Brief History of Liberia
Liberia is a country located on the west coast of Africa which was founded as a settlement for freed slaves from the United States of America. Liberia declared independence on July 26, 1847 and adopted a republican form of government with its flag and original constitution closely patterned after those of the United States.
For more than 140 years Liberia was one of the most peaceful countries in the world, with an economy backed by the US dollar.
The military took over on April 12, 1980 and instituted marshal law. Ten years of military rule culminated into a devastating fratricidal war which engulfed the country in 1989 and destroyed it to its very foundation. Millions were forced into refugee camps across West Africa while hundreds of thousands became internally displaced. The internally displaced were housed mostly in educational facilities which were left in disrepair when the war ended.
Liberia is relatively still a virgin country with substantial reserves of mineral and iron ore deposits, and an expanse of tropical rainforest that boasts of rare animal and plant species.
Major foreign companies that operated in Liberia prior to the war include, Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Liberia-American Mining Company, Firestone Plantations Company which previously owned the largest privately-owned rubber company in the world, the German conglomerate Bong Mining Company, among others.
In 2005 Liberia elected Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf President, becoming the first elected female leader in Africa.