To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
— Aldous Huxley, 1894 - 1963
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Liberia

Background

Liberia

Settlement of freed slaves from the US in what is today Liberia began in 1822; by 1847, the Americo-Liberians were able to establish a republic. William TUBMAN, president from 1944-71, did much to promote foreign investment and to bridge the economic, social, and political gaps between the descendents of the original settlers and the inhabitants of the interior. In 1980, a military coup led by Samuel DOE ushered in a decade of authoritarian rule. In December 1989, Charles TAYLOR launched a rebellion against DOE's regime that led to a prolonged civil war in which DOE himself was killed. A period of relative peace in 1997 allowed for elections that brought TAYLOR to power, but major fighting resumed in 2000. An August 2003 peace agreement ended the war and prompted the resignation of former president Charles TAYLOR, who faces war crimes charges in The Hague related to his involvement in Sierra Leone's civil war. After two years of rule by a transitional government, democratic elections in late 2005 brought President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF to power. The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) maintains a strong presence throughout the country, but the security situation is still fragile and the process of rebuilding the social and economic structure of this war-torn country continues.

About

Liberia is in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Côte d'Ivoire.

Read more about Liberia in our Liberia travel guide »

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Liberia

Full name
Republic of Liberia
Capital
Monrovia
Location

Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone

Geographic coordinates

6 30 N, 9 30 W

Area comparative

slightly larger than Tennessee

Border countries

Guinea 563 km, Cote d'Ivoire 716 km, Sierra Leone 306 km

Coastline

579 km

Climate

tropical; hot, humid; dry winters with hot days and cool to cold nights; wet, cloudy summers with frequent heavy showers

Terrain

mostly flat to rolling coastal plains rising to rolling plateau and low mountains in northeast

Lowest point

Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Mount Wuteve 1,380 m

Natural resources

iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, hydropower

Population

3,685,076 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

Kpelle 20.3%, Bassa 13.4%, Grebo 10%, Gio 8%, Mano 7.9%, Kru 6%, Lorma 5.1%, Kissi 4.8%, Gola 4.4%, other 20.1% (2008 Census)

Religions

Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.4% (2008 Census)

Languages

English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages few of which can be written or used in correspondence

Government type

republic

Independence

26 July 1847

National holiday

Independence Day, 26 July (1847)

Chief of state

President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF (since 16 January 2006); note - the President is both the chief of state and head of government

Head of government

President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF (since 16 January 2006)

Internet country code

.lr

Internet users

20,000 (2009)

Airports

29 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Buchanan, Monrovia

Other countries in the region