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 (2005) • 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 West Africa. *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 traditional communities. 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 Flag The Seal
THE FLAG • 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 • 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.
Liberian’s First President Joseph Jenkins Roberts 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 AboyomiKarnga, one of Liberia’s best-known historians reported.
FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT IN AFRICA Ellen Johnson Sirleaf *Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (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 “Iron Lady".
Liberia Natural Resources Natural Resources Agricultural Products Rice Cassava Coffee Cocoa Palm Oil Sheep Goat Sugarcane • Timber • Rubber • Gold • Diamond • Iron Ore
…..continued 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 in Liberia ***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.