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Liberia:
Geography

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Background
Definition
Settlement of freed slaves from the US in what is today Liberia began in 1822; by 1847, the Americo-Liberians were able to establish a republic. William TUBMAN, president from 1944-71, did much to promote foreign investment and to bridge the economic, social, and political gaps between the descendents of the original settlers and the inhabitants of the interior. In 1980, a military coup led by Samuel DOE ushered in a decade of authoritarian rule. In December 1989, Charles TAYLOR launched a rebellion against DOE's regime that led to a prolonged civil war in which DOE himself was killed. A period of relative peace in 1997 allowed for elections that brought TAYLOR to power, but major fighting resumed in 2000. An August 2003 peace agreement ended the war and prompted the resignation of former president Charles TAYLOR, who faces war crimes charges in The Hague related to his involvement in Sierra Leone's civil war. After two years of rule by a transitional government, democratic elections in late 2005 brought President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF to power. The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) maintains a strong presence throughout the country, but the security situation is still fragile and the process of rebuilding the social and economic structure of this war-torn country will take many years.
Location
Definition
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone
Geographic coordinates
Definition
6 30 N, 9 30 W
Map references
Definition
Africa
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 111,370 sq km
land: 96,320 sq km
water: 15,050 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly larger than Tennessee
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 1,585 km
border countries: Guinea 563 km, Cote d'Ivoire 716 km, Sierra Leone 306 km
Coastline
Definition
579 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical; hot, humid; dry winters with hot days and cool to cold nights; wet, cloudy summers with frequent heavy showers
Terrain
Definition
mostly flat to rolling coastal plains rising to rolling plateau and low mountains in northeast
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Wuteve 1,380 m
Natural resources
Definition
iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, hydropower
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 3.43%
permanent crops: 1.98%
other: 94.59% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
30 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
232 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 0.11 cu km/yr (27%/18%/55%)
per capita: 34 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
dust-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to March)
Environment - current issues
Definition
tropical rain forest deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; pollution of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note
Definition
facing the Atlantic Ocean, the coastline is characterized by lagoons, mangrove swamps, and river-deposited sandbars; the inland grassy plateau supports limited agriculture


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