Liberia State Overview

Liberia. Official name: Republic of Liberia (República de Liberia). Formerly named Costa de Grano. According to andyeducation, it is a state in West Africa. It limits to the North with Sierra Leone and the Republic of Guinea, to the East with Ivory Coast, and to the South and West with the Atlantic Ocean. An independent country since its establishment in 1847, it has an area of 99,067 km 2. Its name refers to the idea of freedom.


The geomorphology of the territory presents a sandy coastal zone (570 km), very low and uniform; an alluvial plain parallel to the coastal strip, which in the interior mutates the lowlands by formations of hills, and an eastern region of plateaus belonging to the Guinean plateau, whose average altitude is 500 m, although towards the north-central part they exceed 1,500 m (Montes Nimba, 1850 m, maximum height of the country) and towards the NW, 1,379 m are reached in Mount Wutivi.


The vegetation includes mangroves and palm trees in the coastal region, in the interior herbaceous savannas and tropical forest, and typical mid-mountain vegetation in the upper part of the plateau.


The hydrographic system is rich and regular, with numerous independent rivers oriented from NE to SW, tributaries of the Atlantic, among which the St. Paul, the Mani, the Cess, and the Cavally stand out.


The climate is tropical-equatorial with a monsoon regime, with a dry season (November-April) and another rainy season (May-October). Temperatures, which are higher on the coast, are high with marked diurnal and seasonal variations in the highlands, as well as abundant rainfall, especially on the coast.


The Liberian economy was largely supported by the export of iron ore. Liberia was also an exporter of rubber. The long civil war has destroyed much of the country’s economic infrastructure, leading Liberia to a dependency on foreign aid.

Natural resources

Its natural resources are:

  • Mineral iron,
  • wood
  • diamonds
  • Gold
  • Hydroelectricity

Social development


The population, whose density is low, is concentrated in the vicinity of the capital and in the center-O and center-N regions, but only 25% live in urban centers: most of the population lives in small rural towns , preserving archaic social and productive systems. Ethnologically, the semi-Bantu, Mande and Kua groups, belonging to the Guinean racial group, and the descendants of black American slaves predominate.


Liberia was traditionally famous for its hospitality, academic institutions, cultural activities, and arts and crafts. In the northwest of the country, two indigenous scripts developed in the 19th century are still used to a lesser extent in order to protect local cultures and languages: the Vai syllabary and the Vah script.

Liberia has a long and rich history in the textile arts and wadding. Free and former slaves from America who emigrated to Liberia brought their sewing skills and wadding. The 1843 Liberia census indicated a variety of occupations, including hatters, dressmakers, seamstresses, and tailors. Liberia held national fairs in 1857 and 1858 where prizes were awarded for various needle arts. One of the best known Liberian quilts was Martha Ann Ricks, who presented a quilt depicting the famous Liberian coffee tree to Queen Victoria in 1892.

In modern times, Liberian presidents would present the quilts as official gifts to governments. The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum collection includes a cotton quilt by Mrs. Jemima Parker that has portraits of both Liberian President William Tubman and JFK. Zariah Wright-Titus founded the Arthington (Liberia) Women’s Self-Help Quilting Club (1987).

In the early 1990s, Bishop Kathleen documented examples of applied Liberian quilts. When current Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf moved into the Executive Mansion, she had a Liberian-made quilt in her presidential office, according to a report.


The music of Liberia involves various genres. Their musical heritage includes several major pop genres derived from neighbors like Ghana and Nigeria. It also boasts an arsenal of traditional indigenous music, Christian music and influences from its Americo-Liberian minority. Most of the cultures and customs in Liberia are influenced by the United States, R&B and Hip-hop are also being performed in this country as well.


In Liberia three religions are professed: animism, Christianity and Islam. These last two are better known than the first. Animism is a religion or belief according to which nature would be ruled by spirits such as the wind, stones or animals.

Political-administrative organization

Liberia is divided into 15 counties:

  1. Bomi
  2. Bong
  3. Gbarpolu
  4. Grand Bassa
  5. Grand Cape Mount
  6. Grand gedeh
  7. Grand kru
  8. Lofa
  9. Margibi
  10. Maryland
  11. Montserrado
  12. Nimba
  13. River cess
  14. River gee
  15. Sinoe


Settlers of North America

In 1822 the American Colonization Society marked Liberia as the place to send freed African American slaves. African Americans gradually migrated to the colony, forming a group from which many of today’s Liberians are descended. The 26 of July of 1847 the American colonists declared independence from the Republic of Liberia.

The settlers considered Africa their “promised land” but did not integrate into African society. Once in Africa they referred to themselves as “Americans” and were also recognized as such by the African and British colonial authorities in neighboring Sierra Leone. The symbols of their state – their flag, motto and coat of arms, and the form of government they chose reflect their American background and diaspora experience. Lincoln University, founded in 1854, played an important role in shaping the leaders of the new nation. Lincoln University’s first class, James R. Amos, his brother Thomas H. Amos, and Armistead Miller sailed for Liberia on the Mary C. Stevens in April 1859.

The religious practices, social customs, and cultural standards of the American colonists had their roots in the pre- Civil War American South. These ideas influenced the attitude of the settlers towards the native African peoples. The new nation, as they perceived it, would imply the coexistence of settlers and Africans, who would be assimilated into it.

Mistrust and hostility appeared frequently between the two communities, the “American”, established on the coast and the “native”, inland. There were also attempts (usually successful) carried out by the “American” minority with the aim of dominating the native peoples, who they considered uncivilized and inferior. They named the country “Liberia” which means “Land of the Free”, a tribute to their freedom from slavery.

The Liberia foundation received financial support from American religious and philanthropic groups, and enjoyed the unofficial cooperation of the United States government. The Liberian government, modeled on the American one, had a democratic structure, at least in part.

After 1877 the True Whig party monopolized the political power of the country and the struggles for power took place within the party itself, whose candidate obtained the presidency. Two problems faced by the administration were pressure from neighboring colonial powers, the United Kingdom and France, and the threat of financial insolvency. Both threatened the sovereignty of the country. Liberia retained its independence during the partition of Africa, but lost extensive territories, which passed to British or French control. Economic development was delayed by the decline of Liberian goods markets in the late 19th century and the payment of debts, which seriously affected the economy.

Liberia State Overview

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