Liberia profile

A chronology of key events:

1847 - Constitution modelled on that of the US is drawn up.

1847 July - Liberia becomes independent.

View of the city of centre of Monrovia

Monrovia: Capital is striving to recover after 14-year conflict

  • Founded 1822 as haven for freed slaves from Americas
  • Named after US President James Monroe
  • Population: 1,011,000 (2008)

1917 - Liberia declares war on Germany, giving the Allies a base in West Africa.

1926 - Firestone Tyre and Rubber Company opens rubber plantation on land granted by government. Rubber production becomes backbone of economy.

1936 - Forced-labour practices abolished.

1943 - William Tubman elected president.

1944 - Government declares war on the Axis powers.

1951 May - Women and indigenous property owners vote in the presidential election for the first time.

1958 - Racial discrimination outlawed.

1971 - Tubman dies and is succeeded by William Tolbert Jr.

1974 - Government accepts aid from the Soviet Union for the first time.

Former Liberian President Samuel Doe

Samuel Doe: Leader of 1980 coup was killed in 1990

1978 - Liberia signs trade agreement with the European Economic Community.

1979 - More than 40 people are killed in riots following a proposed increase in the price of rice.

Years of instability

1980 - Master Sergeant Samuel Doe carries out military coup. President Tolbert and 13 of his aides are publicly executed. A People's Redemption Council headed by Doe suspends constitution and assumes full powers.

1984 - Doe's regime allows return of political parties following pressure from the United States and other creditors.

1985 - Doe wins presidential election.

1989 - National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) led by Charles Taylor begins an uprising against the government.

1990 - Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) sends peacekeeping force. Doe is executed by a splinter group of the NPFL.

Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor celebrates with his forces after a victory over government troops of President Samuel Doe in Monrovia in 1990

Warlord, president responsible for aiding ''some of the most heinous crimes in human history''

1997 - After several years of chaotic, stop-go fighting, Taylor wins a presidential election. International observers declare the elections free and fair.

Border fighting

1999 January - Ghana and Nigeria accuse Liberia of supporting Revolutionary United Front rebels in Sierra Leone. Britain and the US threaten to suspend aid to Liberia.

2000 July - Stability remains elusive. Government reports first attacks by rebels who identify themselves as Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD).

2001 May - UN Security Council reimposes arms embargo to punish Taylor for trading weapons for diamonds from rebels in Sierra Leone.

2002 January - More than 50,000 Liberians and Sierra Leonean refugees flee fighting. In February Taylor declares a state of emergency.

Rebel offensives

2003 March - Rebels advance to within 10km of Monrovia.

Militiaman loyal to government fires on rebel soldiers in Monrovia, 2003

Liberia endured two bouts of brutal civil war in 1989-1996 and 1999-2003

2003 June - Talks in Ghana aimed at ending rebellion overshadowed by indictment accusing President Taylor of war crimes over his alleged backing of rebels in Sierra Leone.

2003 July - Fighting intensifies; rebels battle for control of Monrovia. Several hundred people are killed. West African regional group Ecowas agrees to provide peacekeepers.

Taylor in exile

2003 August - Nigerian peacekeepers arrive. Charles Taylor leaves Liberia after handing power to his deputy Moses Blah. US troops arrive. Interim government and rebels sign peace accord. Gyude Bryant chosen to head interim administration.

Rebels hand in their weapons.

2003 September-October - US forces pull out. UN launches major peacekeeping mission, deploying thousands of troops.

2004 October - Riots in Monrovia leave 16 people dead; the UN says former combatants were behind the violence.

Johnson Sirleaf elected

2005 23 November - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf becomes the first woman to be elected as an African head of state.

Former child soldier harvesting rubber in Liberia

Rubber production is the backbone of the economy

2006 February - Truth and Reconciliation Commission is set up to investigate human rights abuses between 1979 and 2003.

2006 April - Former president Charles Taylor appears before a UN-backed court in Sierra Leone on charges of crimes against humanity. In June the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court agrees to host his trial.

2006 June - UN Security Council eases a ban on weapons sales so Liberia can arm newly trained security forces. An embargo on Liberian timber exports is lifted shortly afterwards.

2006 July - President Johnson Sirleaf switches on generator-powered street lights in the capital, which has been without electricity for 15 years.

2007 April - UN Security Council lifts its ban on Liberian diamond exports. The ban was imposed in 2001 to stem the flow of "blood diamonds", which helped to fund the civil war.

2007 May - UN urges Liberia to outlaw trial by ordeal.

Taylor on trial

2007 June - Start of Charles Taylor's war crimes trial in The Hague, where he stands accused of instigating atrocities in Sierra Leone.

2008 January - Supreme Court rules that the president can appoint local mayors because the government cannot afford to hold municipal elections. Municipal elections have not been held since 1985 because of financial constraints and successive civil wars.

2008 February - US President George W Bush ends a five-country tour of Africa with a visit to Liberia, one of America's staunchest allies on the continent.

2008 March - Liberia conducts its first census since 1984.

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

2009 July - Truth Commission submits report to parliament, recommends prosecuting 200 people and listing others who should be barred from public office, including President Johnson Sirleaf.

2009 September - UN Security Council votes to extend mandate of UN forces in Liberia (UNMIL) into 2010 to help with 2011 elections.

Religious tension

2010 February - Fighting erupts between Christians and Muslims in northern province of Lofa after the killing of a Christian student. Several churches and mosques are destroyed.

2010 June - IMF, World Bank devise plan to relieve Liberia of heavy debt burden.

2010 September - The 19-nation Paris Club of creditor countries pardon $1.2bn worth of debt owed by Liberia.

2010 November - President Johnson Sirleaf dismisses cabinet, reportedly to start with a ''clean slate''.

2011 April - War crimes trial of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor ends, with a judgment expected to be handed down later in the year.

Nobel laureates

Nobel laureates President Johnson Sirleaf (R), peace activist Leymah Gbowee (C) and Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman (L)

The Liberian president, a Liberian peace activist and a Yemeni rights campaigner were joint winners

2011 October - President Johnson Sirleaf awarded Nobel Peace Prize.

2011 October-November - Presidential elections. President Johnson Sirleaf wins re-election. Her main rival boycotts the second round.

2012 February - Energy companies report discovery of oil off the coasts of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Work continues to estimate their size.

2012 March - George Boley, the former leader of the rebel Liberial Peace Council, is deported to Liberia from the US over his role in the civil war in the 1990s.

2012 April - Ex-president Charles Taylor is found guilty of war crimes for aiding and directing rebels in Sierra Leone. He is sentenced to 50 years in jail, to be served in Britain.

Medics suit up to deal with Ebola virus Liberia was hit hard by the 2014 outbreak of the Ebola virus

2012 June - Liberia closes its border with Ivory Coast after seven UN peacekeepers are killed on the Ivorian side, by attackers allegedly based in Liberia.

2012 September - President suspends forestry chief and launches probe into recent timber deals amid concerns of widespread fraud.

2013 January - UN Refugee Agency completes a programme that helped more than 155 000 Liberians return home, hailing it as evidence of the return of peace after the civil war.

2013 June - Campaign group Global Witness says half the forest in Liberia is being logged illegally, in spite of government promises to halt such activity.

2014 July-October - Liberia announces emergency measures to combat spread of outbreak of Ebola virus.

World Health Organisation says the spread of Ebola in west Africa is an international public health emergency, and calls for a coordinated response. US President Obama announces 3,000 US military personnel being sent to west Africa to build new health facilities and to train health workers.

World Bank warns Ebola could have catastrophic effect on economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

2015 February - After brief respite in January, Liberia, along with Sierra Leone and Guinea, reports rise in new cases of Ebola. Nonetheless, many schools reopen for the first time in six months.

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