Liberia, officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the west coast of Africa, bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, and the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2008 Census, the nation is home to 3,476,608 people and covers 111,369 square kilometers (43,000 sq mi). Its capital is Monrovia. Liberia has a hot equatorial climate with most rainfall arriving in summer with harsh harmattan winds in the dry season. Liberia's populated Pepper Coast is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the sparsely populated inland is forested, later opening to a plateau of drier grasslands.
The history of Liberia is unique among African nations, notably its relationship with the United States. It is one of the few countries in Africa, and the only country in West Africa without roots in the European Scramble for Africa; although Liberians had contact with European explorers and traders briefly between 16th to 18th centuries, Liberia did not exist as a nation state until it was colonized by freed slaves from the United States. These freed slaves formed an elite group in Liberian society, and, in 1847, formed a government based on that of the United States, naming their capital city after James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States. This government was overthrown by a military-led coup in 1980, which marked the beginning of a period of instability and civil war that left hundreds of thousands of people dead and devastated the country's economy.
Today, Liberia is recovering from the lingering effects of this decades-long civil war. Its economy is based heavily on subsistence agriculture, manufacturing, and its many ports. Liberia is one of the poorest countries in Africa; nevertheless, the country has achieved economic growth, largely thanks to foreign investment.
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