Liberia

Liberia

Liberia The Republic of Liberia has a unique history. Founded in 1847 by freed Black slaves from the Americas, Liberia is one of the few African states never dominated by a foreign colonial power. It was also Africa's first republic. The state was founded with the help of the government of the USA, whose constitutional model Liberia adopted.

Independent Liberia's political life was from its foundation dominated by Americo-Liberians (freed slaves or free-born Blacks from the US) whose mother tongue was English, whilst 'indigenous' tribes were marginalised and excluded from state power. The rights of 'indigenous' Liberians were later acknowledged, but the state continued to be dominated by an Americo-Liberian elite. The Americo-Liberian minority governed Liberia through the True Whig party until toppled by a bloody military coup in 1980, when Samuel Doe took power and centred it in his own hands. Doe 'ethnicised' the politics of Liberia further, exacerbating tensions between Liberia's ethnic groups. Armed conflict erupted in 1989, to some extent along ethnic lines, when the Gio and Mano-dominated National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) attacked the Krahn-dominated government which they deemed autocratic.

In addition to the violence surrounding the 1980 coup, two episodes of armed intra-state conflict followed, 1989-1996 and 2000-2003. During the two main phases of armed conflict a number of factions also made use of one-sided violence, such as the NPFL, the two factions of the United Liberian Movement for Democracy (ULIMO - J and ULIMO - K), the Liberian Peace Council (LPC) and the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).

Since 1946 Liberia has experienced the intrastate, non-state and one-sided categories of UCDP organised violence.