Monrovia /mənˈroʊviə/ is the capital city of the West African country of Liberia. Located on the Atlantic Coast at Cape Mesurado, Monrovia had a population of 1,010,970 as of the 2008 census. With 29% of the total population of Liberia, Monrovia is the country's most populous city.
Founded on April 25, 1822, Monrovia was the second permanent Black American settlement in Africa after Freetown, Sierra Leone. Monrovia's economy is shaped primarily by its harbour and its role as the location of Liberia's government offices.
Images top, left to right: Capitol Building, Monrovia City Hall, Downtown Monrovia, University of Liberia, Monrovia Bay
Location within Liberia, West Africa
|Established||April 25, 1822|
|Named for||James Monroe - U.S. President|
|• Type||Local Government of Monrovia|
|• Mayor||Jefferson T. Koijee|
|• City||75.00 sq mi (194.25 km2)|
|Time zone||UTC+0 (GMT)|
Monrovia is named in honor of U.S. President James Monroe, a prominent supporter of the colonization of Liberia and the American Colonization Society. Along with Washington, D.C., it is one of two national capitals to be named after a U.S. President.
In 1816, with the aim of establishing a self-sufficient colony for emancipated American slaves, something that had already been accomplished in Freetown, the first settlers arrived in Africa from the United States, under the auspices of the American Colonization Society. They landed at Sherbro Island in present-day Sierra Leone.
Many settlers died in the landing. On January 7, 1822, a second ship rescued the settlers and took them to Cape Mesurado, establishing the settlement of Christopolis. In 1824, the city was renamed Monrovia after James Monroe, then President of the United States, who was a prominent supporter of the colony in sending freed Black slaves and ex-Caribbean slaves from the United States of America and Caribbean islands to Liberia and who saw it as preferable to emancipation in America.
In 1845, Monrovia was the site of the constitutional convention held by the American Colonization Society which drafted the constitution that would two years later be the constitution of an independent and sovereign Republic of Liberia.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Monrovia was divided into two parts: (1) Monrovia proper, where the city's Americo-Liberian population resided and was reminiscent of the Southern United States in architecture; and (2) Krutown, which was mainly inhabited by ethnic Krus but also Bassas, Grebos and other ethnicities. Of the 4,000 residents, 2,500 were Americo-Liberian. By 1926, ethnic groups from Liberia's interior began migrating to Monrovia in search of jobs. The population of Monrovia reached 10,000 by 1937; at that time, Monrovia's police department had 30 members.
In 1979, the Organisation of African Unity held their conference in the Monrovia area, with then president William Tolbert as chairman. During his term, Tolbert improved public housing in Monrovia and decreased by 50% the tuition fees at the University of Liberia. A military coup led by Samuel Doe ousted the Tolbert government in 1980, with many members being executed.
The city was severely damaged in the First and Second Liberian Civil Wars, notably during the siege of Monrovia, with many buildings damaged and nearly all the infrastructure destroyed. Major battles occurred between Samuel Doe's government and Prince Johnson's forces in 1990 and with the NPFL's assault on the city in 1992. A legacy of the war is a large population of homeless children and youths, either having been involved in the fighting or denied an education by it.
In 2002, Leymah Gbowee organized the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace with local women praying and singing in a fish market in Monrovia. This movement helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003 and the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia, the first African nation with a female president.
Monrovia lies along the Cape Mesurado peninsula, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mesurado River, whose mouth forms a large natural harbor. The Saint Paul River lies directly north of the city and forms the northern boundary of Bushrod Island, which is reached by crossing the "New Bridge" from downtown Monrovia. Monrovia is located in Montserrado County and is Liberia's largest city and its administrative, commercial and financial center.
Under the Köppen climate classification, Monrovia features a tropical monsoon climate (Am). During the course of the year Monrovia sees a copious amount of precipitation. Monrovia averages 4,624 mm (182.0 in) of rain per year. In fact, Monrovia is the wettest capital city, receiving more annual precipitation on average, than any other capital in the world. The climate features a wet season and a dry season, but precipitation is seen even during the dry season. Temperatures remain constant throughout the year averaging around 26.4 °C (79.5 °F).
The city of Monrovia consists of several districts, spread across the Mesurado peninsula, with the greater Metropolitan area encircling the marshy Mesurado river's mouth. The historic downtown, centered on Broad Street, is at the very end of the peninsula, with the major market district, Waterside, immediately to the north, facing the city's large natural harbor.
Northwest of Waterside is the large, low-income West Point community. To the west/southwest of downtown lies Mamba Point, traditionally the city's principal diplomatic quarter, and home to the Embassies of the United States and United Kingdom as well as the European Union Delegation. South of the city center is Capitol Hill, where the major institutions of national government, including the Temple of Justice and the Executive Mansion, are located.
Further east down the peninsula is the Sinkor section of Monrovia. Originally a suburban residential district, today Sinkor acts as Monrovia's bustling mid-town, hosting many diplomatic missions, as well as major hotels, businesses, as well as several residential neighborhoods, including informal communities such as Plumkor, Jorkpentown, Lakpazee and Fiamah.
Sinkor is also home to the city's secondary airport, Spriggs Payne, and the area immediately nearby, called Airfield, is a major nightlife district for the whole city. Further east of the Airfield is the Old Road section of Sinkor, which is predominantly residential, including informal settlements like Chugbor and Gaye Town.
At the southeasterly base of the peninsula is the independent township of Congo Town, and to its east is the large suburb of Paynesville. Other suburbs such as Chocolate City, Gardnersville, Barnersville, Kaba Town, Dandawailo, and New Georgia lie to the north, across the river. On Bushrod Island north of Monrovia are the neighborhoods of Clara Town, Logan Town and New Kru Town. To the far east are the suburbs of Stockton Creek Bridge, Caldwell, Louisiana and Cassava Hill.
Monrovia's economy is dominated by its harbor - the Freeport of Monrovia - and as the location of Liberia's government offices. Monrovia's harbor was significantly expanded by U.S. forces during the Second World War and the main exports include latex and iron ore.
Materials are also manufactured on-site, such as cement, refined petroleum, food products, brick and tile, furniture, and chemicals. Located on Bushrod Island between the mouths of the Mesurado and Saint Paul rivers, the harbor also has facilities for storing and repairing vessels.
Boats link the city's Freeport of Monrovia, the country's busiest port, with Greenville and Harper. The nearest airport is Spriggs Payne Airport, located less than four miles (6.4 km) from the city center. Roberts International Airport, the largest international airport in Liberia, is 60 km (37 miles) away in Harbel.
Monrovia is connected with the rest of the country via a network of roads and railways. Monrovia is listed as the home port by between ten and fifteen percent of the world's merchant shipping, registered in Liberia under Flag of Convenience arrangements. Both private taxis and minibuses run in the city, and are supplemented by larger buses run by the Monrovia Transit Authority. Prior to the wars, the Mount Coffee Hydropower Project provided electricity and drinking water to the city.
In recent years (2005–present) the roads on many streets in Monrovia have been rebuilt by the World Bank and the Liberian Government. Private and public infrastructures are being built or renovated as reconstruction takes place.
Monrovia is situated in the district of Greater Monrovia in Montserrado County. Administratively, instead of being divided into clans like other districts of Liberia, Greater Monrovia is divided into 16 "zones". Like clans, these zones are subdivided into 161 "communities". Greater Monrovia does not have an organized district administration like other districts, with all lower-level local authorities being directly supervised by the Montserrado County Superintendent.
Municipally, Greater Monrovia District is subdivided into two city corporations and ten other local authorities (nine townships and one borough). Established by law in 1973 and operational since 1976, the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) is responsible for the city's administration. The MCC also provides services to the townships and borough through a revenue-sharing arrangement, but has no zoning or enforcement jurisdiction in them.
Former mayors include:
Attractions in Monrovia include the Liberian National Museum, the Masonic Temple, the Waterside Market, and several beaches. The city also houses Antoinette Tubman Stadium and the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex sports stadiums. The arena at Samuel K. Doe is one of the largest stadiums in Africa, with seats for 40,000.
The newspaper industry in Monrovia extends back to the 1820s, when the Liberia Herald opened as one of the first newspapers published in Africa. Today, numerous tabloid style newspapers are printed on daily or bi-weekly basis, most of which are no more than 20 pages. The Daily Talk is a compilation of news items and Bible quotations written up daily on a roadside blackboard in the Sinkor section of Monrovia.
Radio and TV stations are available, with radio being a more prominent source of news as problems with the electric grid make watching television more difficult. UNMIL Radio has been broadcasting since October 1, 2003. It is the first radio station in Liberia to broadcast 24 hours a day, and reaches an estimated 2⁄3 of the population. The state-owned Liberia Broadcasting System broadcasts nationwide from its headquarters in Monrovia. STAR radio broadcasts at 104 FM.
Monrovia is home to the University of Liberia, along with African Methodist Episcopal University, United Methodist University, Stella Maris Polytechnic, and many other public and private schools. Medical education is offered at the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, and there is a nursing and paramedical school at the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts.
Kindergarten through twelfth grade education is provided by the Monrovia Consolidated School System, which serves the Greater Monrovia area. Schools include Monrovia Central High School, Bostwain High School, D. Twe High School, G. W. Gibson High School and William V. S. Tubman High School.
Pollution is a significant issue in Monrovia. Piles of household and industrial rubbish in Monrovia build up and are not always collected by sanitation companies paid by the World Bank to collect this waste.
In 2013, the problem of uncollected rubbish became so acute in the Paynesville area of Monrovia that traders and residents burnt "the huge garbage piles that seemed on the verge of cutting off the main road" out of Monrovia to Kakata.
Flooding brings environmental problems to residents of Monrovia, as flood water mixes with and carries waste found in swamps that are often on the verge of residential areas.
In 2009, one-third of Monrovia's 1.5 million people had access to clean toilets. Those without their own toilets defecate in the narrow alley-ways between their houses, on the beach, or into plastic bags, which they dump on nearby piles of rubbish or into the sea.
Congested housing, no requirement that landlords provide working toilets, and virtually no urban planning "have combined to create lethal sanitation conditions in the capital".
Monrovia is twinned with:
Cape Mesurado, also called Cape Montserrado, is a headland on the coast of Liberia near the capital Monrovia and the mouth of the Saint Paul River. It was named Cape Mesurado by Portuguese sailors in the 1560s. It is the promontory on which African American settlers established the city now called Monrovia on 25 April 1822.There is a lighthouse on Cape Mesurado, located in the Mamba Point neighborhood of Monrovia and in the cape's northwestern portion, that was established in 1855. It is currently inactive, although the Liberian government is seeking financial assistance to restore and reactivate the lighthouse.Colorado Boulevard
Colorado Boulevard (or Colorado Street) is a major east–west street in Southern California. It runs from Griffith Park in Los Angeles east through Glendale, the Eagle Rock section of Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Arcadia, ending in Monrovia. The full route was once various state highways but is now locally maintained in favor of the parallel Ventura Freeway (CA-134) and Foothill Freeway (I-210).First Liberian Civil War
The First Liberian Civil War was an internal conflict in Liberia from 1989 until 1997. The conflict killed about 250,000 people and eventually led to the involvement of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and of the United Nations. The peace did not last long, and in 1999 the Second Liberian Civil War broke out.
Samuel Doe had led a coup d'état that overthrew the elected government in 1980, and in 1985 held elections that were widely considered fraudulent. There had been one unsuccessful coup by a former military leader. In December 1989, former government minister Charles Taylor moved into the country from neighboring Côte d'Ivoire to start an uprising meant to topple the Doe government.
Taylor's forces, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) battled against Prince Johnson's rebel group, the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) – a faction of NPFL – for control in Monrovia. In 1990, Johnson seized the capital of Monrovia and executed Doe.
Peace negotiations and foreign involvement led to a ceasefire in 1995 that was broken the next year before a final peace agreement and new national elections were held in 1997. Taylor was elected President of Liberia in July 1997.Greater Monrovia District
Greater Monrovia is one of four districts located in Montserrado County, Liberia. It contains the country's capital Monrovia. It recorded a population of 970,824 in the 2008 census.Greater Monrovia has no official administrative status. Unlike other districts of Liberia which are divided into clans, Greater Monrovia is divided into zones. The Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) is responsible for the administration of the city of Monrovia. Greater Monrovia also contains several semi-autonomous townships (Congo Town, New Georgia, Gardnersville, Dixville, Barnesville, Caldwell, Johnsonville and Garworlon) and the only borough in Liberia, New Kru Town. The MCC provides services to the townships and borough through a revenue-sharing arrangement, but has no zoning or enforcement jurisdiction in them.Liberia
Liberia ( (listen)), officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the West African coast. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to its northwest, Guinea to its north, Ivory Coast to its east, and the Atlantic Ocean to its south-southwest. It covers an area of 111,369 square kilometers (43,000 sq mi) and has a population of around 4,700,000. English is the official language and over 20 indigenous languages are spoken, representing the numerous ethnic groups who make up more than 95% of the population. The country's capital and largest city is Monrovia.
Liberia began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society (ACS), who believed black people would face better chances for freedom and prosperity in Africa than in the United States. The country declared its independence on July 26, 1847. The U.S. did not recognize Liberia's independence until February 5, 1862, during the American Civil War. Between January 7, 1822, and the American Civil War, more than 15,000 freed and free-born black people who faced legislated limits in the U.S., and 3,198 Afro-Caribbeans, relocated to the settlement. The settlers carried their culture and tradition with them. The Liberian constitution and flag were modeled after those of the U.S. On January 3, 1848, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a wealthy, free-born African American from Virginia who settled in Liberia, was elected Liberia's first president after the people proclaimed independence.Liberia was the first African republic to proclaim its independence, and is Africa's first and oldest modern republic. It retained its independence during the Scramble for Africa. During World War II, Liberia supported the United States war efforts against Germany and in turn, the U.S. invested in considerable infrastructure in Liberia to help its war effort, which also aided the country in modernizing and improving its major air transportation facilities. In addition, President William Tubman encouraged economic changes. Internationally, Liberia was a founding member of the League of Nations, United Nations, and the Organisation of African Unity.
The Americo-Liberian settlers did not relate well to the indigenous peoples they encountered, especially those in communities of the more isolated "bush". The colonial settlements were raided by the Kru and Grebo from their inland chiefdoms. Americo-Liberians developed as a small elite that held on to political power, and indigenous tribesmen were excluded from birthright citizenship in their own land until 1904, in an echo of the United States' treatment of Native Americans. Americo-Liberians promoted religious organizations to set up missions and schools to educate the indigenous peoples.
In 1980 political tensions from the rule of William R. Tolbert resulted in a military coup during which Tolbert was killed, marking the beginning of years-long political instability. Five years of military rule by the People's Redemption Council and five years of civilian rule by the National Democratic Party of Liberia were followed by the First and Second Liberian Civil Wars. These resulted in the deaths of 250,000 people (about 8% of the population) and the displacement of many more, and shrank Liberia's economy by 90%. A peace agreement in 2003 led to democratic elections in 2005, in which Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected President. National infrastructure and basic social services were severely affected by the conflicts, with 83% of the population now living below the international poverty line.Liberia Football Association
The Liberia Football Association is the governing body of football in Liberia. Its offices are located at Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia.Liberian FA Cup
The Liberian Football Association Cup, commonly known as the LFA Cup, is an annual knockout cup competition in Liberian football. The LFA Cup is run by and named after the Liberia Football Association and usually refers to the Liberian men's tournament, although a LFA Women's Cup is also held.
The LFA Cup was first held in 1974 with Mighty Barrolle being crowned the first champions. Entry is open to all teams who compete in the LFA-Cellcom First Division and the LFA-Cellcom Second Division.
Barrack Young Controllers are the current holders, after thrashing Fatu FC 6–0 to win the Cup for the first time.Liberian Premier League
The Liberian First Division, formerly the Liberian Premier League is the highest division in football in Liberia. The first division league began in 1956 and have only once been won by a club outside Monrovia. It has been dominated by Mighty Barrolle FC and Invincible Eleven FC. The league is organized by the Liberia Football Association. In 2010, the league became known as the Cellcom Premier League for sponsorship reasons and it is now called LFA-Cellcom First Division League.Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Liberia)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the government ministry of Liberia responsible for directing Liberia's external relations and the management of its international diplomatic missions. The ministry is located in Monrovia, Liberia's capital.Monrovia, California
Monrovia is a city located in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 36,590 at the 2010 census, down from 36,929 in 2000. Monrovia has been used for filming TV shows, movies and commercials.Monrovia, Indiana
Monrovia is a town in Monroe Township, Morgan County, in the U.S. state of Indiana. The population was 1,063 at the 2010 census.Monrovia, Maryland
Monrovia is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Frederick County, in the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 416. The ZIP code for the area is 21770.Monrovia Group
The Monrovia Group, sometimes known as the Monrovia bloc, officially the Conference of Independent African States, was a short-lived, informal association of African states with a shared vision of the future of Africa and of Pan-Africanism in the early 1960s. Its members believed that Africa's independent states should co-operate and exist in harmony, but without political federation and deep integration as supported by its main rival, the so-called Casablanca Group. In 1963, the two groups united to establish a formal, continent-wide organisation, the Organisation for African Unity.
The alliance first met on 8–12 May 1961 in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, one of its leading countries. Other members included Nigeria and most of Francophone Africa, including Senegal and Cameroon. Their approach was more moderate and less radical than that of the Casablanca Group. Its leaders stressed the importance of Africa's newly independent states retaining their autonomy and strengthening their own bureaucracies, militaries and economies. They promoted nationalism, the creed that each nation of Africa should be self-governing, over Pan-Africanism, the belief that the whole continent should seek ever closer union and integration of their politics, society, economy and so on.
The Monrovia Group's ideas ultimately prevailed. In 1963, states from both groups joined to create the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Its Charter places the principles of independent statehood, non-interference and national sovereignty at its heart. The OAU's pursuit of integration was minimal and its opposition to continental federation unequivocal. The OAU, like its successor the African Union (AU), is a reflection of the more nationalist values of the Monrovia Group and a repudiation of the more supra-national ideas of the Casablanca Group.Monrovia station
Monrovia is an at grade light rail station in the Los Angeles County Metro Rail system located near the intersection of Duarte Road and Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia, California. This station is served by the Metro Gold Line.This station was constructed as part of the Gold Line Foothill Extension project Phase 2A. The station opened on March 5, 2016.Montserrado County
Montserrado County is a county in the northwestern portion of the West African nation of Liberia. One of 15 counties that comprise the first-level of administrative division in the nation, it is composed of five districts. As of the 2008 Census, it had a population of 1,118,241, making it the most populous county in Liberia. The area of the county measures 1,912.7 square kilometres (738.5 sq mi), the smallest in the country.Bensonville serves as the capital.
Created in 1847 at the foundation of the country, the county is the oldest in Liberia. Montserrado’s County Superintendent is Nyenekon Beauty Snoh-Barcon. The county is bordered by Bomi County to the west, Bong County to the north, and Margibi County to the east. The southern part of Montserrado lies on the Atlantic Coast.Roberts International Airport
Roberts International Airport (IATA: ROB, ICAO: GLRB), informally also known as Robertsfield, is an international airport in the West African nation of Liberia. Located near the town of Harbel in Margibi County, the single runway airport is about 35 miles (56 km) outside of the nation's capital of Monrovia, and as an origin and destination point is referred to as "Monrovia" and locally is often referred to simply as "RIA." The airport is named in honor of Joseph Jenkins Roberts, the first President of Liberia.
The airport is the nation's busiest most important aviation facility, currently hosting the country's only scheduled commercial airline services, with direct connections to several major cities in West Africa as well as weekly flights to Europe on Brussels Airlines. The airport is currently reported to serve 228,000 passengers annually and is currently undergoing a major expansion, including a new passenger terminal. The facility with its 11,000 feet (3,400 m) long runway was an emergency landing site for the United States' Space Shuttle program and is one of only two with paved runways in the country. While Monrovia's secondary airport, Spriggs Payne, is much closer to the city center and possesses the nation's only other paved runway, it has not had scheduled commercial service since ASKY Airlines suspended service in November 2014.San Gabriel Valley Tribune
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune is a paid daily newspaper located in Monrovia, California, that serves the central and eastern San Gabriel Valley. It operated at the West Covina location from 1955 to 2015. The Tribune is a member of Southern California News Group (formerly the Los Angeles Newspaper Group), a division of Digital First Media. It is also part of the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group, along with the Pasadena Star-News and the Whittier Daily News.
The newspaper chain Brush-Moore purchased the Tribune in 1960. Thomson Newspapers purchased Brush-Moore in 1967. Thomson sold the Tribune to Singleton's MediaNews Group in 1996.Second Liberian Civil War
The Second Liberian Civil War began in 1999 when a rebel group backed by the government of neighbouring Guinea, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), emerged in northern Liberia. In early 2003, a second rebel group, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia, emerged in the south, and by June–July 2003, Charles Taylor's government controlled only a third of the country.
The capital Monrovia was besieged by LURD, and the group's shelling of the city resulted in the deaths of many civilians. Thousands of people were displaced from their homes as the result of the conflict.
The Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed by the warring parties on August 18, 2003 marking the political end of the conflict and beginning of the country's transition to democracy under the National Transitional Government of Liberia which was led by interim President Gyude Bryant until the Liberian general election of 2005.South Monrovia Island, California
South Monrovia Island is a census-designated place in Los Angeles County, California. It sits at an elevation of 384 feet (117 m). It is bounded to the west and north by Monrovia, to the east by Duarte, and to the south by Irwindale. The 2010 United States census reported that South Monrovia Island's population was 6,777.
|Climate data for Monrovia, Liberia|
|Record high °C (°F)||35.0
|Average high °C (°F)||31.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||26.2
|Average low °C (°F)||22.0
|Record low °C (°F)||15.0
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||51
|Average precipitation days||4||3||8||12||22||24||21||17||24||22||16||9||182|
|Average relative humidity (%)||78||76||77||80||79||82||83||84||86||84||80||79||81|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||158||167||198||195||155||105||84||81||96||121||147||155||1,662|
|Source #1: Deutscher Wetterdienst (average temperature and extremes only)|
|Source #2: Danish Meteorological Institute|
Capitals of African states