Liberia turns 167


Liberian-MapThis Saturday is Liberia’s 167th birthday! Below is an excerpt from an article in the local Liberian paper the Daily Observer. You can read the entirety of the article at this link

“This week our beloved country turns 167 years old and what, besides our survival, do we have to show for it? Here again we face the age-old question, “What does the age of Methuselah have to do with the Wisdom of Solomon?” The answer is nothing.

And yet, we must thank God for our survival through all these decades of challenge. We started from scratch in 1847, just at the time we almost lost it, as the British were challenging our sovereignty. They were refusing to pay custom duties at our seaports. That is when Joseph Jenkins Roberts, with vision and passion, stepped up to the challenge and in January 1847 convened the Constitutional Convention.
The result was the Declaration of Independence, proclaimed on July 26, 1847, followed by the first elections, when Roberts defeated the Convention, Chairman S. Benedict, to become Liberia’s first President.

The British, who had earlier challenged our sovereignty, were the first, in 1848, to recognize our independence. The British Monarch, Queen Victoria, invited President Roberts to Buckingham Palace and sent him back home with two gunboats.

But the young nation was yet to face some very serious challenges, not only the deadly tropical diseases, malaria included, that were decimating the small population; but also many boundary disputes, prompted by gunboat-backed encroachments on Liberian territory by the British on the Grand Cape Mount side (known historically as the Gallinas Country), and the French, on our Nimba-Grand Gedeh-Maryland sides. That is how we lost so much of our territory while our so-called Mother Country, the United States, out of whose belly Liberia was born, looked the other way, lifting not a finger to protect the beleaguered country.

And yet, here we are today–having survived 167 tough, demanding years, during which we experienced the most serious national test, the 14-year civil war. By the grace of God, we overcame it, and now face the challenge of maintaining and sustaining the peace and the democratic governance that have emerged. This sacred charge we must do EVERYTHING to keep.” (this article was excerpted from the Daily Observers editorial section. To read the rest of the article visit this link )

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