Useful country information
Total area: 43,000 sq mi (111,370 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 4,092,310 (growth rate: 2.52%); birth rate: 35.07/1000; infant mortality rate: 69.19/1000; life expectancy: 58.21
Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Monrovia, 750,000
Monetary unit: Liberian dollar
Languages: English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages few of which can be written or used in correspondence
Ethnicity/race: Kpelle 20.3%, Bassa 13.4%, Grebo 10%, Gio 8%, Mano 7.9%, Kru 6%, Lorma 5.1%, Kissi 4.8%, Gola 4.4%, other 20.1% (2008 Census)
Religions: Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.4% (2008 Census)
National Holiday: Independence Day, July 26
Literacy rate: 60.8% (2010 est.)
Africa's first republic, Liberia was founded in 1822 as a result of the efforts of the American Colonization Society to settle freed American slaves in West Africa. The society contended that the emigration of blacks to Africa was an answer to the problem of slavery and the incompatibility of the races. Over the course of forty years, about 12,000 slaves were voluntarily relocated. Originally called Monrovia, the colony became the Free and Independent Republic of Liberia in 1847.
The English-speaking Americo-Liberians, descendants of former American slaves, make up only 5% of the population, but have historically dominated the intellectual and ruling class. Liberia's indigenous population is composed of 16 different ethnic groups.
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