Africa is the second largest continent in the world, both by land area and population. There are 54 countries located in Africa.
As of January 2017, the population of Liberia was estimated to be 4,682,395 people (comparable in size to Tennessee). Montserrado County, is the most populous county and home to the capital, Monrovia. Liberia is a country on the West African coast. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to the northwest, Guinea to the north, Ivory Coast to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south and west. Most of the country is a plateau covered by dense tropical forests, which thrive under an annual rainfall of about 160 in. a year. Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, and its economy is extremely underdeveloped, largely due to the First Liberian Civil War in 1989-96. Timber and rubber are Liberia’s main export items. Diamond and gold mining activities also account for some economic activity. Monetary unit: Liberian dollar. Languages: English (official), some 20 ethnic group languages. Ethnicity/Race: Kpelle, Bassa, Grebo, Gio, Mano, Kru, Lorma, Kissi, Gola. Religion: Christian.
The founding of Liberia in the early 1800s was motivated by the domestic politics of slavery and race in the United States as well as by U.S. foreign policy interests. In 1816, a group of white Americans founded the American Colonization Society (ACS) to deal with the “problem” of the growing number of free blacks in the United States by resettling them in Africa. The society contended that the emigration of blacks to Africa was an answer to the problem of slavery and the incompatibility of the races. Over the course of forty years, about 12,000 slaves were voluntarily relocated. In 1818 the Society sent two representatives to West Africa to find a suitable location for the colony. In 1820, 88 free black settlers and 3 society members sailed for Sierra Leone. Before departing they had signed a constitution requiring that an agent of the Society administer the settlement under U.S. laws. In 1821, a U.S. Navy vessel searched for a place of permanent settlement in what is now Liberia. Local leaders resisted American attempts to purchase land. The Navy officer in charge, Lieutenant Robert Stockton, coerced a local ruler to sell a strip of land to the Society. In 1824, the settlement was named Liberia and its capital Monrovia, in honor of President James Monroe who had procured more U.S. Government money for the project. The settlers attempted to retain the culture they had brought from the United States and for the most part did not integrate with the native societies. Today, about 5 percent of the population of Liberia is descended from these settlers. The U.S. Government had provided Liberia some financial support, but Washington expected Monrovia to move toward self-sufficiency. The United States finally established diplomatic relations with Liberia in 1862, and continued to maintain strong ties until the 1990s.
The Liberian education system is emerging from a prolonged and brutally destructive period of civil unrest. Long standing impacts from the war, compounded by the 2015 school closure due to the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) outbreak, continue to take a toll on the fragile education system. Liberia is significantly behind most other African countries. After 14 years of civil war, which resulted in the destruction of much of the country’s trained workforce, Liberia is still in the process of rebuilding its educational system.