Liberia /laɪˈbɪəriə/, officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the West African coast. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to its west, Guinea to its north and it covers an area of 111,369 square kilometres and has a population of 4,503,000 people. English is the language and over 20 indigenous languages are spoken. The countrys capital and largest city is Monrovia, forests on the coastline are composed mostly of salt-tolerant mangrove trees, while the more sparsely populated inland has forests opening onto a plateau of drier grasslands. The climate is equatorial, with significant rainfall during the May–October rainy season, Liberia possesses about forty percent of the remaining Upper Guinean rainforest. It was an important producer of rubber in the early 20th century, the Republic of Liberia began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society, who believed African Americans would face better chances for freedom in Africa than in the United States. The country declared its independence on July 26,1847, the U. S. did not recognize Liberias independence until during the American Civil War on February 5,1862. The African American settlers carried their culture with them to Liberia, Liberia maintained and kept its independence during the European colonial era. In addition, President William Tubman encouraged economic changes, internationally, Liberia was a founding member of the League of Nations, United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity. Five years of rule by the Peoples Redemption Council and five years of civilian rule by the National Democratic Party of Liberia were followed by the First. These resulted in the deaths and displacement of more than half a million people, a peace agreement in 2003 led to democratic elections in 2005. Recovery proceeds but about 85% of the population live below the poverty line. The Pepper Coast, also known as the Grain Coast, has been inhabited by 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, Bassa, Kru, Gola and Kissi were some of the earliest documented peoples in the area. This influx was compounded by the decline of the Western Sudanic Mali Empire in 1375, additionally, as inland regions underwent desertification, inhabitants moved to the wetter coast. These new inhabitants brought skills such as spinning, cloth weaving, iron smelting, rice and sorghum cultivation. 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, and a long-established slave trade took captives to north and east Africa
A European map of West Africa and the Grain Coast, 1736. It has the archaic mapping designation of Negroland.
Map of Liberia Colony in the 1830s, created by the ACS, and also showing Mississippi Colony and other state-sponsored colonies.