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Liberia History Timeline

1800s
  • (1820) The American Colonization Society (ACS) began sending African American volunteers to the Pepper Coast in order to establish a colony for freed African American slaves
  • (1847) Liberia becomes an independent nation and a constitution modeled after the U.S. Constitution is drawn up
  • (1890s) Boundary lines are formally designated in response to the European 'Scramble for Africa'

1900s
  • (1917) Liberia declared war on Germany, giving the Allies a base in West Africa during World War I
  • (1926) The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company opened a rubber plantation making rubber the backbone of the economy
  • (1936) The government takes action in abolishing forced-labor practices
  • (1943) William Tubman is elected president
  • (1944) In response to World War II, the Liberian government declared war on the Axis powers
  • (1951) Women and indigenous property owners are allowed to vote in the presidential election for the first time
  • (1958) Racial discrimination is outlawed
  • (1971) William Tolbert Jr. is named president following the death of William Tubman
  • (1978) A trade agreement is signed with the European Economic Community
  • (1979) Rioting over an increase in the price of rice killed more than 40 people
  • (1980) A military coup, led by Msgt. Samuel Doe of the Krahn ethnic group, overthrew and killed President Tolbert; the constitution was suspended and Doe assumed full power
  • (1984) A multi-party system is re-established following pressure from the U.S.
  • (1985) Doe is elected president
  • (1989) An uprising is staged against the government, led by Charles Taylor of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), triggering the First Liberian Civil War
  • (1990) Doe is executed
  • (1992) Rebels of the NPFL launched an assault on West African peace keepers in Monrovia and were in turn bombed outside the city limits, sparking one of Africa's bloodiest civil wars
  • (1995) A peace agreement is signed
  • (1997) Charles Taylor is elected president
  • (1999) Ghana and Nigeria accused Liberia of supporting the Revolutionary United Front rebels in Sierra Leone prompting Britain and the US to threaten a suspension of aid to the country
  • (1999) Rebel forces thought to have come from Guinea attacked the town of Voinjama; nearly 25,000 people are displaced from fighting

2000s
  • (2000) A "massive offensive" is initiated by Liberian forces against the rebels in the Lofa region
  • (2001) Borders with Sierra Leone and Guinea are closed after a civil war is sparked
  • (2002) President Taylor declared state of emergency
  • (2003) Fighting between the government and rebels for control of Monrovia intensified; President Taylor is exiled and an interim government is established with Gyude Bryant as head of administration; a major peacekeeping mission is launched by the UN
  • (2005) Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is elected president and is the first woman to be elected as an African head of state
  • (2006) The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is founded to investigate human rights abuses between 1979 and 2003
  • (2006) Generator-powered street lights are turned on in Monrovia, which had been without electricity for 15 years
  • (2007) Trial began for the war crimes committed by Charles Taylor
  • (2008) The first census of Liberia since 1984 is conducted
  • (2009) A state of emergency is issued in response to a plague of crop-destroying army worms
  • (2011) Johnson-Sirleaf is re-elected president
  • (2014) Seven people believed to have had the Ebola virus died in Monrovia

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This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.