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Liberia is an important study in post-1989 warfare and in the history of U.S. relations with Africa. The natural resources of this heavily forested West African country—timber, gems, rubber, iron ore— are key to both U.S. involvement with Liberia and to a war that lasted almost two decades. This entry discusses the relationship between Liberia and the United States, and the war in Liberia.

Some 3.5 million people live in Liberia. The largest city is the capital, Monrovia. Liberia’s government is modeled on the U.S. system: an executive headed by a president (who is also commander in chief), a bicameral legislature, and a judiciary led by a supreme court. In 2005, Liberia elected Africa’s first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. English is the official language, though ...

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