Liberia

Freed American slaves began settling on the West African coast in 1820. In 1847 Liberia was declared an independent republic—Africa's first—under a constitution modeled on that of the U.S. In 1989 civil war erupted, ending seven years later with the Abuja Peace Accords. In 1999 the government of Charles Taylor was accused of supporting rebels in Sierra Leone, and it fought a border war with Guinea in 2000. Taylor was forced into exile in 2003, and the new government—under the leadership of Africa's first elected female president in 2005, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—works to rebuild the nation.