Liberia is a country found in the western part of Africa, and it shares its borders with Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Sierra Leon. The country also has a coastline along the Atlantic Ocean in the south-western part of the country. Liberia spans an area of 43,000 square miles and has a population of about 4.9 million people. The indigenous ethnic groups account for more than 95% of the total population in the country.
The Kpelle ethnic group is one of the largest in Liberia, and occupy the central part of the country and extend to the neighboring country of Guinea. The group speaks the Kpelle language, which is one of the Mande family languages. It is estimated that there are 870,000 people in the country of Kpelle ethnic community accounting for about 20.3% of the total population. The Kpelle people are mainly farmers, and they cultivate rice, which is one of their staple foods. The Kpelle ethnic community is also found in the neighboring country of Ivory Coast, particularly in the western part of the country. They are also found in the neighboring country of Guinea where they are known as Guerze.
The Bassa ethnic group is native to Liberia and live particularly in Rivercess, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, and Margibi counties. They form one of the largest ethnic groups in the country's capital city of Monrovia. In Liberia, it is estimated that there are about 575,000 people of Bassa ethnic group accounting for about 13.4% of the country's total population and they are the second largest in the country. The Bassa ethnic group is also found in the neighboring countries of Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. The Bassa people speak the Bassa language, which is part of the Kru language that belongs to the Niger-Congo language family. It is believed that the Bassa people have Kemetic origin and most likely left Egypt in the early medieval period and migrating towards the west and southwards. The ethnic group occupied large areas of the coastal regions of West Africa and the present-day areas of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Niger, Togo, Senegal, and other parts of Central Africa like Congo and Cameroon.
The Mano ethnic group in Liberia accounts for about 7.9% of the total population in the country, and speak mano language, which is part of the Mande language family. They are found mainly in the Northeastern part of the country, especially in Nimba County. In the past, the mano people in their traditional religion worshipped their god in Mt Nimba. The ethnic group belongs to the Mande speaking group, and it is believed that they could have migrated from Sudan to the Mali Empire and finally the President of Guinea. It is believed that the first group of the mano people arrived in Liberia during the 13th and 14th centuries, and another group arrived later at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Gio ethnic group occupies the Northern part of Liberia, and are also found in the neighboring country of Ivory Coast. It is estimated that in Liberia, there are about 350,000 people who belong to the Gio ethnic community, and they account for about 8% of the country's population. It is believed that the Gio ethnic community may have originated from the western part of Sudan, and they migrated to what is the present-day region of Guinea and Mali. The Gio people have been traditionally farmers, and they cultivated crops such as sweet potatoes, cassava, and rice, which is their leading staple food.
The Kru ethnic Community is believed to have originated in the eastern parts of Nigeria and may have migrated to the different regions of Western African Coast, particularly parts of Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast. The community accounts for about 6% of the total population in the country, which translates to about 251,000 people. In the past, they were famous for their sailing and navigational skills in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Grebo ethnic community is one of the many ethnic groups in Liberia and inhabit mainly the Grand Kru County and Maryland County in the Southeastern part of the country. Few members are found in Sinoe and River Gee Counties. The community is also found in the neighboring country of Ivory Coast where they are known as Krumen. In 2001, the population of the ethnic group was estimated to be about 387,000 people in Liberia.
The Krahn ethnic group is among the many ethnic groups in Liberia, and they are also found in the neighboring country of Ivory Coast. In Liberia, they account for about 4% of the country's population where the number about 98,000. The Krahn ethnic group speaks the Krahn language. They are believed to originate from the northern part of Ivory Coast where they migrated in the early 16th century to the present-day region of Liberia.
Other Ethnic Groups In Liberia
Liberia has many ethnic groups spread across the country and some of them include the Vai ethnic group, the mandinka ethnic groups, the Mende ethnic group, and the Kissi ethnic group. Others include the Gio ethnic group, the Lorma ethnic group, the Gbandi ethnic group, the Sapo ethnic group, and other Liberians as well as other non-African communities.
What Is The Ethnic Composition Of Liberia?
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About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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