Liberia the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the West African coast. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to its northwest, Guinea to its north, Ivory Coast to its east, the Atlantic Ocean to its south-southwest, it has a population of around 4,700,000 people. English is the official language and over 20 indigenous languages are spoken, representing the numerous ethnic groups who make up more than 95% of the population; the country's capital and largest city is Monrovia. Liberia began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society, who believed black people would face better chances for freedom and prosperity in Africa than in the United States; the country declared its independence on July 26, 1847. The U. S. did not recognize Liberia's independence until February 1862, during the American Civil War. Between January 7, 1822, the American Civil War, more than 15,000 freed and free-born black people who faced legislated limits in the U. S. and 3,198 Afro-Caribbeans, relocated to the settlement.
The black settlers carried their tradition with them to Liberia. The Liberian constitution and flag were modeled after those of the U. S. On January 3, 1848, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a wealthy, free-born African American from Virginia who settled in Liberia, was elected as Liberia's first president after the people proclaimed independence. Liberia was the first African republic to proclaim its independence, is Africa's first and oldest modern republic. Liberia retained its independence during the Scramble for Africa. During World War II, Liberia supported the United States war efforts against Germany and in turn, the U. S. invested in considerable infrastructure in Liberia to help its war effort, which aided the country in modernizing and improving its major air transportation facilities. In addition, President William Tubman encouraged economic changes. Internationally, Liberia was a founding member of the League of Nations, United Nations, the Organisation of African Unity; the Americo-Liberian settlers did not relate well to the indigenous peoples they encountered those in communities of the more isolated "bush".
The colonial settlements were raided by the Grebo from their inland chiefdoms. Americo-Liberians developed as a small elite that held on to political power, the indigenous tribesmen were excluded from birthright citizenship in their own lands until 1904, in a repetition of the United States' treatment of Native Americans; the Americo-Liberians promoted religious organizations to set up missions and schools to educate the indigenous peoples. Political tensions from the rule of William R. Tolbert resulted in a military coup in 1980 during which Tolbert was killed, marking the beginning of years-long political instability. Five years of military rule by the People's Redemption Council and five years of civilian rule by the National Democratic Party of Liberia were followed by the First and Second Liberian Civil Wars; these resulted in the deaths of 250,000 people, the displacement of many more, shrunk Liberia's economy by 90%. A peace agreement in 2003 led to democratic elections in 2005, in which Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected President.
National infrastructure and basic social services have been impacted by previous conflict, with 83% of the population living below the international poverty line. The Pepper Coast known as the Grain Coast, has been inhabited by indigenous peoples of Africa at least as far back as the 12th century. Mende-speaking people expanded westward from the Sudan, forcing many smaller ethnic groups southward toward the Atlantic Ocean; the Dei, Kru and Kissi were some of the earliest documented peoples in the area. This influx of these groups was compounded by the decline of the Western Sudanic Mali Empire in 1375 and the Songhai Empire in 1591; the area now called Liberia was a part of the Kingdom of Koya from 1450 to 1898. As inland regions underwent desertification, inhabitants moved to the wetter coast; these new inhabitants brought skills such as cotton spinning, cloth weaving, iron smelting and sorghum cultivation, social and political institutions from the Mali and Songhai empires. Shortly after the Mane conquered the region, the Vai people of the former Mali Empire immigrated into the Grand Cape Mount County region.
The ethnic Kru opposed the influx of Vai, forming an alliance with the Mane to stop further influx of Vai. People along the coast built canoes and traded with other West Africans from Cap-Vert to the Gold Coast. Arab traders entered the region from the north, a long-established slave trade took captives to north and east Africa. Between 1461 and the late 17th century, Portuguese and British traders had contacts and trading posts in the region; the Portuguese named the area Costa da Pimenta but it came to be known as the Grain Coast, due to the abundance of melegueta pepper grains. European traders would barter goods with local people. In the United States there was a movement to resettle free-born blacks and freed slaves who faced racial discrimination in the form of political disenfranchisement and the denial of civil and social privileges in the United States. Most whites and a small cadre of black nationalists believed that blacks would face better chances for freedom in Africa than in the U.
S. The American Colonization Society was founded in 1816 in Washington, DC for this purpose by a group of prominent politicians and slaveholders, but its membership grew to include people who supported the abolition of slavery. Slaveholders wanted to get free people of color out of the South, where they were thought to threaten the stability of the slave societie
2005 Liberian general election
The 2005 Liberian general election was held on 11 October 2005, with a runoff election for the presidency held on 8 November of that year. The presidency, as well as all seats in the House of Representatives and Senate were up for election; the election marked the end of the political transition following Liberia's second civil war and had been stipulated in the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2003. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former World Bank employee and Liberian finance minister, won the presidential contest and became the first democratically elected female African head of state in January 2006; the election was the first held since the 1997 general election and the election of Charles Taylor and the National Patriotic Party. Frances Johnson-Morris, the chairwoman of the National Elections Commission, announced the October 11 date on February 7, 2005. Elections were scheduled for all 64 seats in the House of Representatives, with each of Liberia's 15 counties having at least two seats and the remaining seats allotted proportionally based on voter registration.
The Senate had 30 seats up for elections, with two from each county. Prior to the election, former football star George Weah was considered by many to be the favorite, due at least to widespread dissatisfaction with Liberia's politicians. Weah, the subject of a petition published in September 2004 urging him to run, announced his candidacy in mid-November 2004 and received a hero's welcome when he arrived in Monrovia in the month. Weah lost in the November 8, 2005 run-off, he filed formal fraud charges, but subsequently dropped his allegations, citing the interests of peace. The chairman of the transitional government, Gyude Bryant, other members of the transitional government did not run, according to the terms of the peace deal. On August 13, the election commission published a list of 22 presidential candidates who were cleared to run; the Senate seats were contested by 206 candidates and the seats in the lower house were contested by 503 candidates. Campaigning for the elections began on August 15.
In late September, the Supreme Court ruled that two excluded presidential candidates, Marcus Jones and Cornelius Hunter, an excluded legislative candidate could register to run. However, these candidates withdrew their bids, so the elections went ahead on schedule on October 11. Voting took place in 8 November. Twenty-two people contested the presidential race in the first round. George Weah, former soccer star and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former World Bank employee and finance minister finished first and second and advanced to the second round run-off, which Johnson-Sirleaf won 59%-41%, according to the National Electoral Commission. Weah claimed election fraud, stating elections officials were stuffing ballot boxes in Johnson-Sirleaf's favor. Most elections observers, including those from the United Nations, the European Union and the Economic Community of West African States, say that the election was clean and transparent; the Carter Center observed "minor irregularities" but no major problems.
Johnson-Sirleaf reminded the press that Weah has 72 hours to bring evidence of wrongdoing to her campaign according to Liberian law, calling the accusations "lies" and stating that Weah's supporters "just don't want a woman to be President in Africa." On December 22, 2005, Weah withdrew his protests, in January Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first democratically elected female Head of State in the history of the African Continent, the first native female African Head of State since Empress Zauditu, who ruled Ethiopia from 1916 to 1930 and not including Queen Elizabeth II who reigned over many Commonwealth countries upon their independence and still reigns as Queen of the United Kingdom over the Atlantic African Islands and British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha. As no Senate existed prior to the elections, each voter was eligible to cast two ballots for different candidates; the two candidates with the highest number of votes in each county were elected. The candidate with the highest share of votes became the senior senator for the county, elected to a nine-year term.
The candidate with the second-highest share became the junior senator, elected to a six-year term. This method was chosen in order to reintroduce a staggered electoral system. Http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/world/13132018.htm http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,3-1866394,00.html National Elections Commission Liberia 2005: The Road to Democracy United Nations Mission in Liberia Electoral Division United Liberia - Latest News Press Freedom Conditions in Liberia - IFEX All Africa, Liberia news Nat Barnes for President Charles Brumskine Campaign Site Samuel Raymond Divine Campaign Site John Morlu for President Varney Sherman for President Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh for President Winston Tubman Campaign Site George Weah Campaign Site Congress for Democratic Change Unity Party I am woman, hear my roar Katharine Houreld on the participation of women in the 2005 Liberian election