Land of the Free: Liberia Celebrates Independence Day

© Photo Twitter / @d_LegalEagleIndependence Day of Liberia
Independence Day of Liberia - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 26.07.2023
On July 26, the Republic of Liberia commemorates its independence day. This holiday refers back 176 years when Liberia declared its independence from the United States, becoming the first African country to gain independence.
People of Liberia are exchanging congratulatory messages on the country's independence day this Wednesday. The West African country's residents usually fondly refer to Liberia as "Mama" in such messages.
On this day, the capital Monrovia and other cities in Liberia are strolled by joyous residents carrying flags and other festive features.
To mark the occasion, President George Weah visited the Barclays Training Center to observe a military march and then headed to the official ceremony at the capital's Centennial Pavilion, where dancing in folk costumes accompanied by the beating of drums was performed.

Gambian President Adama Barrow also arrived in Monrovia to participate in the festivities and congratulate the people of Liberia and its leader.

What is now commonly referred to as Liberia was originally founded with the arrival of the first Black American settlers, where they established a colony of "free men of color" in 1822 under the auspices of the American Colonization Society.
The society favored the formation of the colony to prevent a possible future slave revolt in America, and brought freed slaves to West Africa who lacked basic civil rights in America and faced discrimination.

Between 1822 and 1861, thousands of freed slaves were resettled in West Africa, and in 1824 the colony was named Liberia, "Land of the Free," and adopted a constitution.

On July 26, 1847, settlers declared Liberia's independence, thus becoming the continent's oldest republic.
The country's declaration of independence was achieved peacefully: it was decided in a referendum the previous year, in which 52% of the population voted in favor of independence.
King Sobhuza II of Swaziland, the world's longest-ruling king, is shown July 22, 1979, during his 80th birthday celebrations at the Somhlolo National Stadium near the Swazi capital of Mbabane.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 22.07.2023
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Liberia has since participated twice in World Wars I and II against Germany and experienced two civil wars in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
According to the UN, Liberia's civil wars left 250,000 people dead and about a third of the population homeless.
Nowadays, the country's per-capita income remains about a third of the level prior to the civil wars, however, "prudent monetary and fiscal policies" have reduced the country's inflation to just over 5% in 2021, and budgets are financed without central bank borrowing, the IMF noted in its report.
The West African country has a population of 5.4 million people and the nation's GDP is expected to reach $4.17 billion by the end of this year.