Fun Facts about Liberia

The name Liberia means "Land of the Free".

After Haiti in the Caribbean, Liberia is the world's second oldest Black Republic. It is also Africa's first independent republic.  Liberia was founded and colonized by freed slaves from the United States who wanted to return to Africa in 1822.  Their descendants are still called Americo-Liberians.

There are more than thirty African languages spoken in Liberia. But, the language of the government and the language in schools is English, brought to Liberia by the Americo-Liberians.

Twelve of Liberia's presidents were born in the United States.  They were the Americo-Liberians, who make up about 5% of the population.  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first female president elected in Africa.

The original name of the capital city was Christianopolis.  Now Monrovia, it was re-named after the United States president, James Monroe.  Monroe was a prominent supporter of freed slaves returning to Africa.  It is the largest city in the country and has a population of over a million people.

Liberia is about the same size as the state of Tennessee.

Liberia has one national park.  It is the Sapo National Park near Greenville.  It's the second largest tropical rainforest in West Africa and about the size of Los Angeles, California.  This park is your best chance to see some wild animals in the country.  There are elephants, leopards, duiker antelope, and pygmy hippos. It's a great place to ride a canoe on the river, but I never saw any of the animals there.

Oprah Winfrey has traced her roots back to the Kpelle people, who live near Gbarnga in central Liberia.

Rice is the staple food.  Other foods in the Liberian diet include cassava, plantains, bitterball, coconut, okra, hot peppers, sweet potatoes, onions, pumpkin (more like a squash), mangos (called plums), fish, goat, and beef.

Liberian exports include rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, coffee, and cocoa.