Fast Facts

Population:
3,283,000
Capital:
Monrovia; 572,000
Area:
111,370 square kilometers (43,000 square miles)
Language:
English, 20 ethnic languages
Religion:
Indigenous beliefs, Christian, Muslim
Currency:
Liberian dollar
Life Expectancy:
49
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $1,000
Literacy Percent:
58
Flag: Liberia

Freed American slaves began settling on the West African coast in 1820. In 1847 Liberia was declared an independent republic—Africa's first—under a constitution modeled on that of the U.S. In 1989 civil war erupted, ending seven years later with the Abuja Peace Accords. In 1999 the government of Charles Taylor was accused of supporting rebels in Sierra Leone, and it fought a border war with Guinea in 2000. Taylor was forced into exile in 2003, and the new government—under the leadership of Africa's first elected female president in 2005, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—works to rebuild the nation.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Rubber processing, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds
  • Agriculture: Rubber, coffee, cacao, rice; sheep; timber
  • Exports: Rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cacao

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

Related Features

  • Photo: A pair of hands fist pump

    Hip Hop Culture

    Whether you trace it to New York's South Bronx or the villages of West Africa, hip-hop has become the voice of a generation.

  • Photo: Men paddle in a dugout canoe at dawn on the Zambezi River

    Africa's Zambezi River

    Whether drifting lazily in a canoe or rafting through violent rapids, every trip down southern Africa's Zambezi River is an adventure. Take a trip of your own with this gallery.

  • Photo: Women sitting in an AIDS clinic

    Inventing Nairobi

    A boisterous metropolis glows with the promise of a better life, but doesn't always deliver.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Travel Photos From Your Shot

  • Picture of canoes on a dock in Alberta, Canada

    Your Canada Photos

    View scenes of Canada's city life and countryside—all taken by our Nat Geo photo community.

See More Your Shot Galleries »