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A few degrees north of the equator, slightly below the portion of West Africa that bulges farthest into the Atlantic Ocean, lies Liberia, Africa's oldest republic and the second oldest Negro republic in the world. Only Haiti is older.

Liberia declared independence in 1847, some 25 years after the first shipload of freed Negro slaves from the United States of America landed on the Providence Island, along the Mesurado River.

Their first settlement was named Monrovia (now the Liberian capital) in honor of James Monroe, who was president of the United States when they arrived in Liberia in 1822 through the American Colonization Society supported by that country's government.
The country was named Liberia, from the Latin word "liber", meaning free. The settlers met on arrival tribesmen with whom they fought battles before land was sold to the freed Negroes. Specter of settler-aborigines anti-sentiments still loom today, a century and a half later.


Located on the West coast of Africa, Liberia is bounded on the north by francophone Guinea; on the west by Sierra Leone; on the east by francophone Ivory Coast and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean. It covers a landmass of 43,000 square miles. Six key rivers - Mano, Cavalla, St. John, St Paul, Lofa and Cestos - flow through Liberia and empty into the Atlantic Ocean. The country is now divided into 14 political sub-divisions for administrative purposes.


The climate in Liberia is tropical, but there are two seasons - the dry and the rainy seasons. The dry runs from November to April, while the rainy seasons covers May through October. The two seasons run six months each yearly, but during December to January, Liberia experiences the Harmattan wind which blows from the Sahara Desert in northern Africa. During the dry, the temperature may rise as high as 33 degree Celsius and may grow as cold as 25 degree Celsius during the rainy season. Some areas like the capital, Monrovia, average about 140 inches, or above, of rain a year, while areas in the interior may average about 70 inches.

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© World INvestment NEws, 2001.
This is the electronic edition of the special country report on Liberia published in Far Eastern Economic Review.
June 21st, 2001 Issue.
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