As Liberia Celebrates 172nd Independence Day: We Look Back At The Country’s Brief History

Joseph Jenkins Roberts (March 15, 1809 – February 24, 1876) was a merchant and politician, the first (1848–1856) and seventh (1872–1876) President of Liberia, the first man of African descent to govern the country.

On this day, July 26, 1847 a young African American from Virginia, Joseph Jenkins Roberts declared the colony of Liberia in West Africa an independent republic, the following year (1848) he became the first elected president of this new country.

Prior to that, the American Colonization having surrendered all control of the colony in January 1846, fully encouraged the independence of Liberia. The Commonwealth of Liberia declared its independence from the ACS on July 26, 1847, as the Republic of Liberia, creating Africa’s first independent republic.

The American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed in 1817 to send free African-Americans to Africa as an alternative to emancipation in the United States. In 1822, the society established on the west coast of Africa a colony that in 1847 became the independent nation of Liberia.

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