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1460 Portuguese traders were the first to arrive along the Grain Coast, now known as Liberia.

1816 Certain that freed black slaves in America would never be able to integrate into a white society, a group of unlikely allies’ that included abolitionists and slave owners formed the American Colonisation Society (ACS) whose aim was to resettle freed blacks in Africa.

6th February 1820 with $100,000 in funds from the U.S. Congress, the ACS set about repatriating freed American slaves to what is now known as Liberia. The first group of eighty-eight black settlers and three white ACS agents set sail from New York on board the steam ship Elizabeth.

However, within three weeks of their arriving in what is now the northern coast of Liberia, all three whites and 22 of the black settlers had died of disease. The survivors eventually settled further north in Sierra Leone.

1821 The second group of settlers arriving in Africa picked up the remaining survivors of the first group in Sierra Leone and established the first Official ACS settlement on Cape Mesurado (now the port of modern-day Monrovia). The ACS named the original settlement Monrovia in honour of U.S. President James Monroe and named the colony of Liberia to reflect its goal of liberty for all.

During 1821 to 1867 The American Colonisation Society assisted over 13,000 black Americans to move to Liberia.

Between 1822 to1904 it’s estimated that more than 23,000 immigrants, mostly from the US, arrived in Liberia.

1838 All but one of the original colonies agreed to join together to create the Commonwealth of Liberia and adopted a constitution that limited citizenship to persons of colour. However, the Commonwealth’s first governor, appointed by the ACS was white, Thomas Buchanan brother of the U.S. President James Buchanan.

1841 The Commonwealth appointed its first black governor, Joseph Jenkins Roberts.

26th July 1847 Liberia became an independent state and a republic. Its constitution was based on that of the United States of America. Joseph J Roberts, a freed slave who was  born in Virginia, became its first president. Their constitution was modelled on the US version, and they also copied the US flag.

1890 Knowing that most of the European nations were trying to grab as much as possible of the African continent, the Liberian government formally declared its boundaries.

1915 The Indigenous peoples in the country rose up against the Americo-Liberians who had migrated from the USA.

1917 The Allies gained access to a military base in West Africa after Liberia declared war on Germany.

1926 The Liberian government granted a 99 year lease on vast tracks of land to the American based Firestone Tyre and Rubber Company, which lead to rubber becoming Liberia’s main export crop.

1936 The Liberian government took action trying to end forced labour in the country.

3rd January 1944 William Tubman of the True Whig Party became president of the country.

1944 Towards the End of the Second World War after Liberia had declared war on Germany. The Allies were grant the use of a base in West Africa (just like during the First World War).

28th January 1948 Charles Taylor, later to become president of Liberia (1997-2003), was born in Arthington Liberia, into a family descended from freed American slaves.

1951 Liberian government past legislated against racial discrimination, and the right to vote was extended to include women and some property-owning indigenous people.

1960 The country of Liberia became a 'flag of convenience' for many international shipping companies.

1971 President William Tubman died and was succeeded by vice president William Tolbert.

23rd July 1971 President William VS Tubman died in office, he was succeeded by the then vice president William Richard Tolbert.

1974 The Soviet Union provided Liberia with aid, and a trade agreement was signed between Liberia and the European Economic Community.

1979 Rioting broke out against Americo-Liberian supremacy after severe price rises for rice.

12th April 1980 Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe, a member of the indigenous Krahn group, seized power in a military coup. President William Richard Tolbert of the True Whig Party was assassinated (executed) along with 13 of his top aides. Doe assumed power as Chairman of the People's Redemption Council.

Later Samuel Kanyon Doe's government agreed to the return of party politics in Liberia after international pressure was applied from the US and other major creditors.

1981-1985 The US gave $402 million in aid to Liberia.

1984 Under pressure from international donors, Samuel Doe introduced a new constitution which allowed for multi-party elections. However, Doe also declared himself president ahead of general elections supposedly due on the 25th July 1984.

1985 Charles Taylor escaped from a Plymouth County jail in Massachusetts while awaiting extradition to Liberia, where he was accused of embezzling money as an official in the dictatorship of Samuel Doe. He went to Libya received military training as a guest of Col. Moammar Khadafy. Later Taylor met Foday Sankoh, then a corporal from Sierra Leone while training in Libya.

1985 Elections were held that dragged into 1986.

November 1985 Thomas Quiwonkpa lead a failed coup attempt, which was followed by violent reprisals against the Gio and Mano people of Quiwonkpa’s native Nimba County.

6th   January 1986 Samuel Kanyon Doe won  the election and was officially declared the countries president, after an election that was marred by widespread, systematic vote-rigging.

24th December 1989 Charles Taylor, a member of the Gio tribe and a former cabinet minister under Samuel Doe, led a small group of fighters across the border from the Ivory Coast into Liberia. Within a few months he had looted and terrorised much of the countryside and the capital. Taylor led the NPFL or National Patriotic Front. The NPFL was composed mainly of the Mano and Gio tribes from northern Nimba County.

As a group of  rebels were about  to take Monrovia,  a peace keeping force headed by Nigeria from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  with full backing from Ghana, was sent to the city to help restore order.

1990 Civil war broke out in the country and Samuel Doe's Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) were challenged by two separate rebel groups, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia run by Charles Taylor's and the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL).

9th September 1990 Samuel Doe was captured, by a splinter group of the NPFL, along with the remains of Doe’s Krahn-dominated army composed the AFL or Armed Forces of Liberia. Upon his capture he was tortured and bled to death after an ear was cut off. Liberia's various warlords including Charles Taylor then wrestled for the leadership.

22nd November 1990 Amos Claudius Sawyer became the acting president of an Interim Government of National Unity sponsored by ECOWAS and with the full support the NPFL. However, the plan was rejected by Charles Taylor, who established his own, rival government.

During 1990-2004 Its estimated that at least 1.2 million people were forced to flee their homes. 700,000 sought shelter in Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and other West African countries. The 14 years of fighting also left over 250,000 people dead.

1991 RUF guerrillas including Sam Bockerie invaded Sierra Leone from Liberia. Charles Taylor had formed the guerrillas back in 1989.

1992 ECOMOG peacekeepers were attacked by the NPFL forces in Monrovia the Liberian capital. After  heavy losses the ECOMOG succeeded in pushing the NPFL out into the surrounding countryside.

31st October 1992 It was reported that five American nuns had been shot to death near the capital Monrovia, the killings were blamed on rebels loyal to Charles Taylor.

1992 ULIMO, the United Movement of Liberia arose as a guerrilla force to stop cooperation between Sierra Leone’s rebel leader Foday Sankoh and Charles Taylor.

By 5th June 1993 Charles Taylor's rebellion was reported to have killed at least 550 fugitives.

1993 The warring factions agreed to a ceasefire, but it failed to halt the violence.  Later a tentative agreement towards a National Transitional Government also failed.

7th March 1994 David Donald Kpormakpor became the Chairman of the Council of State of the Liberian National Transitional Government.

20th August 1995   Liberian warlords agreed in Nigeria to end hostilities in their six-year old civil war, which had killed 150,000 people. The Economic Community of West African States brokered a peace treaty between the two warring movements.

1st September 1995 a ceasefire and peace agreement was agreed upon and signed by warring factions, notably the temporary Liberian government, rebel groups and other civil society. Wilton G. S. Sankawulo became the Chairman of the Council of State of the Liberian National Transitional Government. Other members of the Council included Ghankay Charles Taylor and Roosevelt Johnson.

April 1996 The Ceasefire broke down as fighting between the various factions resumed. Fighting was reported around the capital Monrovia. Around 3,000 people were killed in further battles that followed.

5th May 1996 Roosevelt Johnson was sneaked out of Liberia to neighbouring Freetown, Sierra Leone.

11th June 1996   A rusty Russian freighter carrying hundreds of Liberian refugees remained at sea after Ghana refused to let it dock.

17th June 1996   Health workers dug up an additional 150 bodies, many of them headless, along the beach at Mamba Point. Exhumations had started 2 weeks earlier and about 500 bodies had been found and reburied. A further 1,500 bodies were exhumed from around the capital.

August 1996 The ECOMOG peacekeepers began the disarmament of warring factions, clearing the way for the return of refugees.

3rd September 1996 Liberia's first (non-elected) woman leader, Ruth Sando Perry, took over as Chairman of the Council of State of the Liberian National Transitional Government.

31st January 1997 became the deadline for some 14,000 rebels to hand in their weapons.

3rd June 1997 Reinforcements from a peace-keeping force in Liberia was sent in to help Nigerian troops against the insurrectionist troops of Sierra Leone.

July 1997 Ghankay Charles Taylor of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) became president with a landslide win of 75% of the vote. International observers declared the election 'free and fair'. Although many Liberians believed Taylor would have resumed fighting if he had failed to win the presidency.

4th December 1997 Samuel Dokie, an opposition politician, was found slain in Bong County with his wife and bodyguard. He had been reported missing after being arrested by security men in Pres. Taylor’s stronghold of Gbarnga.

January 1999 Liberia was accused by Nigeria and Ghana of giving support to the United Front rebels in Sierra Leone. Sanctions on the country were imposed by the US, UK and the United Nations.

April 1999 saw the emergence of a new rebel group, the Liberians United for Reconcilation and Democracy (LURD), operating out of Guinea.   Guinea was then accused of aiding the rebel forces who attacked the border town of Voinjama. Guinea counter claimed that Liberian forces had crossed into its territory. The Fighting displaced more than 25,000 people.

20th August 1999 It was reported that tens of   thousands of refugees from Sierra Leone had fled to northern Liberia and that many were robbed and killed by retreating rebels.

December 1999 Sam Bockerie fell out with RUF leader Foday Sankoh over diamonds and fled to Liberia with several hundred loyalists.

31st July 2000 The US and British diplomats accused the Pres. Charles Taylor of Liberia and Pres. Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso of trading arms for diamonds and aiding the rebels in Sierra Leone.

19th August 2000 four journalists working for a British television company were charged with espionage, while filming for a 3-part documentary about Liberia, Mauritania, Mali and Angola.

25th August 2000   Liberia freed the 4 arrested TV journalists.

September 2000 A "massive offensive" was initiated by the Liberian forces against the rebels (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, LURD) in the Lofa region to the north. They were successful in pushing them out of the area. However, Guinea accused Liberia of entering its territory.

2000 Charles Taylor's government once again accused Guinea of shelling villages along its border.

October 2000 Slovak brokers were involved in a plan to ship Mi24 helicopter gunships from Kyrgyzstan to Liberia. One was shipped and another was confiscated by Slovak customs agents.

December 2000   It was reported that Robert Taylor, brother of Pres. Charles Taylor, headed the Forestry Development Authority and allowed Oriental Timber of Hong Kong to wipe out entire forests.

20th December 2000 A United Nations panel linked Liberian Pres. Charles Taylor to illegal diamond smuggling and arms trafficking with the rebels in Sierra Leone.

2001 A rampaging civil war resulted with the borders with Sierra Leone and Guinea being closed. The Liberian government claimed that the Sierra Leonean rebel Sam ‘The Mosquito’ Bockarie, had left the country.

March 2001 United Nations imposed an arms embargo against Liberia for their support of Sierra Leonean rebels.

23rd May 2001 US President George Bush banned the import of rough diamonds from Liberia in an effort to deprive rebels in Sierra Leone of a source of funds.

2002 President Charles Taylor declared a state of emergency, as the rebels advance on Monrovia.

March 2003 Rebel forces were nearing the capital Monrovia.

3rd March 2003 A Special Court for Sierra Leone indicted Liberian Pres. Charles Taylor on charges including murder, rape, sexual slavery, conscripting child soldiers and terrorising civilians for his support of rebels during Sierra Leone civil war. The Indictment was unsealed on 4th June 2003, during Taylor's first overseas trip since his indictment.

July 2003 President Charles Taylor was accused of war crimes over his support for rebel forces in Sierra Leone, this overshadowed  ceasefire talks in Ghana. Fighting around Monrovia intensified, and ECOWAS once again deployed peacekeepers to defend the city of Monrovia.

11th August 2003 Charles Taylor resigned and handed over power to his deputy, Moses Zeh Blah, opening the way for a peace agreement between the rebels and the government. Taylor was exiled in Nigeria, opening the way for an agreement for US peace keeping troops to be deployed in the country.

US troops arrived in Monrovia.  However, President George Bush had insisted that Taylor had to leave the country before US personnel arrived.

October 2003 US forces pulled out of Liberia, being replaced by 3,500 United Nations (UN Mission in Liberia -UNMIL) troops that were deployed in and around the capital Monrovia.

14th October 2003 An interim National Transitional Government was formed, with the full backing of all rebel leaders, with Charles Gyude Bryant (Liberia Action Party) as Chairman.

2004 Riots in the Capitol Monrovia leave 14 dead.

2004 UNMIL announces it has successfully demobilized over 103,000 ex-combatants.

23rd November 2005 Africa's first female democratically elected head of state Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, was elected president.

16th January 2005 Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of the Unity Party is inaugurated as president of the country.

21st February 2005 Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up an investigation of human rights abuses carried out between 1979 and 2003. Its three main goals were to foster reconciliation and forgiveness, to provide assistance and aid to those who experienced human rights abuses, and to engender a national framework for truth and justice.

April 2006 Charles Taylor was arrested in Nigeria and handed over to the United Nations in Sierra Leone.

June 2006 An International Criminal Court agreed to host Taylor’s trial due to fears of instability if the trial were to be held in Sierra Leone. In order to allow training of the security services, the UN eases a ban on weapons sales.

2006 Charles Taylor appeared before a United Nations court in Sierra Leone charged with crimes against humanity. He pleaded 'not guilty' to all the charges.

April 2007 The United Nations lifted its embargo on Liberian diamonds.

June 2007 Charles Taylor’s trial began in the Hague Netherlands, although it was subsequently postponed for a year.

March 2008 Liberia conducted its first census since 1984.

June 2008 Charles Taylor’s trial was re-opened.

December 2008 More than 100 inmates escape from Liberia's only maximum security prison in the capital, Monrovia.

January 2009 President Johnson-Sirleaf declared a state of emergency in response to a plague of crop-destroying army worms affecting about 400,000 residents in 80 villages.

February 2009 President Johnson-Sirleaf admitted to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that she mistakenly backed ex-President Charles Taylor when he launched the 14-year civil war back in 1989.

May 2009 A Jury acquitted ex-President Gyude Bryant of embezzling about $1m while he was in office.

2009 The Hague war crimes tribunal rejected a request to acquit ex-president Charles Taylor on charges of crimes against humanity.

December 2009 The Truth and Reconciliation Committee produce their final report.



Article of interest

Article published in the UK Daily Mail 18th August 2010 by James Brabazon