819 survived until 1843.
The demographics of Liberia are examined on this page, including Liberia's population density, ethnic groups, education level, population health, economic status, religious affiliations and other demographic information.
Politics of Liberia takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic modeled on the government of the United States, whereby the President is the head of state and head of government; unlike the United States, however, Liberia is a unitary state as opposed to a federation and has a pluriform multi-party system rather than the two-party system that characterizes US politics. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the legislature.
Samuel Kanyon Doe was a Liberian politician who served as the Liberian leader from 1980 to 1990, first as a military leader and later as a politician. While Master Sergeant of the army, Doe staged a violent coup d'etat in April 1980 that left him de facto head of state. During the coup, then president William R. Tolbert, Jr., and much of the True Whig Party leadership were executed. Doe then established the People's Redemption Council, assuming the role of general.
Americo-Liberians, or Congo people or Congau people in Liberian English, are a Liberian ethnic group of African American, Afro-Caribbean and Liberated African descent. The sister ethnic group of Americo-Liberians are the Sierra Leone Creole people, who shared similar ancestry and related culture. Americo-Liberians trace their ancestry to free-born and formerly enslaved African Americans who emigrated in the 19th century to become the founders of the state of Liberia. They identified there as Americo-Liberians. Although the terms "Americo-Liberian" and "Congo" had distinct definitions in the nineteenth century, they are currently interchangeable and refer to an ethnic group composed of the descendants of the various free and ex-slave African American, Caribbean, Recaptive, and Sierra Leone Creoles who settled in Liberia from 1822.
The President of the Republic of Liberia is the head of state and government of Liberia. The president serves as the leader of the executive branch and as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
William Richard Tolbert Jr. was the 20th President of Liberia from 1971 until 1980, when he was killed in a coup d'état led by Samuel Doe.
Monrovia is the capital city of the West African country of Liberia. Located on the Atlantic Coast at Cape Mesurado, Monrovia had a population of 1,010,970 as of the 2008 census. With 29% of the total population of Liberia, Monrovia is the country's most populous city.
The culture of Liberia reflects this nation's diverse ethnicities and long history. Liberia is located in West Africa on the Atlantic Coast.
The True Whig Party (TWP), also known as the Liberian Whig Party (LWP), is the oldest political party in Liberia. Founded in 1869 by primarily Americo-Liberians, the party dominated Liberian politics from 1878 until 1980. The nation was virtually a one-party state, although opposition parties were never outlawed. Initially, its ideology was strongly influenced by that of the United States Whig Party.
The First Liberian Civil War was an internal conflict in Liberia from 1989 until 1997. The conflict killed about 250,000 people and eventually led to the involvement of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and of the United Nations. The peace did not last long, and in 1999 the Second Liberian Civil War broke out.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a Liberian politician who served as the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018. Sirleaf was the first elected female head of state in Africa.
The University of Liberia is a publicly funded institution of higher learning located in Monrovia, Liberia. Authorized by the national government in 1851, the school opened in 1863 as Liberia College and became a university in 1951. The school is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in West Africa and is accredited by the Liberian Commission on Higher Education. Civil wars have disrupted and damaged the school over the last three decades.
A new civil war began in 1999 when a rebel group backed by the government of neighboring Guinea, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), emerged in northern Liberia. By the spring of 2001, they were posing a major threat to the Taylor government. Liberia was now engaged in a complex three-way conflict with Sierra Leone and the Guinea Republic. By the beginning of 2002, both of these countries were supporting the latest addition to the lexicon of Liberian guerrilla outfits – Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), while Taylor was supporting various opposition factions in both countries. By supporting Sierra Leonean rebels, Taylor also drew the enmity of the British and Americans.
Liberia – United States relations are bilateral relations between Liberia and the United States.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Liberia:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the government ministry of Liberia responsible for directing Liberia's external relations and the management of its international diplomatic missions. The ministry is located in Monrovia, Liberia's capital.
Mary Tanyonoh Bruh is the former mayor of Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia. She first served the Liberian government in March 2006 as the Special Projects Coordinator for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's executive staff. In 2007, she was promoted to direct the Passport Bureau in a successful attempt to curtail and eliminate corruption and bribery within the division. In 2008, Broh became the Deputy Director of the National Port Authority. In February 2009, she was selected to serve as Acting Mayor of Monrovia in place of the previous mayor, Ophelia Hoff Saytumah, in the President's effort to legitimize the Monrovia City Corporation's (MCC) administrative and financial management. Although Broh was seated in February 2009 by appointment, rather than by the usual democratic election process, she was not officially confirmed by the Liberian Senate.
The 2011 Liberian general election was held on 11 October 2011, with a presidential runoff election held on 8 November 2011. The presidency, as well as all seats in the House of Representatives and half of the seats in the Senate, were up for election. The election was overseen by the National Elections Commission (NEC).
The 1980 Liberian coup d'état happened on April 12, 1980, when President William Tolbert was overthrown and murdered in a violent coup. The coup was staged by an indigenous Liberian faction of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) under the command of Master Sergeant Samuel Doe. Following a period of transition Doe ruled the country throughout the 1980s until his murder on 9 September 1990 during the First Liberian Civil War.
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