Liberia Fast Facts

Posted at 1:34 PM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 15:34:53-04

Here’s a look at Liberia, a West African nation which borders the North Atlantic Ocean, and lies between Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.

About Liberia:
(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 111,369 square kilometers, a little larger than Tennessee

Population: 4,809,768 (July 2018 est.)

Median age: 17.8 years

Capital: Monrovia (named for US President James Monroe)

Ethnic Groups: Kpelle 20.3%, Bassa 13.4%, Grebo 10%, Gio 8%, Mano 7.9%, Kru 6%, Lorma 5.1%, Kissi 4.8%, Gola 4.4%, other 20.1% (2008 Census)

Religion: Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.4% (2008 Census)

GDP (purchasing power parity): $6.112 billion (2017 est.)

GDP per capita: $1,300 (2017 est.)

Unemployment: 2.8% (2014 est.)

Other Facts:
Independence Day is July 26.

English is the official language.

Close to 250,000 people died during two civil wars that spanned 14 years (1989-2003).

1816-1817 The American Colonization Society buys land in Liberia for the resettlement of freed slaves.

1822 – The first freed American slaves arrive in Liberia.

1847 – Liberia gains its independence. Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a freed slave from Virginia, becomes the first president. For 133 years, Liberia is ruled by the True Whig Party, whose government and constitution are modeled after the United States.

1980Samuel Doe of the Krahn ethnic group takes power in a coup, overthrowing William Tolbert.

1989 – Charles Taylor leads a revolt that results in Doe’s execution and civil war among several factions. The country stays in a state of civil war until 2003.

1996 The United Nations, United States, African Union and Economic Community of West African States mediate a peace deal of sorts.

1997 – Taylor gains power in a special election.

2000 – Rebels in Liberia begin a struggle against Taylor’s government.

July 20-August 11, 2003 – Liberian rebels, aided by US military and UN peacekeepers, fight to remove Taylor from office.

August 11, 2003 – Taylor officially relinquishes his office in a ceremony at the presidential palace. Vice President Moses Blah is sworn in as Liberia’s 22nd president. Taylor later leaves for Nigeria, where he has been offered asylum.

August 12-18, 2003 – The primary rebel group, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), agrees to withdraw its troops from Monrovia and the nearby port. The group signs a comprehensive peace agreement with the Liberian government intended to end the civil war.

September 19, 2003 – UN Security Council Resolution 1509 establishes a peacekeeping force in Liberia.

October 14, 2003 – Gyude Bryant takes office in Liberia as the head of an interim government meant to disarm fighters and pave the way for elections.

February 6, 2004 – At a UN-hosted donor conference, Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States is contributing $200 million in reconstruction and humanitarian aid to Liberia. In addition, as a UN member, the United States will pay another $245 million for UN peacekeeping operations.

January 6, 2006 – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf takes office as Liberia’s first elected female president.

June 5, 2006The Liberian military announces that it will start recruiting female soldiers.

September 20, 2007 – The UN Security Council votes to reduce the number of peacekeeping forces (15,000 at the time) in Liberia by 2,450 troops and 498 police over the next several months.

2008 – Liberia begins participation in a three-year Poverty Reduction Strategy program to improve the economy and get out of debt. The program ends in June 2011.

October 7, 2011 – President Johnson Sirleaf is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which she shares with Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni rights activist Tawakkul Karman. They are chosen “for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

October 11, 2011 – Liberia’s presidential election is held. Results show current President Johnson Sirleaf with 44% of votes and Winston Tubman with 32% of votes. A runoff is scheduled.

November 15, 2011 – Election officials announce that Liberian President Johnson Sirleaf has been re-elected with 90.7% of the vote.

April 26, 2012 – Former President Taylor is found guilty of aiding and abetting rebels who raped, killed and mutilated civilians in neighboring Sierra Leone.

September 2012 – The UN passes Resolution 2066, which will reduce the number of UN troops to under 4,000 by 2015.

August 6, 2014 – President Johnson Sirleaf declares a 90-day state of emergency amid the deadly Ebola outbreak.

August 19, 2014 – Johnson Sirleaf declares a nationwide curfew beginning August 20 and orders two communities to be completely quarantined, with no movement in or out of the areas.

November 13, 2014 – Johnson Sirleaf announces the end of the state of emergency put in place in August over the Ebola outbreak.

May 9, 2015 – The World Health Organization first declares an end to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. More than 4,000 people have died from the disease.

January 14, 2016 – The WHO declares Liberia is Ebola-free for the third time in 12 months, after the country dealt with two reintroductions of the disease. This announcement comes two incubation cycles — or 42 days — after the last confirmed patient in Liberia.

October 10, 2017 – The first round of Liberia’s presidential election is held. Former soccer star George Weah of the Coalition of Democratic Change secures 38.4% of the vote while Vice President Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party nets 28.8%.

December 26, 2017 – Weah wins the presidential election runoff with 61.5% of the vote.

March 30, 2018 – The UN Peacekeeping mission in Liberia ends.