Liberia is home to the second-established Black American settlement in Africa, Monrovia, the nation’s capital city. It was founded on April 25, 1822 by the American Colonization Society (ACS), an organization that cleared a path for Black Americans to return to the nation of their birth, but their motives were not always benevolent.
ACS members arrived at the site of Monrovia in 1821. The city was first known as Christopolis, but was changed to Monrovia to honor then President James Monroe. Natives in the region saw the ACS and its Black American settlers as invaders, thus igniting clashes between the two groups.
The early days of Monrovia saw an influx of settlers, known as Americo-Liberians, who came to the city and country between 1822 and 1848. Much of the landscape in Monrovia mirrored the Southern United States, as expected. The country gained its independence from America in 1847 and elected its first president, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, the following year.
Liberia has undergone several regime changes since and in 1980, a military coup led by Samuel Doe of the Liberian Army rocked the nation. After Doe was deposed and killed in 1990, the country fell into despair and was ruled by dictator Charles Taylor, who was deposed himself in 2003. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first female African head of state as Liberian president from 2006 to 2018. Now the country is ruled by former professional soccer player George Weah.
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