Liberia

Population 4.294 million

 

Geography

The equatorial climate is hot year-round with heavy rainfall from May to October with a short interlude in mid-July to August. During the winter months of November to March dry dust-laden harmattan winds blow inland causing many problems for residents.

 

Liberia is divided into 3 regions, northern, central and southern. Some of the features of these regions include but are not limited to:

 

Northern the area between the St Paul River and the borders with Guinea and Sierra Leone

Central (Monrovia, Paynesville, Buchanan) the capital Monrovia and the main population centre

Southern (Greenville, Harper, Sapo National Park) some beautiful Atlantic beaches and the country's only national park

People/Groups

The indigenous ethnic groups of Liberia can be linguistically divided into three groups who speak;

  • The isolate Gola language and the

  • Mel languages (particularly Kissi) in the east and

  • Kru languages (particularly Bassa) in the west to which must be added the immigrant communities;

  • Mande-Fu (Kpelle, Gio, Mano, Loma)

  • Mande-Tan (Vai, Mende, Mandingo)

  • Repatriated (Americo-Liberians, Congo, Caribbean)

The Gola ethnic group originated somewhere in central Africa. During the Empire of Ancient Ghana they were involved in the land-surveying and jurisprudence of the empire.

The other ethnic groups that fall under the Mande-Tan, Mande-Fu were also members of Ancient Ghana. Because of their influence in the judicial aspects of the Ghana, the Gola's social structure dominated through the Poro.

With the influx of Islam many groups adopted it while others resisted. The Golas fought three wars with pro-Islamic elements in a changing Ghana. These wars were known as the Kumba Wars. The Golas lost the third of these wars and were forced to retreat toward Sierra Leone. They were pursued by the Mende, Gbandi and Loma. Their battles with the Mende in Sierra Leone forced them to retreat yet again and settle finally in Liberia where they encountered the Dei.

Languages

Liberia is a multilingual country where more than thirty languages are spoken. English is the official language. None of the languages group forms a distinctive majority. These languages can be grouped in four language families: Mande, Kru, Mel, and the divergent language Gola.

 

Political Structure

Politics of Liberia takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic modeled on the government of the United States, whereby the President is the head of state and head of government; unlike the United States, however, Liberia is a unitary state as opposed to a federation and has a pluriform multi-party system rather than the two-party system that characterizes US politics. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the legislature.

Liberia is still in transition from dictatorship and civil war to democracy. Liberia's government is based on the American model of a republic with three equal branches of government, though in reality the President of Liberia has usually been the dominant force in Liberian politics. Following the dissolution of the Republican Party in 1876, the True Whig Party dominated the Liberian government until the 1980 coup, eventually creating what was effectively a one-party state.

Art

Music

Liberia has its own ancient music and instruments. While Liberian music is part of wider West African music heritage, it is also distinct from its neighbors. There are several different types of drums used in traditional music. Drums are one of the most widely used instruments in many ceremonies both official and non official, weddings, christenings, naming ceremonies, holidays, graduations, etc. Next to drums, beaded gourd rattles called Saassaa are also used in mainstream music by many Liberian singers, musicians, and ensembles across the country.

Crafts

Liberia is renowned for its detailed decorative and ornate masks, large and miniature wood carvings of realistic human faces, famous people, scenes of everyday life and accessories particularly combs, spoons and forks which are often enlarged sculptures. 

Holidays

  • Armed Forces Day 11 February

  • National Decoration Day 16 March

  • JJ Roberts' Birthday 15 March

  • MarNational Fast and Prayer Day 15 April

  • National Unification Day 14 May

  • Independence Day 26 July

  • Flag Day 24 August

  • President Tubman's Birthday 29 November

Universities

  • University of Liberia, Monrovia, Montserrado County

  • William V. S. Tubman University, Cape Palmas, Maryland County, formerly William V.S. Tubman College of Technology

  • African Bible College University, Yekepa, Nimba County

  • African Methodist Episcopal University, Montserrado County

  • African Methodist Episcopal Zion University, Montserrado County

  • Cuttington University, Suacoco, Bong County, oldest private and coeducational university in Africa

  • Stella Maris Polytechnic, Monrovia, Montserrado County

  • United Methodist University, Monrovia, Montserrado County

  • Grand Bassa Community College, Grand Bassa County

  • Trinity Bible Community College, Margibi County

 

Literacy 60.8%

 

Exports

  • Rubber

  • Timber

  • Cocoa

  • Coffee

  • Diamonds

  • Iron Ore

  • Gold

  • Rubber

 

Imports

  • Fuel

  • Machinery

  • Special Purpose Ships

  • Refined Petroleum

  • Iron Structures

  • Rice

  • Manufactured Goods