In 1461, Portuguese sailors first reached the coasts of Liberia, which became known as the Pepper Coast in the centuries that followed. The spice obtained on the west coast between Monrovia and Harper was at that time because of its rarity as precious as gold.
After the liberation of slaves, philanthropic movements, particularly in the United States, attempted to reintroduce the freed slaves to Africa at the beginning of the 19th century. Out of this motivation, a colonization society was founded in 1820, which created isolated settlements on the coast of Liberia and merged into a Commonwealth of Liberia in 1839. In 1847, this union declared its independence as the Free State of Liberia and took control of the local population in the region. Since then, dynastic family clans have held key positions in the emerging state.
- COUNTRYAAH: See current national flag of Liberia. Download high definition image, and learn flag meanings as well as the history of Liberia flags.
The domination of African-American settlers ended in 1980 when reigning William Tolbert was overthrown by Sergeant Samuel Doe after riots over food price increases. A period of political instability set in and the pre-existing social contradictions and the prevailing corruption only intensified. In 1984 a new constitution was passed by referendum and elections were held the following year, in which Doe was officially confirmed as president.
The dependence of the politically inexperienced Liberian military on the United States had increased somewhat since the military coup and peaked in 1988 when the top of the Treasury was replaced by American advisors. In the same year, the eighth attempted coup against Doe was suppressed, but his government was unable to prevent attacks by military and security forces against civilians from being made public.
According to AbbreviationFinder, social and economic tensions escalated in the late 1980s. The National Patriotic Front of Charles Taylor took over the country in a flash and executed Doe. Rebels, government troops and West African peacekeepers were involved in the ensuing conflict, and a long civil war began, which could only be ended in 1995 with a peace agreement. After the 1997 election, Taylor, whose father was an American, was officially elected President of the country.
In 1999, Liberian troops were engaged in ongoing fighting against rebels, which also resulted in border conflicts with troops from Guinea. At the same time, the country played an internationally criticized dubious role in the civil war in Sierra Leone. Liberia had been under a UN arms embargo since 1989, the beginning of the civil war. The UN threatened further sanctions in early 2001 on charges of supporting rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone who were operating in the diamond areas there. President Taylor denied that he had sold weapons to the rebels against smuggled diamonds. His policy of disregarding the judiciary and persecuting political opponents soon led to renewed fighting, this time with the aim of overthrowing Taylor.The fighting escalated in 2003 after heavy attacks by the rebel organization LURD. After international mediation, an armistice was finally concluded. In August 2003, Taylor resigned and went into exile. The rebel organization LURD then declared the civil war over. A 15,000-strong UN peacekeeping force (UNMIL) was stationed.The businessman Gyude Bryant was appointed head of state of a transitional government whose job was to prepare elections within two years. In October 2005, United Party candidate Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was elected new president. She is the first woman in Africa to be elected head of state through an election.