Liberia Fast Facts

Updated 10:50 AM EST, Mon January 25, 2021
(CNN) —  

Here’s a look at Liberia, a West African nation, which borders the North Atlantic Ocean and lies between Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.

About Liberia

(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 111,369 square kilometers, a little larger than Tennessee

Population: 5,214,030 (2021 est.)

Median age: 18 years

Capital: Monrovia (named for US President James Monroe)

Ethnic Groups: Kpelle 20.3%, Bassa 13.4%, Grebo 10%, Gio 8%, Mano 7.9%, Kru 6%, Lorma 5.1%, Kissi 4.8%, Gola 4.4%, Krahn 4%, Vai 4%, Mandingo 3.2%, Gbandi 3%, Mende 1.3%, Sapo 1.3%, other Liberian 1.7%, other African 1.4% and non-African .1% (2008 est.)

Religion: Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.5% (2008 est.)

Unemployment: 2.8% (2014 est.)

Other Facts

Independence Day is July 26.

English is the official language.

Close to 250,000 people died during two civil wars that spanned 14 years (1989-2003).

Timeline

1816-1817 - The American Colonization Society buys land in Liberia for the resettlement of freed US slaves.

1822 - The first freed US slaves arrive in Liberia.

1847 - Liberia gains its independence. Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a freed slave from Virginia, becomes the first president. For 133 years, Liberia is ruled by the True Whig Party, whose government and constitution are modeled after the United States.

1980 - Samuel Doe of the Krahn ethnic group takes power in a coup.

1989 - Charles Taylor leads a revolt that results in Doe’s execution and civil war among several factions. The country stays in a state of civil war until 2003.

1996 - The United Nations, United States, African Union and Economic Community of West African States mediate a peace deal of sorts.

1997 - Taylor gains power in a special election.

2000 - Rebels in Liberia begin a struggle against Taylor’s government.

July 20-August 11, 2003 - Liberian rebels, aided by the US military and UN peacekeepers, fight to remove Taylor from office.

August 11, 2003 - Taylor officially relinquishes his office in a ceremony at the presidential palace. Vice President Moses Blah is sworn in as Liberia’s 22nd president. Taylor later leaves for Nigeria, where he has been offered asylum.

August 12-18, 2003 - The primary rebel group, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), agrees to withdraw its troops from Monrovia and the nearby port. The group signs a comprehensive peace agreement with the Liberian government intended to end the civil war.

September 19, 2003 - UN Security Council Resolution 1509 establishes a peacekeeping force in Liberia.

October 14, 2003 - Gyude Bryant takes office in Liberia as the head of an interim government meant to disarm fighters and pave the way for elections.

February 6, 2004 - At a UN-hosted donor conference, Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States is contributing $200 million in reconstruction and humanitarian aid to Liberia. In addition, as a UN member, the United States will pay another $245 million for UN peacekeeping operations.

January 6, 2006 - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf takes office as Liberia’s first elected female president.

June 5, 2006 - The Liberian military announces that it will start recruiting female soldiers.

September 20, 2007 - The UN Security Council votes to reduce the number of peacekeeping forces (15,000 at the time) in Liberia by 2,450 troops and 498 police over the next several months.

2008 - Liberia begins participation in a three-year Poverty Reduction Strategy program to improve the economy and get out of debt. The program ends in June 2011.

October 7, 2011 - Sirleaf is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which she shares with Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni rights activist Tawakkul Karman. They are chosen “for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

October 11, 2011 - Liberia’s presidential election is held. Results show Sirleaf with 44% of votes and Winston Tubman with 32% of votes. A runoff is scheduled.

November 15, 2011 - Election officials announce that Sirleaf has been reelected with 90.7% of the vote.

April 26, 2012 - An international tribunal finds Taylor guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes in neighboring Sierra Leone’s civil war.

September 2012 - The UN passes Resolution 2066, which will reduce the number of UN troops in Liberia to under 4,000 by 2015.

August 6, 2014 - Sirleaf declares a 90-day state of emergency amid a deadly Ebola outbreak.

May 9, 2015 - The World Health Organization declares an end to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. More than 4,000 people have died from the disease.

January 14, 2016 - The WHO declares Liberia is Ebola-free for the third time in 12 months, after the country dealt with two reintroductions of the disease. This announcement comes two incubation cycles – or 42 days – after the last confirmed patient in Liberia.

October 10, 2017 - The first round of Liberia’s presidential election is held. Former soccer star George Weah of the Coalition of Democratic Change secures 38.4% of the vote while Vice President Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party nets 28.8%.

December 26, 2017 - Weah wins the presidential election runoff with 61.5% of the vote.

March 30, 2018 - The UN Peacekeeping mission in Liberia ends.