20 Fascinating Facts About Liberia
1. Liberia is a country located in West Africa on the North Atlantic Ocean bordering Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, and Sierra Leone.
2. Liberia is the only Black state in Africa that has never been subjected to colonial rule.
3. Liberia is also Africa’s oldest republic, established on land acquired for freed US slaves by the American Colonization Society in 1821.
4. The first European to visit what would become Liberia was Portuguese sailor Pedro de Sintra who reached the Liberian coast in 1461.
5. The area was known as the Grain Coast or Pepper Coast to Europeans because the valuable grain of Melegueta pepper was the principal item of trade in the region.
6. The territory was named Liberia in 1824 and Liberian independence was officially proclaimed in 1847.
7. From 1989 to 2003, a ruthless civil war killed 250,000 people, while thousands more were mutilated and raped, often by armies of drugged child soldiers led by warlords.
8. In 2012, former Liberian leader Charles Taylor was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to 50 years in jail. His crimes included terrorism, rape, murder, and the use of child soldiers by rebel groups in Sierra Leone.
9. Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first woman to be elected head of state of an African country. She was Liberia’s president from 2006 to 2018.
10. Johnson Sirleaf won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her work as part of a “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
11. From 2013 to 2016, there was a deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Around 11,300 people died, mainly in Liberia.
12. Liberia’s name comes from the Latin word “liber” meaning “free” as the country was created as a homeland for liberated African-American slaves.
13. The country’s capital city, Monrovia, was named after James Monroe, the fifth president of the USA and supporter of the colonization of Liberia by freed slaves.
14. Monrovia is one of two national capitals named after an American president, the other being Washington DC in the USA.
15. Approximately, one in ten of the world’s ships are registered in Liberia and fly its flag in order to avoid taxes and stricter employment regulations. The practice is known as the “flag of convenience”. Only Panama has more ships registered under its flag.
16. Liberia’s flag is modeled on the USA’s. A single star symbolizes Liberia’s status as the only independent Western-style state in Africa. The 11 stripes represent the number of men who signed the Liberian Declaration of Independence.
17. Liberia is one of the world’s hungriest countries, considered to be suffering from serious levels of hunger.
18. Liberia has one of the youngest populations in the world with the median age of its citizens just 18 years.
19. Liberia is one of 27 countries that doesn’t have any UNESCO World Heritage Sites. However, it does have two properties on the Tentative List (properties intended to be submitted for nomination).
20. Former professional footballer George Weah became Liberia’s president in 2018. Weah played for Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, and Chelsea before entering politics in 2002.