An Outline of the Past
This chapter attempts to provide the backdrop which hopefully will help the uninitiated to better appreciate the subject matter of the book. Rather than giving a complete narrative of the past happenings, we have chosen to pick three main strands which dominate the early history of Liberia, Africa’s first republic created out of a settlement established to give a home to the freed slaves of the USA. These strands are: a. dealing with the arrogant and powerful neighbours (the British colony of Sierra Leone to the west and the French colonies of Guinea and Ivory Coast to the north and east respectively) and attempting to carve out a well-defined, internationally accepted territorial sovereign identity; b. formulating a policy towards the interior inhabited by the local people who constituted the bulk of the population and the complications faced because of ambivalence of both the parties and c. groping for appropriate measures to convert a wobbly economy into a viable one and erect a decent administrative structure on it. This led to the formation of the International Customs Receivership with an American heading it and representatives of Germany, Great Britain and France working as members. Liberia allowed her most important source of revenue to be managed by European powers and her godfather, the USA.