Liberia History

Liberia History

According to Localcollegeexplorer, Liberia is the smallest of the independent states of Africa, and owes its name to its origins and to the first events in its history, which will be discussed later.

Borders. – The territory of Liberia is included between the English possession of Sierra Leone to the NW, French Guinea to the NE. and the French Ivory Coast to E.; to SW. it is bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. The borders of Liberia are well defined, as well as towards the sea, towards Sierra Leone (River Mano) and towards the Ivory Coast (River Cavally); but from the internal side they are completely conventional and uncertain, because the government of the republic has never been able to definitively affirm and exercise its authority over the countries of the interior, and has never been able to protect its possessions and rights in the face of politics of the two powerful neighbors, both eager to absorb part of the Liberian hinterland. In fact, the border treaties with France (1911, 1915, 1926, 1927) and with England (1911), they have always resulted in territorial losses for Liberia. In such conditions, the data relating to its surface have undergone frequent and notable changes, and are not even today quite accurate and safe. Currently an area of ​​approximately 95,400 sq km is attributed to the territory of the republic.

Exploration and history. – The history of the discovery and colonization of the coastal area of ​​Liberia, formerly known as Costa dei Grani, Costa del Pepe, is confused with that of Upper Guinea. In the golden age of African exploration (19th century), the territory of Liberia did not attract the attention of the great explorers of West Africa, and only B. Anderson traveled the westernmost edge. More recently, however, several missions and expeditions have partially covered the territory of Liberia. In this regard we recall the explorers of the difficult Rio Cavally region, the Richard mission for the determination of the Franco-Liberian border, the travels and studies of Büttihöfer, Delafosse, D’Oilone, Westermann, Johnson, etc., and lastly the Sir A. Sharpe’s excursion to the of the Mandingo countries and the Haward African Expedition, directed by H. Strong. However, until now we do not have adequate knowledge except of the coastal area and of the towns located near the major waterways.

The region acquired considerable importance when the Colonization Society was born in America, with the aim of re-establishing in the continent of origin the numerous black slaves, freed from servitude, but not desired as citizens of the free northern states of the United States (1821).

An initial nucleus of freed Negroes, whether they were born in Africa or born in America, was transported to the coasts of the region at Cape Mesurado under the auspices of the company, which provided them with free passage, food and livelihoods, as well as weapons to fight the natives, who tried to oppose the newcomers, ignoring their peaceful intentions (1822). The country was shortly after (by a Protestant pastor, RR Gurley, in 1827) the name of Liberia, and the first settlement had, in honor of J. Monroe, the name of Monrovia which the American Senate ratified.

Gradually other nuclei of negroes, either spontaneously or by the impulse of society, came to settle along the coasts, including a considerable group from Maryland, who settled in the territory near Cape Palmas, baptizing it with the name of the country of origin. The country was dependent on a governor whom the company appointed and who also acted as commander of the expeditions that the newcomers had to continually lead against the natives, who, coming out of their vast and almost impenetrable forests, attacked the settlers and made it difficult for them. existence.

In 1847, obeying an order received from the founding society, Governor Joseph Roberts proclaimed the independence of the colony, which was officially recognized by most of the European states, and especially by those who owned neighboring colonies, England and France. The Roberts proclaimed Monrovia the capital of the new state, which had a republican form and a constitution modeled on that of the country of origin. However, it was a question of imposing constitutional forms, the Protestant religion, the use of the English language also on the indigenous; but here serious obstacles arose, increased by the political competitions of the new settlers, divided into parties. The first president was Roberts, to whom it is due that the secret slave trade, fomented by the European slave traders, almost entirely ceased. The republic had periods of prosperity and periods of dangerous decline due to internal turbulence and disputes over the borders; the friendly intervention of the United States saved the state several times from financial ruin.

Liberia History