oa Africa Insight - Country profile - Liberia

Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



Liberia is the only African country that has never been ruled by a European power. Like neighbouring Sierra Leone, the coastal area served as a haven for freed slaves, but unlike its western neighbour, Liberia has existed as an independent state for 138 years. Modern Liberia owes it origins to the movements aimed at the abolition of slavery prevailing in America around the turn of the 19th century. In 1816 the Congress of the United States granted a charter to the American Colonisation Society to obtain African land to which freed slaves could be repatriated. Between 1822 and 1892 more than 20 000 freed American slaves and slaves rescued from slaving ships on the high seas settled at Monrovia (named after President Monroe) and elsewhere on the Liberian coast.

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