Liberia is Africa’s oldest republic, but it became better known in the 1990s for its long-running, ruinous civil war that has displaced thousands of civilians. Although freed American slaves founded the country, present-day Liberia is mostly inhabited by indigenous Africans, with the descendants of slaves making up only about 5 percent of the population.
This nation was relatively calm until 1980, when William Tolbert was overthrown. The coup marked the end of dominance by the minority Americo-Liberians, who had ruled since independence, but heralded a period of instability. By the late 1980s arbitrary rule and economic collapse culminated in civil war when Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) militia overran much of the countryside, entering the capital in 1990. Fourteen years of civil war ended with the departure of Liberia’s president Charles Taylor in August 2003.
In November 2005 Liberia elected a new president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf — the first woman to be elected as an African head of state. But she inherits a country in ruins. Just about anything of any value was either destroyed or looted during the fighting.
The PC(USA)’s Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has been working with the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Liberia in its efforts to bring food relief and services to displaced Liberians.
Liberia Partner Churches and Organizations
Christian Council of Liberia