Liberia's Map & Profile
Country profile According to BBC: Liberia
Liberia is Africa's oldest republic, but it became better known in the 1990s for its long-running, ruinous
civil war and its role in a rebellion in neighbouring Sierra Leone.
Although founded by freed American and Caribbean slaves, Liberia is mostly made up of indigenous
Africans, with the slaves' descendants comprising 5% of the population.
The West African nation was relatively calm until 1980 when William Tolbert was overthrown by Sergeant Samuel Doe after food price riots.
The coup marked the end of dominance by the minority Americo-Liberians, who had ruled since independence, but heralded a period of instability.
By the late 1980s, arbitrary rule and economic collapse culminated in civil war when Charles Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL)
militia overran much of the countryside, entering the capital in 1990. Mr Doe was executed.
Fighting intensified as the rebels splintered and battled each other, the Liberian army and West African peacekeepers. In 1995 a peace
agreement was signed, leading to the election of Mr Taylor as president.
The respite was brief, with anti-government fighting breaking out in the north in 1999. Mr Taylor accused Guinea of supporting the rebellion.
Meanwhile Ghana, Nigeria and others accused Mr Taylor of backing rebels in Sierra Leone.
Matters came to a head in 2003 when Mr Taylor - under international pressure to quit and hemmed in by rebels - stepped down and went into
exile in Nigeria. A transitional government steered the country towards elections in 2005.
Around 250,000 people were killed in Liberia's civil war and many thousands more fled the fighting. The conflict left the country in economic ruin
and overrun with weapons. The capital remains without mains electricity and running water…unemployment and illiteracy are endemic.
The UN maintains some 15,000 soldiers in Liberia. It is one of the organisation's most expensive peacekeeping operations.
• Full name: Republic of Liberia
• Population: 3.9 million (UN, 2008)
• Capital: Monrovia
• Area: 99,067 sq km (38,250 sq miles)
• Languages: English, 29 African languages belonging to the Mande, Kwa or Mel
• linguistic groups
• Major religions: Christianity, Islam, indigenous beliefs
• Life expectancy: 45 years (men), 47 years (women) (UN)
• Monetary unit: 1 Liberian dollar (L$) = 100 cents
• Main exports: Diamonds, iron ore, rubber, timber, coffee, cocoa
• GNI per capita: US $150 (World Bank, 2007)
• Internet domain: .lr
• International dialling code: +231
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