American Colonization Society
Beginning in 1820, the region was colonized by blacks from the United States, most of whom were freed slaves. These immigrants established a new country with the help of the American Colonization Society, a private organization which believed that former slaves would have greater freedom and equality in Africa. African captives freed from slave ships were also sent there instead of being repatriated to their countries of origin.
In 1847, this new country became the Republic of Liberia, establishing a government modeled on that of the United States, with Monrovia as its capital city. This first group of colonists, known as Americo-Liberians, led the political and economic sectors of the country during the 19th century.
Second influx of immigrants entered the country between 1920s and 1940s. Sponsored by the Universal Negro Improvement Association, these immigrants were the descendants of former slaves from the Confederate States who migrated to the United States, but experienced a disillusionment of living in their new country. This second group of colonists, known as Garveyans, brought a wave of industrialization to Liberia in the 1930s.
Post-World War II development
After World War II, Liberia began to liberalize its economy and strengthened its Pan-African stance throughout the decolonization process which swept the continent. Liberia was a founding member of the United Nations and the African Economic Union.
The coup attempts by the military in 1969 and in 1975, brought a political and economic instability for Liberia. Liberia began to recover its democracy and economy in the late 1990s although about 85% of the population continue to live below the international poverty line.