Today in Black History - July 26, 1947
Happy Independence Day to the Republic of Liberia. The Republic of Liberia became an independent nation, following its founding in 1822 by the American Colonization Society as a place to send free African Americans from the U.S., by authority of a charter granted by the U.S. Congress in 1816.
In 1821, The American Colonization Society (ACS) dispatched a representative, Dr. Eli Ayres, to purchase land farther north up the coast from Sierra Leone. With the aid of a U.S. naval officer, Lieutenant Robert F. Stockton, Ayres cruised the coastal waters west of Grand Bassa seeking out appropriate lands for the colony. Stockton took charge of the negotiations with leaders of the Dey and Bassa peoples who lived in the area of Cape Mesurado. At first, the local leaders were reluctant to surrender their peoples’ land to the strangers, but were forcefully persuaded — some accounts say at gun-point — to part with a “36 mile long and 3 mile wide” strip of coastal land for trade goods, supplies, weapons, and rum worth approximately $300. See “The fourth annual report of the American Society for Colonizing the Free People of Color of the United States: with an appendix.”
February 4, 1822, free American Blacks settled Liberia, West Africa. The first group of colonists landed in Liberia and founded Monrovia, the colony’s capital city, named in honor of President James Monroe.
On July 26, 1947, The Liberian Declaration of Independence was adopted and signed. In it, Liberians charged their mother country, the United States, with injustices that made it necessary for them to leave and make new lives for themselves in Africa. They called upon the international community to recognize the independence and sovereignty of Liberia. Britain was one of the first nations to recognize the new country. The United States did not recognize Liberia until the American Civil War.