LIBERIA - Stefania Forte
LIBERIA - Stefania Forte
First Independent Country in Africa
Facts About Liberia
• First Independent Country in Africa (1847)
• Country formed by free slaves from the U.S., The
Caribbean and Britain
• Many similarities to Southern African-American
culture: cuisine, architecture, music etc
• Capital City is Monrovia named after American
President James Monroe
• First Female President in Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
• Natural Resources are: Rubber, Iron Ore, Diamond,
Gold, Timber, Rain Forest
*The history of Liberia is unique in
Africa as it started neither as a native
state nor as a European colony, but
began in 1821 when private societies
began founding colonies for free blacks
from the United States on the coast of
*Modern Liberia was founded in 1822
by freed slaves from the United States.
They were sent to Africa under the
auspices of the American Colonization
Society, a private organization whose
purpose was "to promote and execute
a plan for colonizing in Africa, with
their own consent, the free people of
color residing in the US.“
*The settlers recreated American
society, building churches and homes
that resembled Southern plantations.
And they continued to speak English.
They also entered into a complex
relationship with the indigenous
people -- marrying them in some
cases, discriminating against them in
others, (and enslaving them in the
worst of cases) but all the time
attempting to "civilize" them and
impose Western values on the
The new colonies adopted other
American styles of life, including
southern plantation-style houses with
deep verandahs, and established
thriving trade links with other West
Africans. The Americo-Liberians
distinguished themselves from the
local people, characterized as 'natives,'
by the universal appellation of "Mr."
Liberian Independence 1847
• The Liberia's national flag is called “LONE STAR”. The
eleven horizontal stripes represent the eleven signers
of the declaration of independence and the
constitution of the Republic of Liberia; the blue field
symbolizes the continent of Africa; the five pointed
white star depicts Liberia as the first “independent
republic” on the continent of Africa; the red color
designates “valor”; the white, “purity”; and the blue,
“fidelity”. Although these representations are uniquely
Liberian, the flag itself is a replica of “Old Glory”, the
national flag of the United States.
• The seal shows a sailing-vessel approaching the coast, a palm tree,
a plow and a spade on the shore, a dove on the wing with an open
scroll in its claws and the sun just emerging from the waters. Above
the emblem the national motto: THE LOVE OF LIBERTY BROUGHT
US HERE and beneath it, the words REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA.
• The symbols of the seal are obvious: a peace-bringing bird, the
dove, arrives with a message from overseas (the United States), the
granting of independence. The ship represents the arrival of the
colonists, as does the national motto:
THE LOVE OF LIBERTY BROUGHT US HERE.
Also the spade and the plough refer to the colonists as they brought
these tools with them. The palm tree may symbolize one of the
main products of the region.
Joseph Jenkins Roberts
Liberian’s First President
Joseph Jenkins Roberts (1809-1876)
was born in Virginia, U.S.A. His parents
were poor. He came to Liberia in 1829.
Roberts soon became a prosperous
trader and also engaged in politics.
After the creation of the
Commonwealth of Liberia, in 1838, he
became Vice-Governor. In 1841
Governor Thomas Buchanan, a cousin
of the President of the USA, James
Buchanan, died and was succeeded by
J.J. Roberts. It was the first time that
the colony was not governed by a
white agent of the American
Colonization Society - its legal owner but by a colonist. Although Roberts
was a colonist, "he was not really
black; he was an octoroon and could
have easily passed for a white man",
as Aboyomi Karnga, one of Liberia’s
best-known historians reported.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT
(born October 29, 1938) is
the current President of
Liberia, Africa's first
elected female head of
state and Liberia's first
elected female president.
She was elected President
in the 2005 Presidential
Election and took office on
January 16, 2006. She is
often referred to as the
Liberia Natural Resources
• Iron Ore
• Palm Oil
Liberia hosts the last two significant blocks of the remaining closed canopy tropical
rainforest within the Upper Guinea Forests of West Africa. The Upper Guinea Forest,
recognized as one of the world’s twenty-five biodiversity hotspots, consists of a belt of
fragmented forests that runs parallel to the coast of West Africa, and covers all or part
of some ten countries, from Guinea at its western end to southwestern Cameroon at
its eastern terminus. It ranks first in mammalian diversity among the world’stwentyfive
hotspots. The Upper Guinea Forest hosts 551 different species of mammals and is
home to half of the mammal species known to the African continent. Additionally, it
is among the highest priority regions in the world for primate conservation, and is
consequently one of the priorities for global biodiversity conservation.
The Upper Guinea Forest has shrunk to an estimated 12.7% of its original size,
estimated to be 727,900 square-kilometers, and almost 45% of this remaining forest is
***SHOW POSTER ON RAINFOREST ANIMALS!
Threats of the Rainforest
The Liberian rainforest, however, is under great threat,
primarily from industrial logging. From 1997 to 2001 log
production increased by more than a staggering 1,300%.
Unsurprisingly, this is already having an enormous impact
on indigenous rural communities and local people who
depend on the land and the forest for their livelihood. Their
cultural and spiritual practices are so dependent on the
forest that, with the rapid loss of forest, the survival and
growth of these communities is being severely endangered.
The current level of poverty in these communities is a clear
indication of what is to come if nothing is done to check the
current trend of forest exploitation.
The Civil War
• the President of Liberia, had taken power in a popular coup of 1980
but opposition from abroad to his undemocratic regime led to
economic collapse. At first, Doe crushed internal opposition, but
after his Krahn tribe began attacking other tribes – particularly in
Nimba County – conflict seemed inevitable.
• Charles Taylor, who had left Doe's government, assembled a group
of rebels in Côte d'Ivoire who later became known as the National
Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL). They invaded Nimba County on 24
December 1989. The Liberian Army retaliated against the whole
population of the region, attacking unarmed civilians and burning
villages. Many left as refugees for Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire, but
opposition to Doe was inflamed. Prince Johnson had sided with
Taylor in the invasion, but soon split to form his own guerrilla force,
based on the Gio tribe.
The Beauty of Liberia