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Driving Directions Liberia

LIBERIA is a republic located in West Africa. Founded in 1847 as a homeland for freed slaves from North America, Liberia is the only African country never to have been ruled by a foreign power.

It has a treacherous coast with rocky cliffs and lagoons enclosed by sand bars, which stretches for 560 kilometers or 348 miles from Sierra Leone to Côte d’Ivoire.

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A low-lying, well-watered coastal plain with many mangrove swamps rises inland to a densely forested plateau this­sected by deep, narrow valleys. North of this lie the Nimba Mountains, which rise to a maximum height of 1,752 meters or 5,748 feet. The mountains are also forested and contain some beautiful waterfalls.

The forests provide several commercially valuable species, particularly rub­ber trees, palms, and mahogany. They are home to various ani­mals and birds, including the pygmy hippopotamus, monkeys, chimpanzees, and snakes.

Agriculture employs 75 percent of the workforce and produces cassava and rice as subsistence crops and rubber, coffee and cocoa for export. The Nimba Mountains are rich in iron ore, which accounts for 70 percent of export earnings, and wood, rubber, diamonds, and coffee are also exported.

Liberia has an extensive tanker fleet, most of which have foreign owners. Since its establishment in 1847, Liberia’s history has, at times, been a turbulent one, culminating in a devastating civil war in the 1990s. The economy has suffered greatly, and the situation remains uncertain, leaving Liberia with considerable problems to overcome.

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Starting from a coastal plain that is 40 kilometers (25 miles) wide, the terrain gradually rises through two more major geographical regions: a belt of forested hills and, beyond it, an upland region of plateaus and low mountains.

Liberia is bordered on the west and southwest by the Atlantic Ocean. Since the country is only a few degrees north of the equator, it is also near the dividing point between the North Atlantic and South Atlantic Oceans. The surf is normally heavy all along the coast, but it is most tempestuous at the height of the rainy season.

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Liberia’s coast was traditionally referred to as the Grain Coast, a reference to the “Grains of Paradise,” or malagueta peppers, that attracted early European traders.

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