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Essay/Term paper: Liberia

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Geography

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Introduction
This paper is about a small country on the west coast of Africa called Liberia. It is a country built with the help of The American Colonization Society. I was established to place freed blacks in the days of slavery in the United States in the 1800s. The government was modeled after of the United Stats. Monrovia, the capital and principal, port is named after a president of the united states James Monroe. This country has historical significance for african Americans. As Africa's oldest republic, established by former black American slaves, Liberia played and important role as a model for African colones seeking independence.

LIBERIA


HISTORY
Liberia's tribal peoples migrated to the area between the
12th and 16th centuries. The Portuguese arrived in 1461 and began a trade in ivory, pepper, and later in slaves. In 1820, the first colonists arrived. Their successful settlement was named Monrovia in 1824. More colonists gradually arrived and established separate colonies. In 1847 the colonies united and Liberia became the first independent republic in black Africa.
The new nation faced many problems. Some of them were tribal wars, low exports, and land claimed by other countries. Liberia was able to maintain its independence only with the help of the United States. Following World War II, the modern port, airport, hospitals, hydroelectric station, and other projects, all financed by the United States, were opened. There has been frequent military conflicts and civil wars. In August 1990, forces from several African countries entered Liberia to try and stop the bloody civil wars. The fighting only became worse and the Prospects of a negotiated settlement were dim.

LAND AND RESOURCES
Liberia's straight sandy coast is 350 miles long. It is broken by lagoons and mangrove swamps. It gives way to a low rolling plain about 20 miles wide. Further inland, foothills ranging in height from 600 to 1000 feet high are found. They become mountains in the north and east. The highest point in the country is Mt. Wutuvi which rises to 4,531 feet. Land area of the country is 43,000 square miles.
Liberia's rivers are short and flow parallel to one another from the mountains to the ocean. The largest rivers are the St. Paul, St. John, and Cavalla.
Liberia's tropical climate is hot and humid. The usual temperature ranges from 60 degrees to 87 degrees. Annual rainfall, as much as 177 inches at the coast, gradually decreases inland to 96 inches. The rainy season occurs between May and October. A dusty winter wind blows during December.
There are 90 different kind of usable wood in Liberia's vast timber resources. Mineral resources include large deposits of iron ore, diamonds, and gold.
The country is rich in wildlife. More than 100 species of mammals have so for been identified. There are fifteen species belonging to the cat family, among which the largest is the leopard. The number of leopards has been decreasing rapidly along with the elephant and bush cow. Monkeys, chimpanzees, and antelopes swarm. two rare mammals found here are the manatee and the pygmy hippopotamus. In addition to mammals, there are more that 100 species of birds, including eagles, kites, and hawks.

PEOPLE
Liberians of black American ancestry who migrated from North and South America between 1820 and 1856 are known as Americo- Liberians. They live along the coast and make of up about 5 percent of the more that 2 million population. The bulk population consist of native cultural groups. Each has its own language. There is also a large group of English speaking people. The largest native group is the Kpelle which is 19% of the population. The Bassa group makes up 14% of the population. It is estimated that 18% of the people practice traditional African religions. About 68 percent are Christians and about 14 percent are Islamic. Liberia is officially Christian.
Almost half of the country's city population lives in the capitol of Monrovia, which is the largest city. The population of Monrovia was 425,000 in 1984.
Education was formerly provided by Christian missions but most schools are now government operated. Although education is free and required between the ages of 6 and 16, less than half of the school-age children attend, partly because of a teacher shortage. The University of Liberia was founded in 1862. It is located in the capitol city of Monrovia.
ECONOMY
Most of Liberia's workers work in farming. It is the most important economic activity for more than 68% of the people. They mostly grow what they use.
Rubber is a commercial crop grown on plantations which employ about half of those who work for money. The first Liberian rubber plantation was established by the British in 1904. It was obtain from the British in 1926 by an American company known as the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Firestone improved and expanded their company but in 1983 cut off their operations. Fishing is an important industry. Mining and logging are also important. Iron ore is the largest export.
Liberia also receives income from the registration of foreign ships. Many foreign ships fly the Liberian flag to avoid regulations and taxes.
Industry remains underdeveloped. Machinery, transportation equipment, and food are imported.
The United States has helped Liberia economically. However, the large amounts of money the United States has given Liberia has not always been handled well. This caused the United States to decide to give them less. This caused Liberia to have difficulties in their economy. Expensive civil wars used most of Liberia's money so they could not pay their debts for several years. Homes and businesses were destroyed, the planting and harvesting of crops were disrupted, and hunger threatened much of the population.
In 1950s the roads in remote areas were greatly expanded. Most of the existing roads is were constructed to meet the needs of the plantations rather than needs of small rural farmers.
The only railroad is owned and operated by a foreign iron-ore mining company.
A telephone and radio communication system, one of the first in Africa was introduced in Liberia in the early 1900s.

GOVERNMENT
Liberia had a constitution written on July 26, 1847. It was written like the constitution of the United States. The Country was lead by a elected president, a vice president, and a cabinet. It had a Senate and House of Representatives as the chief legislative bodies. The constitution, at first, only applied to Americo-Liberians and not to the African Tribes. William Tubman, who was president from 1944-1971, made a serious effort to encourage participation of the tribes in the political life of the country. The constitution continued until April 12, 1980. At that time there was military fighting that caused the government to change so the constitution was no longer be used.
William V. S. Tubman served as president from 1944 until his death in 1971. Following him was William R. Tolbert, Jr. He was also the vice-president for Tubman. Tolbert was assassinated on April 12, 1980 in the first Liberians military coup, led by an army sergeant named Samuel K. Doe. Then the government was overthrown. Doe became commander in chief of the army with the rank of general. He also become the first non-Americo-Liberian to head the government. After his victory in an election in 1985, Doe was elected the president of the republic on January 6, 1986, and a new constitution came into effect.
A bloody civil war began in December 1989 when a group of rebels led by a former member of Doe's administration invaded the county. The rebels, associated with the Mano and Gio tribes, sought to overthrow Doe. By the mid 1990 the insurrection had turned into tribal war.
In September 1990 Doe was killed by one of the rebel groups that had been trying to overthrow hem. Four men claimed leadership of the country A caretaker government was appointed until a freely elected government could be formed. The country continues to have political problems.

MONROVIA
Monrovia is the liberia capital. The town was founded in 1822 and named for United Stats President James Monroe. The american Colonization Society helped found the city as a settlement for freed slaves. It is the largest city in Liberia. Monrovia is the country's chief port located at the mouth of the Mesurado River on the Atlantic coast. The port and industrial area are on Bushrod Island which is connected by a bridge to the rest of Monrovia. The free port was completed in 1948.
Monrovia is a city of displacement. Office buildings and stone houses in the colonial style of the southern United States are near African huts and shacks, some with television antennas. Elaborate buildings include the Capital, the Executive Mansion, city hall, and the Temple of Justice. Monrovia is the center of Liberia's trade and transportation. Industrial products include petroleum, cement, paint, and tuna. James Spriggs Payn Airfield is within the city limits, and an international airport is 27 miles southeast of the city., Monrovia is the sit of the University of Liberia.


CONCLUSION
Liberia is a country started with tribal people migrating and freed slaves coming to live free. It consists of many native groups. They fought for their there independence and many problems arose.
It is full of mountains, Plains, foothills, Rivers, timber, and wildlife.
Most people farm and grow only what they use. There is still trade in iron ore, diamonds, and timber.
It had a constitution written for the country based on the United States constitution. With a House of representatives, senate, President, vice President, and Cabinet. Until it was overthrown.
Monrovia, the capital is the industrial port for liberia. It is displaced. It has shays next to high rise buildings. It was named after one of the presidents of the United States, James Monroe.
Liberia is an interesting country and it is fighting to have peace in it country and counties to have problems.



Cooper, K., The World and Its People, Siver Burdett Company, 1986.

Prodigy Service, Prodigy, Grolire Electronic Publishing, 1992.

Software Toolworks, World Atlas ver. 3.2, Liberia, 1992.

Sullivan M., Jo Liberia, Harry Jonas Lerner, 1988.

Wiley, David S., Liberia, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, 1994.
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