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Mon, 01.07.1822

Monrovia, Liberia, is Founded

Monrovia

*On this date, in 1822, the city of Monrovia was founded. Monrovia is the capital city of the West African country of Liberia on the Atlantic coast.

Early on, the area was called Ducor. The French cartographer and slave trader Chevalier des Marchais visited Ducor and the Cape in 1723, conducted business there, and later published a map of the area. In 1816, to establish a self-sufficient colony for formerly enslaved Americans, something already accomplished in Freetown in Sierra Leone. In 1822, a ship took these settlers to Providence Island at the mouth of the Mesurado River and established a settlement they called Christopolis.

In 1824, the city was renamed Monrovia after James Monroe, president of the United States. Monroe supported relocating formerly enslaved Blacks as an alternative to abolishing the institution of slavery in America. In 1845, there was a constitutional convention in Monrovia. Monroe drafted the document that would be adopted two years later as the constitution of the newly independent and sovereign Republic of Liberia.

At the beginning of the 20th century, 2,500 of Monrovia's 4,000 residents were Americo-Liberian. Monrovia was divided into two sectors: Monrovia proper and Krutown. Monrovia proper was where the city's Americo-Liberian population resided; the architectural style of its buildings was reminiscent of that of the American South. By 1926, ethnic groups from Liberia's interior had begun migrating to Monrovia for jobs. By 1937, Monrovia's population had grown to 10,000, with 30 police officers.

In 1979, the Organization of African Unity held its conference near Monrovia, chaired by the then-president of Liberia, William Tolbert. During his term, Tolbert improved public housing in Monrovia and cut the tuition fees at the University of Liberia in half. In 1980, a military coup led by Samuel Doe overthrew the Tolbert government and executed many of its members. As of the 2008 census, Monrovia had 1,010,970 residents, home to 29% of Liberia's population.

As the nation's primate city, Monrovia is the country's economic, financial, and cultural center; its economy is centered on its harbor and role as the seat of the Liberian government.

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

O’ de wurl’ ain’t flat,An’ de wurl’ ain’t roun’,H’it’s one long stripHangin’ up an’ down—Jes’ Souf an’ Norf;Jes’ Norf an’ Souf. —from Ariel Williams Holloway, “Northboun'” , 1926 “NORTHBOUND'” by Ariel Williams Holloway
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