Liberia has roughly 3% of people that were North American – born blacks that migrated to Liberia. These 3% established the democracy that Liberians live in, today. Liberia has had many names such as the Pepper coast and Grain coast. Apparently, the very first inhabitants in Liberia were small in stature, and were referred to as pygmies. When you visit, you may find that many Liberian men and women are shorter and smaller in stature when compared to other West Africans. Liberia seems to have been everyone’s land since many migrated from other parts of Africa, i.e. Sudan before the arrival of the North American – born blacks. Liberians have a very diverse environment, with many multi ethnic people, most popular being Ghanaian and Liberian from historical times. Liberia, in addition to other west cost nations, was known to have an advanced standard of living. The quality of their products drew international attention, which included trade with various European nations.
Liberia’s 3%, called Americo- Liberians, is the start of the deep tie to the USA. In a press release about First Lady, Michelle Obama’s trip to Liberia, late June 2016, the writer states:
First of all, in Liberia, we have long and deep historical ties with the people of Liberia. And we’ve also had, over the years, significant cooperation on a range of issues, including a substantial assistance relationship and support for Liberia, first as it emerged from many years of civil war, as President Sirleaf consolidated democratic gains in the aftermath of that civil war, and then, most recently, in coordinating a global response to the Ebola epidemic.
Liberia is one of our anchor partners in West Africa. And we believe that the success of Liberia’s democracy and its people is critical to the future of the broader region. And again, the United States enjoys overwhelming popularity among the people of Liberia who also very much value this relationship. And the opportunity to have the First Lady go and speak to the importance that we place not just on foreign policy issues but on human development will be critical.
And I should just add that in Africa generally, the President and First Lady have stressed the message of empowerment and engagement not just with governments but with peoples, whether it’s through our young leaders initiatives, our education initiative, and our broader assistance that has focused very much on capacity-building and empowering people, as well as assisting governments.
You may find the full press release here.