As part of the Today programme's series on Liberia, presenter Evan Davis looks further into the history of the country from the capital, Monrovia.
Liberia is often described as Africa's first independent republic, founded by freed black American slaves, who arrived in the 1820s with a professed love of liberty and a dream of creating their own version of the United States on African soil.
They became known as the Americo-Liberians and dominated life over the indigenous tribes-people who vastly outnumbered them.
The next 130 years sowed the seeds for the quarter of a century of military coups and civil war which brought Liberia to its knees.
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