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Food History

Liberia&

s national anthem

Liberia was spawned by an altruistic dream to solve a simmering conflict in the United States. It was only partially successful but it reflects credit and honor on those who dared to dream. Among other things, it proved that black slaves were capable of self government.

By 1816 there were thousands of freed slaves in the United States. In the north, workers resented these free blacks because they were competing for jobs. In the south, slave masters feared they would become the nucleus of a slave rebellion. A Presbyterian minister, Robert Finley, founded the American Colonization Society. The goal was to establish a homeland in Africa for these disenfranchised freemen. Many leading officials lent their support, including President James Monroe, who once served as president of the ACS.

The first shipload of freed slaves returned to Africa in 1820. The Society had purchased a tract of land from local tribal chieftans for 500 bales of tobacco, — barrels of rum, 5 casks of gunpowder, 5 umbrellas, 10 iron pots, and 10 pairs of shoes. There were 86 immigrants on board, the forerunners of more than 13,000 who would be resettled by the American Colonization Society.

The Society managed their affairs for 27 years. By then the colonists were capable of governing themselves. With ACS approval, they proclaimed their independence on July 26, 1847, becoming Africa&

s first republic. They chose the name Liberia, meaning &

Land Of the Free.&

The capital, Monrovia, was named in honor of President Monroe.

The Liberians used our government as their model with a president, senate, and house of representatives. The judicial system is different. There are 42,900 square miles in their homeland, an area slightly larger than Tennessee. Their national boundaries enclosed many different tribal groups and languages. Therefore, two legal systems were created: one for national issues, while tribal laws would apply at the local level. English was designated as the official language for the Republic of Liberia, and American born Joseph J. Roberts elected the first president.

The national anthem was written by Daniel Bashiel Warner, who later became their third president. Olmstead Luca wrote the music.

&

All hail, Liberia, All hail,

This glorious land of liberty,

Shall long be ours, though new her name,

Green be her fame, and mighty be her powers &

Liberia is a poor country, but her government found a unique way to generate revenue. They set their licensing fees for ships very low. Many foreign shiplines register their vessels in Liberia for the savings, and these ships fly the red and white stripped Liberian flag, with a star in a blue field in the upper left corner.

After 150 years of relative peace, tribal rivalries erupted in 1980. Civil war raged, intermittently, until 2003. In October of that year, United Nations peacekeeprs arrived to establish order. They have maintained a fragile peace since that time.

Peanuts are a Liberian crop. The Gold Coast Stew is a regional dish from that part of Africa.

Gold Coast Stew

2 bell peppers, sliced into rings

— large onion sliced into rings

2 tablespoons shortening

— 6-oz can tomato paste

— cup peanut butter

4 cups chicken broth

— teaspoon each salt, sugar,nutmeg and chili powder

4 cups cut up cooked chicken

In large skillet cook onions and peppers in shortening until onion is limp. Blend peanut butter and tomato paste, add to skillet. Stir in broth and seasoning, stir well then add chicken. Cook over low heat 7 to 10 minutes. Serve warm with fluffy white rice.