Americo-Liberiansare Liberians of African American descent. They trace their ancestry tofreeborn and formerly enslaved African Americans who immigrated to Liberiain the 19th century.
In 1822, theAmerican Colonization Society (ACS) established the Liberian colony on the WestAfrican coast to send freeborn African Americans and manumitted slaves back tothe African continent. Numerous settlements were established along the coast asthousands of immigrants (about 12,000 in total) made the journey across the Atlantic throughout the 19th century.
As the ACSeventually lost interest in internal Liberian affairs, the Americo-Liberiansettlers took over the colony from the Society and declared themselvesindependent from the UnitedStates on July 26, 1847. TheAmerico-Liberians consolidated power by creating a one-party state and ruledthrough the Americo-Liberian dominated True Whig Party for 133 years. President William V.S. Tubman, who ruled the country between 1944 and 1971, isparticularly noted for his promotion of foreign investment and for attemptingto bridge the economic, social, and political gaps between the descendents ofthe original settlers and the inhabitants of the interior.
TheAmerico-Liberian settlers were, from the beginning, essentially American ratherthan African in outlook and orientation. They retained preferences for westernmodes of dress, Southern plantation-style homes, American food, Christianity,the English language, and monogamous kinship practices. The settlers held landindividually in contrast to the communal ownership of the African populationand their political institutions were modeled on those of the United States with an elected president, a legislaturemade up of a Senate and a House of Representatives, and a supreme court. Theyseldom intermarried with indigenous Africans and tried to influence theinterior inhabitants primarily through evangelization and trade.
In 1980, apolitical coup resulting in the assassination of Americo-Liberian presidentWilliam Tolbert ended the long-lasting