Liberia, which means ‘freedom’ formerly known as the Grain Coast, is one of the few African countries including Ethiopia that were not colonised by the European Countries. The country was formed by former African American slaves. Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a former slave who was born in America became the first President.
The founding of Liberia in the early 1800s was motivated by the domestic politics of slavery and race in the United States as well as by U.S. foreign policy interests. In 1816, a group of white Americans founded the American Colonization Society (ACS) to deal with the “problem” of the growing number of free blacks in the United States by resettling them in Africa. The resulting state of Liberia would become the second (after Haiti) black republic in the world at that time.
In 1818 the Society sent two representatives to West Africa to find a suitable location for the colony, but they were unable to persuade local tribal leaders to sell any territory. In 1820, 88 free black settlers and 3 society members sailed for Sierra Leone. Before departing they had signed a constitution requiring that an agent of the Society administer the settlement under U.S. laws. They found shelter on Scherbo Island off the west coast of Africa, but many died from malaria. In 1821, a U.S. Navy vessel resumed the search for a place of permanent settlement in what is now Liberia. Once again the local leaders resisted American attempts to purchase land. This time, the Navy officer in charge, Lieutenant Robert Stockton, coerced a local ruler to sell a strip of land to the Society. The Scherbo Island group moved to this new location and other blacks from the United States joined them. The local tribes continually attacked the new colony and in 1824, the settlers built fortifications for protection. In that same year, the settlement was named Liberia and its capital Monrovia, in honour of President James Monroe who had procured more U.S. Government money for the project.
Liberia over the years has experienced lots of human rights abuses and civil wars.