A Brief History of the Liberian Civil War

Liberia. A small nation along the West African coast, and Africa’s oldest republic. That is about all most people know about the country. But there is much to its history. Most importantly in recent years, is a civil war that divided the nation and ended up dragging in the international community to end the intense violence.

Liberia was founded as a modern nation by freed slaves, mostly from the United States, in the 1800’s and spent many decades in apparent stability and harmony. However, the majority of the population was native Africans, with the minority population of those slaves’ descendants making up a mere 5% of the whole population, running things for their own advantage. Social disparity and discontent grew until, in 1980, then President William Tolbert was overthrown in a coup d’état by Sergeant Samuel Doe after food price riots. The coup marked the end of the dominance by the Americo-Liberian minority, and the beginning of a period of instability that culminated with the National Patriotic Front of Liberia entering the capital, Monrovia, and executing Doe.

The battle became an intense, multi-faceted conflict, as rebel groups splintered off and battled one another. Even the United States and the UN had to pay attention to these developments. A peace agreement was signed in 1995, but even this was short lived, with anti-government fighting breaking out in 1999. International pressure by the neighboring countries plus a rebel presence eventually forced then President Charles Taylor to step down into exile. A transitional government stayed in place until 2005, when they finally had general elections.

The bullets may have stopped flying, but the damage has been done. And there’s plenty of damage to go around. The nation’s economy and infrastructure are currently in ruins, corruption is rife, and the nations various ethnic groups remain divided and untrusting of each other. The UN maintains 15,000 soldiers there to this day, making it one of their largest and most expensive deployments. Only when the populace within Liberia heals and can come together will the citizens be able to move forward, and prevent this tragedy from occurring again.

This is where Survivors Truths comes in. We have been working with Liberians for the past seven years to develop new strategies for building “peace from within.”  We are bringing together Liberian knowledge and traditions with technological resources to share stories of healing and empowerment and pave the way to a lasting, permanent, peace.

This work can only continue with the continued service of a devoted Liberian team, who are working in challenging conditions with very limited resources. So help us cultivate peace in Liberia with your generosity. With your donations, we are able to bring Liberian voices together. It is only with this support that we can continue to share the stories of the survivors, and help bring them together to cultivate a lasting peace in this war-torn land.