Flag with one star and stripes: History of Liberia — RELIEF, INC.

History of Liberia — RELIEF, INC.

Liberia was founded by American slaves in 1847

Country Name: Republic of Liberia
Capital: Monrovia
Independence: July 26, 1847
Government Type: Republic (Legislative, Executive & Judicial Branch)

Legal System:
Dual system of statutory law based on Anglo-American common law for the modern sector, and customary law based on unwritten tribal practices, for the indigenous sector.

​The Liberian Flag
The Liberia’s national flag is called “LONE STAR”. The eleven horizontal stripes represent the eleven signers of the declaration of independence, and the constitution of the Republic of Liberia; the blue field symbolizes the continent of Africa; the five pointed white star depicts Liberia as the first “independent republic” on the continent of Africa; the red color designates “valor”, the white, “purity”; and the blue, “fidelity”. Although these representations are uniquely Liberian, the flag itself is a replica of “Old Glory”, the national flag of the United States.

The American Colonization Society: The Founder of Current Day Liberia
The American Colonization Society, organized on Dec, 1816-Jan. 1817, at Washington, D.C., to transport free blacks from the United States, and settle them in Africa. The freeing of many slaves, principally by idealists, created a serious problem. No sound provisions were made for establishing the freed slaves in society, on an equal basis with white Americans, anywhere in the United States. Robert Finley, principal founder of the colonization society, found much support among prominent men, notably Henry Clay.

Money was raised, with some indirect help from the federal government, when (1819) Congress appropriated $100,000 to return African blacks that were illegally brought to the United States. In 1821, an agent, Eli Ayers, and Lt. R.F. Stockton of the U.S. Navy, purchased land in Africa, where, subsequently, Jehudi Ashmun, and Ralph R. Gurley laid the foundations of Liberia. More than 11,000 blacks were transported to Liberia before 1860.

From 1865, until its dissolution in 1912, the society was a sort of trustee for Liberia.

Beginning in 1989, Liberia was plagued by years of civil unrest. In 1987, Charles Taylor, and his National Patriotic Party (NPP), won the elections. The years of civil turmoil have been very disruptive to Liberia’s growth, and the country was faced with the challenging task of rebuilding societal, and economic structures ravaged by the war.

After a 14 ½ years of civil war, Liberia held the presidential election in October 2005. Harvard-educated, Mrs. Ellen Johnson –Sirleaf, was elected Liberia’s 23rd president in a runoff election with Mr. George Weah, an international soccer star. The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), which maintains a strong presence throughout the country with over 15,000 troops, completed a disarmament program for former combatants in late 2004, but the security situation is still volatile, and the process of rebuilding the social, and economic structure remains sluggish.

​LIBERIAN GEOGRAPHY AREA:

Total: 111,370 sq km
Land: 96,320 sq km
Water: 15,050 sq km
LAND BOUNDRIES:

Total: 1,586 km
Border countries:

  • Guinea 563 km
  • Cote d’lvoire 716 km
  • Sierra Leone 306 km

COASTLINE: 579 km

CLIMATE:
Tropical; hot, humid; dry season with hot days, and cool to cold nights; wet, cloudy rainy season with frequent heavy showers.

Rainy Season: May to October
Dry Season: November to April

TERRAIN
Mostly flat, with rolling coastal plains, rising to rolling plateaus, and low mountains in the northeast.

Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Highest point: Mount Wuteve 1,380 m

NATURAL RESOURCES
Iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, hydropower, rubber, coffee, cocoa, and cotton.

GEOGRAPHY-NOTE
Facing the Atlantic Ocean, the coastline is characterized by lagoons, mangrove swamps, and river-deposited sandbars; the inland grassy plateau supports limited agriculture.

POPULATION: 3,482,211 (July 2005 est.)

AGE STRUCTURE (2005 est.)
1-14 years: 43.6% (male 765,662/female 751,134)
15-64 years: 52.8% (male 896,206/female 940,985)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 64,547/female 63,677)

LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH
Total pop: 38.89 years
Male: 37.03 yrs
Female: 40.81 yrs (2005 est.)

ETHNIC GROUPS
Indigenous African tribes 95% (including Kpella, Bassa, Gio, Kru, Grebo, Mano, Krahn, Gola, Gbandi, Loma, Kissi, Vai, Dei, Bella, Mandingo, and Mende). Americo-Liberians 2.5% (descendants of immigrants from the US who had been slaves). Congo People 2.5% (Congo people from the Congo River Basin were captured for the slave trade, sent to Liberia when slavery was abolished, and were never exposed to Non-African cultures. )

RELIGIONS
Indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%

LANGUAGES
English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written, and are used in correspondence.

NATIONAL SYMBOLS

The Seal of Liberia (Coat of Arms):

The national seal consists of a palm tree representing the natural resources of Liberia, coat-of-arms_liberia a plow and spade which illustrate the means of developing those resources, a dove with a scroll, which represents communication, and living in peaceful coexistence with other nations, the emerging sun, which represents the birth of Liberia, a sailing ship representing arriving settlers, and the motto “The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here” which represents the wishes, dreams, and hopes of arriving settlers.

Pepper bird: The Liberian national bird is the Pepper bird. It is called the Pepper bird because of its primary diet of wild peppers.

STAPLE FOODS
Rice: Sold in 100 lbs bags or by the cup.  Varieties include ‘Pusawah Rice’, and ‘White Rice’ served with most dishes.

Palm Butter: Spicy sauce made from palm cream. A favorite of Liberians!  Some may include “snail” and “Kiss meat” in their preparation.

Cassava Leaf: Leafy sauce made with palm oil.

Palava Sauce: Slimy, but delicious sauce made also with palm oil. It is usually embellished with smoked fish, dried meat, chicken, pig feet.

Jollof Rice: Standard holiday dish made by combining tomato paste, rice, and a variety of meats.

Pepper Soup & Fufu: Tasty, and usually very hot, and very spicy soup made with a variety of meats and pepper.

It is served mostly to guests at the end of house parties. Fufu, may or may not be included. Fufu is a thick, gel-like dish made from ground cassava (yucca), or potatoes.

Potato Greens: Very tasty and leafy dish. It is made with vegetable, or palm oil.

Fish Gravy: Can’t go wrong with this simple dish.
It is served with rice, fried or boiled fish, and a delicious gravy sauce.

Okra Sauce: Sauce made from okra served with rice.

Torborgee: Another favorite, but not for the faint hearted. Its taste is an acquired one. It is bitter, yet very tasty. It is made with variety of meats, and palm oil.

Cabbage: Sauce made from palm cabbages. Cabbage are cut into small pieces, and cooked with diced turkey or pork.  It’s very healthy and delicious.

Collard Greens: Another healthy dish. It has a difficult, and delicate preparation (thick stems of greens are slowly diced by hand), but the wait is well worth it.

Kala: Donut-hole like snack made from fried dough.

Rice Bread: Served as a baked dessert, or snack. Made with banana, corn, and flour.

Plantain: A standard Liberian snack that is boiled, coated with palm oil, sliced, and fried.

NATIONAL HOLIDAYS
New Year’s Day

January 1

National Redemption Day
April 15th

Constitution
2nd Wednesday in March

Independence Day
July 26th (1847)

Decoration Day
2nd Wednesday in March

Flag Day
August 24th

J.J. Roberts Birthday
1st President of Liberia – March 15th

Thanksgiving Day
1st Thursday in November

Fast & Prayer Day
2nd Friday in April

W.V.S. Tbuman Birthday
November 29th

National Unification Day
April 14th

Christmas Day
December 25th

Flag of Liberia

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Flag of Liberia

Liberian flags are a clear reflection of the nation’s heritage. They bear a strong resemblance to the flag of the United States of America, which is where the majority of Liberia’s original colonists were born. The similarity was a deliberate choice on the part of Liberia’s government to represent the country’s history and the high value that the new nation placed on liberty.

Adopted on August 27 of 1847, Liberia’s flag designs copies the layout of the USA flag. This was chosen because since 1822 the freed slaves from the US have been settling in Liberia. The 11 stripes symbolize the 11 signatories of the Liberian Declaration of Independence and the white star represents the shining light of the new republic in the dark continent, represented by the blue field.

  • Capital of Liberia: Monrovia
  • Area of Liberia: 96,320 sq. km
  • Languages used in Liberia: English (official), some 20 ethnic group languages
  • Religions in Liberia: Indigenous beliefs, Christian, Muslim

Colors and Symbolism of Liberian Flags

Liberian flags display eleven alternating stripes of red and white with a blue square and a white star in the canton. The flag has eleven stripes in order to represent each of the individuals who signed the Liberian declaration of independence, and the colors of those stripes represent both the nation’s connection to the United States and the values of courage and morality. The flag’s blue square is intended to represent the continent of Africa, while the white star in that square represents the introduction of an independent republic in the western style to Africa. 

History of Liberian Flags

Although each of the fifteen counties of Liberia has its own flag, there has only ever been a single flag that represents the nation as a whole. It was formally adopted in 1847, and the design was carefully chosen to respect the nation’s history and its hopes for the future.

Liberia was founded as a colony for freed slaves who wanted to leave the Americas, especially the United States. The nation was founded as a result of the American Colonization Society’s efforts to build a new home for freed slaves. The society had have the support of many individual politicians and rich citizens in the United States, and it eventually received formal support from the American government. Its supporters ranged from abolitionists to some of the most prominent slave owners in the country, and they agreed on very little other than their desire to build colony for freed slaves.

The society founded Liberia in 1821, and it worked to gradually build the colony up to the point where it could survive as an independent nation. It reached that point in 1847, and the society formally yielded all control to the people of Liberia at that time. Liberia adopted its flag when it gained its full independence, and it has used it ever since without any changes.

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Stars and Stripes

On June 14, the United States celebrates Flag Day, established to commemorate the event that took place in 1777: on that day, Congress approved the Stars and Stripes flag as the state flag. The holiday, although not classified as a state holiday, has been officially celebrated since the second half of the 19th century. Today the banner of the United States is known all over the world.

Today, the American national flag evokes complex feelings in the world and at home. This year’s Flag Day is also significant in that the Senate is due to vote soon on a bill to amend the Constitution to punish mockery of the flag. The vast majority of states have already adopted similar resolutions. nine0003

… The commemorative founding resolution of Congress is as simple as: «In accordance with the decision, the flag of the United States will bear thirteen alternating red and white stripes and 13 white stars on a blue field, symbolizing the new constellation.»

On the first American flag, horizontal stripes and stars lined up in a circle denoted the number of states that fought for independence from the British crown, recalls Whitney Smith, director of the Center for Flag Studies and author of more than twenty books on flags: “The ideals of the Founding Fathers are reflected in the design. The circle of stars has neither beginning nor end. It is conceived as a symbol of equality: all stars are the same in size and value. nine0003

The official national flag is not only an abstract symbol of the country, but also a concrete sign, says the director of the North American Institute of Heraldry and Flag History, David Phillips: “A good flag should be clearly visible at sea, even when it is blowing in the wind. The US flag is easy to recognize from a distance, even if it is wrapped around a flagpole: the stripes remain clearly visible. The combination of red, white and blue is a bright, expressive, contrasting color scheme. If red were combined with, say, orange, the effect would be much less.” nine0003

David Phillips points to instances where the American flag has been imitated, such as Liberia, which was founded as an American colony. The Malaysian flag has 14 stripes with a blue quarter. The Uruguayan flag resembles the US flag, only with different shades. The same goes for the flag of Togo. “However,” concludes Phillips, “people have no difficulty distinguishing the flag of the United States.”

Displaying the flag reflects the natural desire of any group of people to emphasize their difference from others. Whitney Smith compares flags to a feathered headdress that only a tribal leader is allowed to wear, or to uniforms that indicate social distinction or military rank: “The social unity of a group is often reflected in a symbolically weighty sign. We celebrate this in a variety of communities — even in groups of schoolchildren who stick together, and in general, whenever people want to emphasize their difference from others. That’s what the flag is for.» nine0003

There is no international law requiring every country to have a flag, but every UN member does. In fact, the national flag in the modern sense is a relatively new phenomenon. Among scientists, it is believed that the oldest state flag — a white cross on a red background — belongs to Denmark and dates back to 1219.

However, the Americans, creating their flag, decided in a new way the question of who and what it should stand for, says Whitney Smith: “We abandoned the king and the aristocracy, we did not even have a common language, not any one race, no religion. This is very unusual, as states tend to be built around one of these unifying features. In the US, it is emphasized that we are united by «common principles», and this is very important. Americans feel that the flag belongs to them — not to the government, but to themselves. The flag of the country can be seen everywhere. Schoolchildren take an oath of allegiance to the flag. There are special rituals and songs and special days associated with the flag. And all this arose after the American flag was created. nine0003

Today, the meaning of the US flag is as diverse as the Americans themselves. It symbolizes unity and difference at the same time. Looking at it, says David Phillips, people remember every land where it has ever flown, from the Civil War to World War II. It also means a lot to those who came to live in America from other countries of the world. 07.1994] // Yu.M. Kurasov

In the 17th — early 18th centuries, the British colonies that existed on the territory of the modern USA used the then English trade flag — red with a red cross in a white roof. From 1707, the British national flag began to serve as the roof. Meanwhile, in the colony of Massachusetts in 1634-1686, a simple red flag with a white roof was used. Then, a red flag created on its basis with a white roof, in which a red cross and a green pine were placed, spread throughout New England. Thus, flags of red and white colors were widely used already in the colonial period.
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As the national liberation movement grew in the country, secret patriotic societies emerged with their own emblems and flags. One of the most influential among them was the Sons of Liberty, founded in 1765, which used a flag of 13 red and white stripes — according to the number of then North American colonies. Apparently, it was this flag that had a great influence on the creation in 1775 of the first official flag of the rebellious colonies. The solid red panel of the old North American flag of 1707 was replaced with seven red and six white horizontal stripes, and the British roof remained a symbol of the still-lasting ties to the English crown.
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Further development of the liberation struggle led to a complete break with England and the proclamation in 1776 of the independence of the United States of America. In the course of the liberation struggle, a variety of rebel flags arose. Some of them were completely original — green with a red cross in a white roof, white with a sequoia and the motto «Call to Heaven», white with a black beaver, white with a blue anchor and the inscription «Hope», blue with a white crescent moon. Others developed from earlier known flags — red with a pine tree with a white roof, red and white striped with a rattlesnake and the inscription «Don’t step on me», the flag of 1707 with the inscription «Liberty and Union», a flag of 13 red, blue and white stripes, etc. However, the flag of 1775, which had already gained popularity, was proclaimed the state flag in 1777, on which the British roof was replaced by a blue roof with 13 white five-pointed stars.
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In the early years, the stars were arranged differently: in the form of an arc, a circle, a star, in several rows in a checkerboard pattern, sometimes they had 7 ends, the roof had different widths and lengths, sometimes there were 7 white and 6 red stripes. However, the number of stripes and stars — 13 each — remained unchanged, symbolizing the original states: Virginia, Delaware, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, North Carolina and South Caroline. At that time, it was believed that the stars on a blue background also symbolize the «protection of heaven», and the white stripes between the red ones (associated with England) denote separation and liberation from Great Britain.
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In 1795, the number of stripes and stars on the flag reached 15 due to the formation of new states — Kentucky and Vermont. However, in 1818 it was decided to return to the original 13 stripes and it was established that henceforth each new state would be indicated only by an additional star in the roof. On the flag adopted this year, the number of stars increased by another 5 (in honor of the states of Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee) and reached 20. The following year, the 21st star appeared (Illinois), and in 1820 — 2 more stars (Alabama and Maine). Two years later, the 24th star appeared (Missouri), and in 1836 the 25th (Arkansas). The following year, another star appeared — in honor of the state of Michigan. The 27th star, symbolizing the state of Florida, was placed on the flag in 1846, and then for 3 years another star was added annually in honor of Texas, Iowa and Wisconsin. The 31st star appeared on the flag in 1851 (California), the 32nd seven years later (Minnesota), the 33rd (Oregon) — in 1859year, 34th (Kansas) — in 1861,
35th (West Virginia) — in 1863, 36th star (Nevada) added two years later, 37th (Nebraska) — two more years later. In 1877, the 38th star appeared, symbolizing the state of Colorado, and in 1890, 5 stars were added at once, marking the appearance of the states of Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington. The following year, the 44th star appeared (Wyoming), and 5 years later, another one (Utah), the 46th star (Oklahoma) was placed on the flag at 1908, and four years later, 2 more stars were added (Arizona and New Mexico). In 1959, the 49th star (Alaska) appeared, and in 1960, after the addition of the 50th star in honor of the state of Hawaii, the flag acquired a modern look.

Thus, the stars symbolize all modern states, and the stripes — only the original ones. The equal sizes of the stars mean the equality of rights and obligations of the states, and their location together on the roof means the unity of all parts of the country. It is possible that in the future the number of stars on the American flag may increase even more, as in recent years a proposal to grant statehood to the federal capital District of Columbia has been discussed and a referendum is expected on the possibility of obtaining such status for the US Caribbean island possession of Puerto Rico.
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The proportions of the flag were officially established in 1912 and the shades of the colors in 1934. The symbolism of the American flag has not been officially approved, but it is generally accepted that the red color symbolizes valor and diligence, white — freedom, purity and honesty, blue — justice, loyalty, perseverance and truth, and the stars — sovereignty.

The coat of arms of the United States was adopted in 1782 and modified several times, but only slightly, most recently in 1884. Its main element is the bald eagle living in the USA (Americans call it the «bald eagle») — a symbol of sovereignty and power. The shield on the eagle’s chest resembles the colors and design of the flag and repeats its symbolism, but on the coat of arms there are 7 white stripes, and 6 red stripes, the upper part of the shield is light blue and without stars. This strip also symbolizes the supreme legislative power of the US Congress. The ribbon in the eagle’s beak with the Latin motto «Out of many — one» recalls the emergence of the state through the union of the states. The motto is taken from the treatise of the ancient Roman politician Cicero «On Duties».
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The 13 stars depicted in the upper part of the coat of arms on a light blue background, located in the form of a six-pointed star and surrounded by a golden halo and clouds, illustrated the idea of ​​the creators of the coat of arms that the new state, which arose from 13 states, would take a worthy and glorious place among the states world like a constellation in the sky. In the claws of the bird, the symbol of peace is an olive branch and war is a bunch of arrows (the number of which — 13 — is also equal to the number of the original states). These emblems reflect the idea that issues of war and peace should be decided by the US Congress.
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Being placed in a circle, the coat of arms is also the state seal. Few people know that printing has a reverse side. It depicts a trapezoidal pyramid standing on a grassy plain with the date «1776» written in Roman numerals. The pyramid is crowned with a triangle with an eye, surrounded by radiance.

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