infoslogo
-Monrovia-
infoslogo
Home
 
Country

What you need to know

Image result for map of monrovia liberia

Monrovia is the capital city of the West African country of Liberia. Located on the Atlantic Coast at Cape Mesurado, Monrovia had a population of 1,010,970 as of the 2008 census. With 29 of the total population of Liberia, Monrovia is the country’s most populous city. From January 7, 1822 until the Liberian Declaration of Independence from the American Colonization Society on July 26, 1847 some 3,198 ex-Caribbean slaves settlers from the Lesser Antilles, who had escaped from their slaveholder or were born free, left the Caribbean islands and came to Liberia with the help and support of the American Colonization Society and other establishment organizations. The ex-Caribbean slaves came to Liberia to live a better life, to be free, and to establish self-governance. The first ex-Caribbean slaves who came to Liberia were from Barbados; some 500 to 1,000 ex-Caribbean slaves arrived in Liberia. The second group of settlers who came from the Caribbean islands were from Trinidad and Tobago; they were some 345 ex-Caribbean slaves, followed by some 620 ex-Caribbean slaves from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Another group of settlers, some 350 ex-Caribbean slaves, came from Saint Kitts and Nevis. The last two groups of settlers from the Caribbean islands were some 483 from Grenada and some 400 from Saint Lucia. As job opportunities and development growth increased, the ex-Caribbean slaves moved through Grand Cape Mount, Bomi County, Montserrado, Margibi County and other regions of Liberia to seek jobs and other opportunities.

Monrovia is Liberia’s cultural, political and financial hub. The body that administers the government of Greater Monrovia District is the Monrovia City Corporation.

Founded on April 25, 1822, Monrovia was the second permanent Black American settlement in Africa after Freetown, Sierra Leone. Monrovia’s economy is shaped primarily by its harbour and its role as the location of Liberia’s government offices. It is the world’s poorest city according to TheRichest.

Language

Liberia is a multilingual country where more than thirty languages are spoken.English is the official language. None of the languages group forms a distinctive majority. These languages can be grouped in four language families: Mande, Kru, Mel, and the divergent language Gola.

Currency

The Liberian Dollar (LRD) is the official currency of Liberia, but the United States Dollar is still widely accepted. Although the US Dollar is the best foreign currency to carry, other major currencies, like the Euro, can also be exchanged. Money can be exchanged at the international airport, at foreign exchange bureaus in Monrovia and at some banks. Credit cards are seldom if ever accepted and there are very few ATMs.

Image result for The Liberian Dollar banknote

History

In 1816, with the aim of establishing a self-sufficient colony for emancipated American survivors of slavery, something that had already been accomplished in Freetown, the first settlers arrived in Africa from the United States, under the auspices of the American Colonization Society. They landed at Sherbro Island in present-day Sierra Leone. Many settlers died in the landing.

In January 7, 1822, a second ship rescued the settlers and took them to Cape Mesurado, establishing the settlement of Christopolis. In 1824, the city was renamed to Monrovia after James Monroe, then President of the United States, who was a prominent supporter of the colony in sending freed Black slaves and ex-caribbean slaves from the United States of America and Caribbean islands to Liberia and who saw it as preferable to emancipation in America.

In 1845, Monrovia was the site of the constitutional convention held by the American Colonization Society which drafted the constitution that would two years later be the constitution of an independent and sovereign Republic of Liberia.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Monrovia was divided into two parts: (1) Monrovia proper, where the city’s Americo-Liberian population resided and was reminiscent of the Southern United States in architecture; and (2) Krutown, which was mainly inhabited by ethnic Krus but also Bassas, Grebos and other ethnicities. Of the 4,000 residents, 2,500 were Americo-Liberian. By 1926, ethnic groups from Liberia’s interior began migrating to Monrovia in search of jobs.

In 1979, the Organisation of African Unity held their conference in the Monrovia area, with then president William R. Tolbert as chairman. During his term, Tolbert improved public housing in Monrovia and decreased by 50{0aa1ad24eb6f9df1c650dbba9b08a1e1e5e7c4182def9222a0ecd0b1d1519473} the tuition fees at the University of Liberia. A military coup led by Samuel Doe ousted the Tolbert government in 1980, with many members being executed.

The city was severely damaged in the First and Second Liberian Civil Wars, notably during the siege of Monrovia, with many buildings damaged and nearly all the infrastructure destroyed. Major battles occurred between Samuel Doe’s government and Prince Johnson’s forces in 1990 and with the NPFL’s assault on the city in 1992. A legacy of the war is a large population of homeless children and youths, either having been involved in the fighting or denied an education by it.

In 2002, Leymah Gbowee organized the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace with local women praying and singing in a fish market in Monrovia. This movement helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003 and the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia, the first African nation with a female president.

As of September 2014, an ongoing Ebola epidemic has been affecting the city. The Ebola virus epidemic in Liberia was declared over on 3 September 2015.

Geography

Monrovia lies along the Cape Mesurado peninsula, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mesurado River, whose mouth forms a large natural harbor. The Saint Paul River lies directly north of the city and forms the northern boundary of Bushrod Island, which is reached by crossing the “New Bridge” from downtown Monrovia. Monrovia is located at 6°19′N 10°48′W. Monrovia is Liberia’s largest city and its administrative, commercial and financial center.

The city is located in Montserrado County. The small town of Bensonville is actually the capital of Montserrado County.

Climate

Liberia has a tropical climate, which means that it is hot and humid year-round and gets plenty of rain. Temperatures in Monrovia and along the Liberian coast generally range between 73°F and 89°F (23°C and 32°C) and it is slightly hotter inland. The humidity makes it seem hotter than it is, but there is an almost constant breeze along the coast, which is refreshing. The year can be divided into a wet and a dry season: between late April and mid-November it is hot, wet and cloudy, with frequent heavy rain showers; and between December and March it is dry with hot days and cool nights. Monrovia is one of Africa’s wettest capital cities, with annual rainfall averaging about 4500mm, but rain seldom falls outside of the wet season. There is usually a dry spell of about two weeks during the rainy season, sometime in July or August, but it is hard to predict. The best time to visit Liberia is in the dry season, between December and April. The dry season is characterised by the hot, sandy, harmattan wind, which blows in from the Sahara Desert between December and March, but this is seldom very disruptive for travellers.

 Economy

Monrovia’s economy is dominated by its harbor – the Freeport of Monrovia – and as the location of Liberia’s government offices. Monrovia’s harbor was significantly expanded by U.S. forces during the Second World War and the main exports include latex and iron ore.

Materials are also manufactured on-site, such as cement, refined petroleum, food products, bricks and tiles, furniture and chemicals. Located on Bushrod Island between the mouths of the Mesurado and Saint Paul rivers, the harbor also has facilities for storing and repairing vessels.

Education

Monrovia is home to the University of Liberia, along with African Methodist Episcopal University, United Methodist University, Stella Maris Polytechnic, and many other public and private schools. Medical education is offered at the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, and there is a nursing and paramedical school at the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts.

Kindergarten through twelfth grade education is provided by the Monrovia Consolidated School System, which serves the Greater Monrovia area. Schools include Monrovia Central High School, Bostwain High School, D. Twe High School, G. W. Gibson High School and William V. S. Tubman High School.

The American International School of Monrovia is located in Congo Town.

Transport

There is no official public transport system in Monrovia. Taxi cabs operate across the city, but these are not always the safest means of getting around; they are shared taxis and drivers will often stop to pick up other passengers along the way. Robberies and pickpocketing have been reported in shared taxis, and it’s best to rather try to hire a taxi exclusively for your own trip. Motorbike taxis are a popular mode of transport, but although they are relatively cheap and convenient, they are also not reliably safe. Local buses travel along set routes in the city, but they are also best avoided due to safety concerns as they are often overcrowded and hotspots for pickpocketing. Car hire is available, and a recommended option is to hire a car with a driver. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for travel outside of Monrovia due to the poor road conditions.