Liberia, a coastal country in West Africa, declared its independence in 1847. Until the 1980s, Liberia was led by African Americans and their descendents.

Photograph by Jadwiga Figula, MyShot
  • On July 26, 1847, the nation of Liberia declared its independence. This West African country was the first democratic republic in the history of Africa.

    Liberia was a project of the American Colonization Society. The ACS was formed to help free African Americans emigrate to Africa. In 1822, the ACS created a colony in Africa—Liberia—especially for these free blacks, many of whom were former slaves. The African Americans who led the colony called themselves Americo Liberians, and came into frequent conflict with native inhabitants as the colony grew larger, richer, and more powerful.

    Upon Liberian independence, English was established as the official language, the republican system of government was based on that of the U.S., and the new country’s capital, Monrovia, was named after American President James Monroe. Indigenous Africans were not granted full citizenship until 1904.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    capital Noun

    city where a region's government is located.

    Encyclopedic Entry: capital
    citizenship Noun

    behavior of a person in terms of their community.

    colony Noun

    people and land separated by distance or culture from the government that controls them.

    conflict Noun

    a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.

    country Noun

    geographic territory with a distinct name, flag, population, boundaries, and government.

    democratic Adjective

    having to do with a government led by its citizens, who vote for policies and/or representatives.

    frequent Adjective


    independence Noun

    state or situation of being free.

    indigenous Adjective

    characteristic to or of a specific place.

    Encyclopedic Entry: indigenous
    inhabitant Noun


    republic Noun

    system of government where power rests in citizens who vote and representatives who stand for those citizens. The United States is a republic.

    slave Noun

    person who is owned by another person or group of people.