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Liberia – Then and Now. An Overview of the Country. The Geography of Africa. Flag of Liberia. Climate of Liberia. The climate is tropical and humid, with little change in temperature throughout the year. Temperatures range between 60 F and 97 F – most commonly around 80 F.

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liberia then and now

Liberia – Then and Now

An Overview of the Country

climate of liberia
Climate of Liberia
  • The climate is tropical and humid, with little change in temperature throughout the year.
  • Temperatures range between 60 F and 97 F – most commonly around 80 F.
  • On the coast the heat is tempered by an almost constant breeze.
  • Yearly rainfall is as high as 200 in on the coast, decreasing to about 80 in. in areas farthest inland. There are distinct wet and dry seasons, most of the rainfall occurring between late April and mid-November.
  • Average relative humidity in the coastal area is about 82% during the rainy season and 78% in the dry, but it may drop to 50% or lower between December and March, when the dust-laden harmattan blows from the Sahara.
geography of liberia
Geography of Liberia
  • 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.
economy of liberia
Economy of Liberia
  • Liberia is one of the world's poorest countries, with a formal employment rate of only 15%.
  • 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 following 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.
  • 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.
history of liberia
History of Liberia
  • Set up by the U.S. as a sovereign state for former African American Slaves
  • (Sierra Leone was set up by Britain for the same reason.)
  • 1821-1847
  • Combination of purchase and conquest
  • Declared its independence on July 26, 1847
americo liberian rule
Americo-Liberian Rule
  • 1847-1980
  • Governed by small minority of African American colonists and their offspring
  • Called “Americo-Liberians” – considered the “elite” class (typically lighter skinned because of mixing of race with Europeans and Americans)
  • Suppress the large indigenous majority of 95% of the population
  • Encouraged Protestant Christianity
  • Attitude of superiority regarding European skin color and hair texture
  • Created social and material facsimile of southern America which included architecture and clothing styles
  • Racist caste system
  • Some locals assimilated by marriage
  • Some tribes learned Eng and attended Protestant Churches, and some didn’t
uprisings and problems
Uprisings and problems
  • Over the years there were many native insurgencies, which were always stopped by the ruling government
  • 1927 – League of Nations admonished the Liberian Gov’t for ‘systematically … fostering and encouraging a policy of gross intimidation and suppression’, “in order to suppress the native, prevent him from realizing his powers and limitations and prevent him from asserting himself in any way whatever, for the benefit of the dominant and colonizing race, although originally the same African stock as themselves” (President Charles King – 1920-1930)
ww ii era
  • Many indigenous Liberians moved from the interior to the coast in search of jobs.
  • 1942 Liberia signed Defense Pact which promised a steady supply of rubber to the U.S. and permitted use of the country as a military base for Allied Forces
  • Germany had been an important trading partner, but Liberia sided with the Allies, so Germany withdrew business
after the war
After the war
  • After 1945, country received hundreds of millions of dollars in unrestricted foreign investments (largely from the U.S.)
  • This destabilized the Liberian gov’t and led to embezzlement by gov’t officials.
  • Growing economic disparity
  • Increasing social tension
presidency of tubman
Presidency of Tubman
  • President from 1947 – 1971
  • Father of Modern Liberia
  • Prosperity and National Unity
president tolbert
President Tolbert
  • 1971-1980
  • Continued the oppression
  • Plans to raise the price of rice in 1979 led to riots in the streets
  • Tolbert ordered troops to fire on demonstrators – 70 people killed
  • Rioting got worse leading to a coup in April 1980
samuel doe 1980 1989
Samuel Doe (1980-1989)
  • Indigenous Liberians (People’s Redemption Council) overtook the Americo-Liberian elite and put Samuel Doe in power.
  • Tolbert and 26 supporters were murdered
  • 10 days later, 13 cabinet members were publicly executed
  • Many people supported Doe because he represented the majority in the country
  • Good relations with U.S. and other countries
the reagan years
The Reagan Years
  • During the 1980’s, President Ronald Reagan was a supporter of Doe’s and funneled millions of dollars in trade into the country
  • Direct financial aid from the U.S. increased from $20 million to $75 and then $95 million per year
  • Doe overcame 7 coup attempts before 1985
  • PRC members started to question Doe and out of fear of a coup he had them banned or arrested
  • Doe’s paranoia led to more problems
multi party republic
Multi-party Republic
  • Attempt to quiet the factions that complained about Doe’s control
  • Constitution drafted in 1983 – approved in 1984
  • 1985 Doe called an election
  • 9 parties asked to participate, only 3 were permitted
  • 50 of Doe’s opponents were killed
  • Doe won by 51% - heavily rigged election
more coup attempts
More Coup attempts
  • Nov 1985 – Thomas Quiwonkpa – former 2nd in command – attempted to seize power with 500+ allies. All were killed.
  • Doe (from Krahn tribe) took office as “president” in Jan 1986
  • Ordered attack on Gio and Mano tribes in the north who were supporters of the coup attempt.
  • U.S. decreased support of country (many reasons)
late 1980 s
Late 1980’s
  • Charles Taylor organized people from Gio and Mano tribes in the north and led them to attack
  • By 1990, Full-blown tribal warfare had broken out.
  • “First Liberian Civil War” – 1989-1996
  • Thousands of Civilians were killed
charles taylor and the npfl
Charles Taylor and the NPFL
  • Taylor was a member of Doe’s government until 1983 when he was accused of embezzlement and fired.
  • He fled to the U.S. and was arrested in 1984 and jailed in Massachusettes.
  • He escaped in 1985 and went back to Africa where he organized the opposition group of Gio and Mano tribes
  • National Patriotic Front of Liberia
various controls
Various controls
  • Mid 1990, Taylor’s group controlled most of the country
  • Yormie Johnson split off from the NPFL and formed the Independent National Front of Liberia
  • Aug 1990 - ECOWOG Stepped in to provide stability and stop the fighting (Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group)