The United States established diplomatic relations with Liberia in 1864; 17 years after it declared independence from the American Colonization Society, an organization that resettled free African … Notable supporters of transporting freed blacks to Liberia included Henry Clay, Francis Scott Key, Bushrod Washington, and the architect of the U.S. Capitol, William Thorntonall slave owners. However, this is disputed as the country was founded by free Black American immigrants in the 1820s and governed by these Americo-Liberians until 1989. After a coup attempt against him in 1985 failed, Doe responded with brutal atrocities against suspected conspirators and their followers. About 85.5% of Liberia's population practices Christianity, while Muslims comprise 12.2% of the population. While there have been some critiques of her rule, Liberia has remained stable and made significant economic progress. It was considered a bastion of Americo-Liberian power, and was strong enough to survive the civil war. So… Liberia was governed by a military dictatorship until the 1990s and then suffered two lengthy civil wars. After being legalized in 1984, political parties multiplied rapidly. These enslaved Africans called Liberated Africans or Recaptives, many of whom were from the Congo Basin were designated as 'Congoes' and all Recaptives, including those from modern-day Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana were all described as 'Congoes.'. [7] Their language continued to carry elements of African-American Vernacular English. The Americo-Liberians established several settlements along the St Paul River such as Monrovia, Crozerville or Crozierville, Careysburg, Clay-Ashland, Buchanan, Maryland, Mississippi-in-Africa, and Greenville. The oft-stated claim that after the Scramble for Africa, Liberia was one of two African states to remain independent is misleading because the indigenous African societies had little economic or political power in the new republic. From 1878 to 1980, the Republic of Liberia was a de facto one-party state, ruled by elites of both the indigenous and Americo-Liberian-dominated True Whig Party and Masonic Order of Liberia. Yes, Liberia is open to everyone provided you meet up with the visa requirements and policies stipulated by the country. In 1822, the society established on the west coast of Africa a colony that in 1847 became the independent nation of Liberia. Although Liberianist scholars have neglected internal stratifications such as class and geography among the Americo-Liberian society, regional and local socio-economic differences among the Americo-Liberians resulted in slight cultural differences between rural 'upriver' Americo-Liberians such as those based in Clay-Ashland and city-based Americo-Liberians, particularly those based in Monrovia who were sometimes referred to 'Monrovia Americo-Liberians.' Although Americo-Liberians would continue to wear elaborate style dress for special occasions such as weddings, parades, and the inauguration of presidents, they adapted their styles of dress to incorporate newer Western-style fashion and elaborate African-style dresses between the early to late twentieth centuries. Simone also lived in Liberia, Barbados, Belgium, the U.K., the Netherlands and Switzerland. The Americo-Liberian or Congau ethnic group has produced several notable politicians, businessman, and professionals including: Americo-Liberians formed a cultural elite in Liberia. The Americo-Liberians arrived with varying degrees of formal and informal education. Definition and Examples. Histories of Liberia generally begin with the arrival of the Portuguese traders in the mid-1400s, and the rise of the trans-Atlantic trade. [11], Learn how and when to remove this template message, Liberia: History, Geography, Government, and Culture, "About this Collection - Maps of Liberia, 1830-1870", "Settlement of Liberia and Americo-Liberian Rule", President William V. S. Tubman, 1944–1971, Wegmann, Andrew N. "Christian Community and the Development of an Americo-Liberian Identity, 1822-1878," (M.A. Americo-Liberians made a concerted effort to educate Liberians from other ethnic groups, including through the use of the ward system. Other groups include the ancestors of the Black Americo-Liberians who migrated from America and founded Liberia between 1820 and 1865 and other Black immigrants from neighboring countries of West Africa. Over the next few decades, 19,900 Black American men and women migrated to the colony. Liberia was established in 1822 as a destination for freed American slaves. [citation needed]. Americo-Liberians based in Monrovia were portrayed as more urbane than their rural counterparts and were perceived by some Americo-Liberians as wielding too great an influence on national political affairs. [citation needed]. African American Officers in Liberia tells the story of seventeen African American officers who trained, reorganized, and commanded the Liberian Frontier Force from 1910 to 1942. Some African Americans following resettlement in Canada also participated as founding settlers in Sierra Leone and other Recaptive repatriates settled in present-day Côte d'Ivoire.[3]. The former residences of Americo-Liberian families were built in the style of antebellum plantation homes they may have admired in the American South. It was established on land acquired for freed U.S. slaves by the American Colonization Society, which founded a colony at Cape Mesurado in 1821. King, 17th President of Liberia (1920-1930). Samuel K. Doe became Head of State after leading the April 12, 1980 coup d'etat in Monrovia against William Tolbert. Since 2000, women have held over 14% of the seats in the National Assembly. In the modern era, although pioneered by the Americo-Liberians, Liberians, irrespective of ethnicity, wear both African and Western-style dress. Born in Brooklyn, Monique John moved to Liberia three years ago to work as a journalist. Looking for a place to re-settle free-born Black Americans and formerly enslaved people, the ACS chose the Grain Coast. Current major parties include the Unity Party, the Congress for Democratic Change, the Alliance for Peace and Democracy, and the United People’s Party. [citation needed] By many accounts, Liberians easily integrate into African-American communities. (1) While African-Americans started emigrating in small numbers to Sierra Leone as early as the 1780s, the Providence Island landing marks the … It wont happen. 10 Myths About Spanish and the People Who Speak It, Ongoing UN Peacekeeping Missions in Africa, The History of the Three-Fifths Compromise, What Is a Failed State? A two-tiered society struggles to stand on its own feet In the early 21st century, Liberia has been reduced to one of the most impoverished nations in the world, in which most of the population lives below the international poverty line. 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 Americo-Liberians were among the first black Africans to qualify as medical doctors and lawyers in the United States and prominent Americo-Liberian pioneers include Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller, a distinguished Harvard-educated Liberian psychiatrist and physician. [citation needed], Americo-Liberians speak Liberian English and its varieties such Merico and Liberian Settler English, all of which have been influenced by African-American Vernacular English, Gullah, and Barbadian Creole. [4] Americo-Liberians rarely intermarried with indigenous West Africans. Antebellum southern architecture incorporated Georgian, Neoclassical, and Greek Revival styles that are also reflected in Americo-Liberian architecture of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The current president, George Weah, was elected in 2017. While several distinct ethnic groups have inhabited what is today Liberia for at least 1,000 years, no large kingdoms found further east along the West African coast, such as Dahomey, Asante, or the Benin Empire arose there. As founders of the nation, and taking up about five percent of the Liberian population, upper-class Americo-Liberians had a leading role national politics from the founding of the colony until Samuel Doe led a military coup in 1980. In 1980, a violent military coup was led by Samuel Doe. However, the ethnic groups who inhabited Liberia did not customarily wear Western-style dress, and it was the Americo-Liberians who popularized Western-style dress including the top hat, tailcoat, lounge suit and frock coat. President Abraham Lincoln with African Americans outside of the White House, circa 1863. Along with Ethiopia, Liberia is considered to be one of the only two African countries never to have been colonized by European powers during the Scramble for Africa from 1880 to 1900. An intricate, nuanced perspective on this community's history, Liberia, South Carolina complicates simplistic understandings of Jim Crow and highlights the importance of studying African American communities in Appalachia. Christian music is popular, with hymns sung a-cappella in the traditional African style. The Republic of Liberia is a country located on the West African coast. Backed by Libya, Burkina Faso, and the Ivory Coast, Taylor soon controlled much of the eastern part of Liberia. In 1824 the territory was named Liberia, and its main settlement was named Monrovia, which is the present-day capital. Americo-Liberian women between the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries wore elaborate Victorian and Edwardian style American dresses that were fashionable among both the African-American and white American communities in the southern United States. The peace, however, did not last. Members of the legislative two-chamber National Assembly are elected to six-year terms in the House of Representatives and nine-year terms in the Senate. In 1822, the ACS founded Liberia as a colony of the United States of America. Americo-Liberian men wore top hats, frock coats, and lounge suits in addition to spats. The sister ethnic group of Americo-Liberians are the Sierra Leone Creole people, who share similar ancestry and related culture. [citation needed], Several Americo-Liberians worked as teachers and taught both Americo-Liberian and Liberians from other ethnic groups. In 2012, he was convicted of war crimes by the International Court of Justice and sentenced to 50 years in jail. A marble Masonic Lodge was built in 1867 as one of Monrovia's most impressive buildings. Still modeled on the United States federal government, Liberia’s government is a republic with a representative democracy made up of executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The sister ethnic group of Americo-Liberians are the Sierra Leone Creole people, who share similar ancestry and related culture. In nineteenth-century America, the belief that blacks and whites could not live in social harmony and political equality in the same country led to a movement to relocate African Americans to Liberia, a West African colony established by the United States government and the American Colonization Society in … In 1996, Liberia's warlords signed a peace agreement and began converting their militias into political parties. The Republic of Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, partly because of the 14-year long civil war that ended in 1997, which has continued to impact its population of 4.9 million people. In 1999, another rebel group, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) challenged Taylor's rule. Although the Americo-Liberian diaspora is extensive in the United States and United Kingdom, there remain thousands of Americo-Liberians in Liberia in cities and towns such as Monrovia, Crozerville, and Careysburg. Last year, Ghana gave citizenship to 126 people of African descent, many of them Americans. The Liberian population is made up of several indigenous ethnic groups who migrated from Sudan during the late Middle Ages. While English is the official language, over 20 different languages are spoken by the indigenous ethnic groups representing over 95% of the population. [6] Most of the powerful old Americo-Liberian families fled to the United States in the 1980s after President William Tolbert was assassinated in a military coup. Following the 1980 coup and the Liberian Civil Wars, thousands of Americo-Liberians have settled permanently in the United States in places such as Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and in places such as London in the United Kingdom. They developed an Americo-Liberian society, culture and political organization that was strongly influenced by their roots in the United States, particularly the country's Southeast but was also influenced by Afro-Caribbean culture and the West African cultures of the multi-ethnic Recaptives. This includes Liberians who are of American descent. Although the number of Afro-Caribbean immigrants to Liberia were relatively small in comparison to colonial Sierra Leone, at least 300 Afro-Barbadians settled in Liberia in 1865 and smaller numbers of Afro-Caribbean immigrants settled in Liberia between 1865 and 1930 from Caribbean islands such as Trinidad, Jamaica, and Grenada. They modeled the Liberian government after that of the United States. Present-day Americo-Liberians, similar to other Liberians, wear both African and Western-style dress. [2], In addition to indigenous Liberian chiefs and royal families, upper-class Americo-Liberians and their descendants led the political, social, cultural and economic sectors of the country; alongside indigenous Liberian elites, upper-class Americo-Liberians ruled the new nation from 19th century until 1980 as a small but dominant minority. Some academics attribute the influence of the Americo-Liberians to the consolidation of economic and social interests across the various facets of Americo-Liberian society despite the fact that some initial divisions in early Americo-Liberian society were based on state of origin in the United States, educational levels, socio-economic class, free or freedmen status, and perhaps "colorism", particularly because the first president was of mixed race, as were numerous immigrants, reflecting the nature of African-American society in the Upper South. Similar to the hierarchical power structure of federalism in the United States, Liberia is divided into 15 counties, each headed by a presidentially appointed superintendent. Leeflang (Peace Palace Library, The Hague (NL)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. C.G. Ethnic groups in Liberia had been accustomed to seeing European dress prior to the arrival of the Americo-Liberians, as a consequence of extensive trade with Europeans dating to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Liberia is the oldest Republic in Africa and stretches along the West African Coast. [citation needed], Americo-Liberian cuisine includes a variety of dishes and is a blend of African-American, Afro-Caribbean and local indigenous Liberian rice and foofoo dishes. In 1816, the future of Liberia changed dramatically due to the formation of the American Colonization Society (ACS) in the United States. Founded in 1816 by Charles Fenton Mercer, it was composed of two core groups: abolitionists and slave owners.Abolitionist members believed in freeing African slaves, along with their descendants, and providing them with the opportunity to return to Africa. Charles D. B. Liberia is the only Black state in Africa never subjected to colonial rule and is Africa’s oldest republic. The following presidents of Liberia were born in the United States: Also one Americo-Liberian president of Liberia was born in the British West Indies: All subsequent presidents were born in Liberia, though only one (except acting heads of state), Samuel Doe, is believed to be of exclusive indigenous heritage. [3] Americo-Liberians trace their ancestry to free-born and formerly enslaved African Americans who emigrated in the 19th century to become the founders of the state of Liberia. The Origins of Liberia Liberia began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society (ACS), who believed black people would face better chances for freedom and prosperity in Africa than in the United States. The American Colonization Society was established in 1816 by Abolitionists who felt that freed slaves should be helped in returning to Africa. Africans are concerned that if Black Americans would relocate to Africa that we we would clash with Africans. They spoke English, dressed like Americans, built Southern plantation-style homes, ate American foods, practiced Christianity, and lived in monogamous relationships. On July 26, 1847, Liberia declared its independence from America. Liberian immigrants to the United States have the highest passport acceptance rates and the longest extension rates of any citizens of African nations. They identified there as Americo-Liberians. SUBSCRIBE for daily travel videos: http://bit.ly/2hyQnZ1 INSTAGRAM? The mortality rate of these settlers was the highest in accurately recorded human history. Americo-Liberians introduced traditional African-American baking techniques into the modern-day nation of Liberia. Thesis: Louisiana State University, 2010), "25 years after his demise, Samuel Doe continues to cast a long shadow across Liberian politics", https://web.archive.org/web/20070809123601/http://www.uniboa.org/migration.html, Historically black colleges and universities, Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Black players in professional American football, History of African Americans in the Canadian Football League, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Americo-Liberian_people&oldid=992218628, North American people of African-American descent, Articles needing additional references from May 2008, All articles needing additional references, "Related ethnic groups" needing confirmation, Articles using infobox ethnic group with image parameters, Wikipedia articles with style issues from August 2013, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2020, Wikipedia articles with style issues from November 2012, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2009, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2014, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 4 December 2020, at 03:20. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation / Getty Images, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia's 'Iron Lady', Countries in Africa Considered Never Colonized, African American History Timeline: 1700 - 1799. Doe's tenure as leader of Liberia led to a period of civil wars, resulting in destruction of the country's economy. In 1822, the ACS founded Liberia as a colony of the United States of America. It is more likely that upper-class Americo-Liberians built their power on their familiarity with American culture and economics, shared lineage, and ability to create a network of shared interests. Although the terms "Americo-Liberian" and "Congo" had distinct definitions in the nineteenth century, they are currently interchangeable and refer to an ethnic group composed of the descendants of the various free and ex-slave African-American, Caribbean, Recaptive and Sierra Leone Creoles who settled in Liberia from 1822. For over 100 years, from its formation in the 1860s until 1980, the Americo-Liberian True Whig Party dominated Liberian politics, in what was essentially a minority ruled one-party state. Over the next 40 years, 19,000 African American repatriates, sometimes known as Americo-Liberians, settled in Liberia, along with some 5,000 Africans recaptured from slave ships, and a small number of West Indian immigrants. To the extent possible the indigenous ethnic groups are allowed to govern themselves according to their traditional laws. Immigrants from Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast settled in Monrovia or in other Americo-Liberian settlements, and were incorporated into Americo-Liberian society. U.S.-LIBERIA RELATIONS. On January 3, 1848, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a wealthy, free-born African American from Virginia who settled in Liberia, was elected Liberia's first president after the people proclaimed independence. Americo-Liberians introduced Protestant Christianity on a wider scale in the modern-day region of Liberia. They spoke an African-American Vernacular English, and some ventured into the interior and mingled with local African peoples. The emigration of free people of color, and later former slaves, was funded and organized by the American Colonization Society(ACS). [citation needed], Although many of the upper-class Americo-Liberians left the country or were killed during the civil wars, and their houses and monuments crumbling, ordinary Liberians look to the United States for aid. Furthermore, Americo-Liberians contributed to the culinary cuisine of the region by introducing American baking techniques. As part of the agreement, Charles Taylor agreed to step down. The American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed in 1817 to send free African-Americans to Africa as an alternative to emancipation in the United States. Education is compulsory for Liberian children between ages 7 and 16 and is provided free at the primary and secondary levels. [citation needed]. Several Americo-Liberians served as missionaries to other ethnic groups in Liberia and were among the first Baptist, Methodist, and Episcopal missionaries of black African descent in Liberia. In 2003, the women of Liberia helped bring an end to the Second Civil War, and in 2005, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first elected female head of state in Africa, was elected President of Liberia. [citation needed], The Americo-Liberians are predominantly Protestant Christians and mainly belong to the Baptist, Methodist denominations although some Americo-Liberians are Episcopalians and perhaps a smaller minority adhere to the Catholic faith. Are the College Students Who Need Affirmative Action Getting It? Americo-Liberian houses were a variation of different architectural styles from the American South and were built of weather-board or stone frame and had both verandahs. So, the ACS encouraged slaveholders to offer freedom on the condition that those accepting it woul… A tremendously important book. In 1989, Charles Taylor, a former Americo-Liberian official, invaded Liberia with his National Patriotic Front. Traditional Americo-Liberian cuisine includes African-American soul food such as cornbread, fried chicken, collard greens but also incorporated local African traditional dishes such as palm butter soup and rice. [citation needed]. [citation needed]. Between the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, these various groups of transatlantic settlers and Recaptives or Liberated Africans intermarried and merged to form the Americo-Liberian or Congo ethnic group, which became synonymous terms for this creolized ethnic group which incorporated African-American, Afro-Caribbean, and African elements. The designation 'Congo' for the Americo-Liberian population came into common usage when these African Americans integrated 5,000 liberated Africans called Congos (former slaves from the Congo Basin, who were freed by British and Americans from slave ships after the prohibition of the African slave trade) and 500 Barbadian immigrants into the Americo-Liberian hegemony. English remains the official language of Liberia, though the languages of the indigenous peoples are widely spoken. Liberia remains unique for its baking traditions that are derived from the African-American immigrants to Liberia. By 1867, the society had sent more than 13,000 emigrants. Several women have also served in the presidential cabinet and as Supreme Court justices. She was Africa's first female head of state. Today, the women’s galvanizingly effective efforts are credited with bringing about a peace agreement in 2003. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey wrote of the need for Africans to develop their own “Africa for Africans!” identity, demand self-rule, and reject the European view of Africa as having a cultureless society. On April 12, 1980, Master Sgt. Tubman College of Technology. The Americo-Liberians introduced a form of African-American Vernacular English that influenced the existing pidgin English or patois that existed in the region of Liberia from the precolonial era. More information about Liberia is available on the Liberia Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet. Americo-Liberian people or Congo people or Congau people in Liberian English, are a Liberian ethnic group of African-American, Afro-Caribbean and Liberated African descent. However, Doe’s dictatorial government proved no better for the Liberian people than its predecessor. Coastal groups traded several goods with Europeans, but the area became known as the Grain Coast, because of its rich supply malagueta pepper grains. Americo-Liberians established schools and also established the University of Liberia, formerly Liberia College, in addition to other higher learning institutions such as Cuttington College. These top 10 facts about living conditions in Liberia portray what life is like for Liberians. They identified there as Americo-Liberians. Liberia was conceived by American political and religious leaders of the time as a place to relocate Africans who were brought to America as slaves. See African-American Mosaic: Liberia. Over the next few decades, 19,900 Black American men and women migrated to the colony. In 2005, elections were held in Liberia, and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who had once been arrested by Samuel Doe and lost to Taylor in the 1997 elections, was elected President of Liberia. [6], The early African-American settlers practiced their Christian faith, sometimes in combination with traditional African religious beliefs. The early African-American settlers who arrived in the region that was established as Liberia between 1820 and 1843 were mainly free blacks from Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia and smaller numbers from Northern states such as New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Connecticut. 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