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Our Heritage

The heritage of Liberia is deeply rooted in its history, dating back to the early 1800s when it was established by the American Colonization Society. Since then, Liberia has evolved into a unique nation with a rich culture and a shared past that binds its people together. Its diverse heritage is reflected in its architecture, music, art, cuisine, language, and customs, blending influences from different cultures. Liberia embraces its cultural diversity with pride and reverence, celebrating its traditions and history. Join us as we explore the fascinating tapestry of Liberia's heritage.

Liberia, The Origin

Liberia, situated on the West African coast, shares borders with Sierra Leone to its west, Guinea to its north, Ivory Coast to its east, and the Atlantic Ocean to its south. Encompassing an area of 111,369 square kilometers (43,000 sq mi), Liberia is home to approximately 4,700,000 people. English serves as the official language, while over 16 indigenous languages are spoken, representing the diverse ethnic groups constituting more than 95% of the population. Monrovia, the country's capital, also serves as its largest city.

Liberia's origins trace back to a settlement established by the American Colonization Society (ACS), which sought to provide greater opportunities for freedom and prosperity to black individuals in Africa than in the United States. Independence was declared on July 26, 1847, though it was not recognized by the U.S. until February 5, 1862, amidst the American Civil War. Between January 7, 1822, and the Civil War, thousands of freed and free-born black individuals, facing discriminatory laws in the U.S., migrated to Liberia, alongside Afro-Caribbeans.

These settlers brought their cultural heritage to Liberia, evident in the country's constitution and flag, modeled after those of the U.S. Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a wealthy, free-born African American from Virginia, was elected as Liberia's first president on January 3, 1848, following the declaration of independence.

Liberia holds the distinction of being Africa's first and oldest modern republic, maintaining its sovereignty during the Scramble for Africa. Throughout World War II, Liberia supported the United States' efforts against Germany, resulting in substantial U.S. investments in infrastructure to aid the war effort and modernize major air transportation facilities in Liberia. President William Tubman also spearheaded economic reforms during his tenure. Internationally, Liberia was a founding member of prominent organizations such as the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the Organisation of African Unity.

However, tensions arose between the Americo-Liberian settlers and indigenous peoples, particularly in isolated regions. The colonial settlements faced raids from indigenous groups like the Kru and Grebo. The Americo-Liberians established a political elite, restricting birthright citizenship to indigenous tribes until 1904, mirroring the treatment of Native Americans in the United States. Additionally, religious organizations were promoted to establish missions and schools aimed at educating indigenous populations.

Liberia, The Civil War

Following the administration of William R. Tolbert, political tensions culminated in a military coup in 1980, resulting in Tolbert's death. This event marked the onset of prolonged political instability in Liberia, leading to the First and Second Liberian Civil Wars. The period saw years of military rule under the People's Redemption Council, led by Samuel K. Doe, followed by five years of civilian rule under the National Democratic Party of Liberia, led by Charles Taylor. Tragically, these conflicts claimed the lives of approximately 250,000 individuals, equivalent to about 8% of the population, while displacing many others and causing a staggering 90% shrinkage in Liberia's economy.

A peace agreement brokered in 2003 paved the way for democratic elections in 2005, resulting in the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as President. Although the nation embarked on a path of recovery, approximately 85% of the population continues to live below the international poverty line.

Liberia's economic and political stability faced significant challenges in the 2010s due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus epidemic. Originating in Guinea in December 2013, the epidemic spread to Liberia in March 2014, posing a severe threat to public health and socio-economic stability. However, after concerted efforts, Liberia was officially declared free of the Ebola virus epidemic on May 8, 2015, marking a significant milestone in the nation's recovery journey.

The emergence of COVID-19 in Liberia in March 2020 brought significant challenges due to its fragile healthcare system still recovering from Ebola. President George Weah swiftly implemented measures like school closures and lockdowns, causing economic strain. The healthcare system faced pressure with inadequate resources, leading to difficulties in patient care. Many lost their lives, including healthcare workers. Despite challenges, Liberia showed resilience, with the government and international partners launching initiatives to support vulnerable populations. Vaccination campaigns offer hope for recovery, although challenges remain on the path to a brighter future.

Liberia, Current Day

Liberia is currently governed by a democratically elected leadership led by Joseph Nyumah Boakai, born on November 30, 1944. Boakai, a seasoned Liberian politician, holds the position of the 26th and current president of Liberia. Prior to his presidency, he served as the 29th vice president of Liberia from 2006 to 2018, under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's administration. Boakai also served as the minister of agriculture from 1983 to 1985.

In the 2017 presidential election, Boakai contested for the presidency but was defeated by George Weah. However, he successfully secured victory over Weah in the 2023 election. Notably, George Weah, a former football star, achieved a remarkable run-off victory in December 2017, marking Liberia's first democratic power transfer in decades as he succeeded Ellen Johnson.

Pledge of Allegiance of Liberia

I pledge allegiance to the flag of Liberia and to the Republic for which it stands. One nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Counties of Liberia

The Republic of Liberia is partitioned into fifteen counties, each overseen by a superintendent appointed by the President. These counties represent Liberia's primary administrative divisions, with the last division being finalized in 2001.

Liberia's administrative divisions consist of fifteen primary regions commonly referred to as countries, namely Bomi, Bong, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Lofa, Margibi, Maryland, Montserrado, Nimba, Rivercess, River Gee, and Sinoe.

Lyric to the National Anthem of Liberia

All hail, Liberia, hail! All hail, Liberia, hail! This glorious land of liberty Shall long be ours.
Though new her name, Green be her fame, And mighty be her powers,
Though new her name, Green be her fame, And mighty be her powers,
And mightybe her powers, And mightybe her powers,
In j
oy and gladness With our hearts united, We'll shout the freedom
Of a race benighted,

Long live Liberia, happy land! A home of glorious liberty,
By God's command! A home of glorious liberty, By God's command!
All hail, Liberia, hail! All hail, Liberia, hail! In union strong success is sure We cannot fail!
With God above Our rights to prove
We will o'er all prevail, We will o'er all prevail, We will o'er all prevail,
With heart and hand Our country's cause defending
We'll meet the foe With valorunpretending.
Long live Liberia, happy land! A home of glorious liberty,
By God's command! A home of glorious liberty, By God's command!

Historical Dates In Liberia

  • 1847 - Liberia adopts a constitution modeled after that of the United States and gains independence.

  • 1917 - Liberia declares war on Germany, providing the Allies with a strategic base in West Africa.

  • 1926 - Rubber production emerges as the cornerstone of Liberia's economy with the establishment of a rubber plantation by the Firestone Tyre and Rubber Company.

  • 1936 - Forced labor practices are abolished.

  • 1943 - William Tubman is elected president.

  • 1958 - Racial discrimination is outlawed.

  • 1980 - Master Sergeant Samuel Doe leads a military coup, overthrowing and publicly executing President William Tolbert and 13 of his aides.

  • 1985 - Samuel K. Doe wins the presidential election following the reinstatement of political parties under international pressure.

  • 1989-2003 - Civil war erupts, resulting in up to 250,000 deaths and widespread atrocities perpetrated by armies of child soldiers under ruthless warlords.

  • 2005 - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is elected as Liberia's first female head of state.

  • 2013-2016 - An Ebola virus outbreak ravages Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, claiming 11,300 lives, primarily in Liberia.

  • 2018-01-22 - George Weah assumes the presidency, becoming the first African football superstar to lead a republic as president.

  • 2024 - Ongoing - Joseph Nyumah Boakai Liberia's current president.

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