What African Capital Is Named After a U.S. President?

The region that is now Liberia was once called the Grain Coast because of the pepper grains produced there. Many Africans from this area were taken to the New World as slaves.

In 1816, when slaves were being, freed in parts of the United States, an organization was founded to return some of these freed slaves to Africa.

The organization purchased land from some African chiefs and set up a colony in 1822. This colony was called Monrovia in honor of American President James Monroe. Today, Monrovia is the name of Liberia’s capital.

The new settlement declared itself an independent country in 1847. It modeled its constitution and even its flag on those of the United States. Liberia’s first president was born in Virginia! The nation has been independent ever since, and it is the oldest independent republic on the continent of Africa.

About 15,000 former slaves from America settled in Liberia. Their descendants never formed more than :3 percent of the country’s population. Even so, this minority continued to rule Liberia until 1980, when the government was overthrown by a 28-year-old army sergeant named Samuel Doe.

Located in West Africa along the Atlantic coast, Liberia is a flat nation of tropical forests. Many Liberians are involved in the production of rubber. In fact, Liberia ranks sixth among all nations’ in rubber production. Liberia is also the world’s ninth largest producer of iron ore.

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