Named after the fifth U.S. president James Monroe (1758–1831; president 1817–25), Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, welcomed the first freed slaves to arrive from the United States in the 1820s. Located on the country's Atlantic coast at the mouth of the Mesurado River, it is the seat of the national government and the country's principal deepwater port. This once bustling city was a major battleground in the civil war that raged in Liberia from 1990 to 1997. Many of Monrovia's buildings were destroyed, and its infrastructure sustained heavy damage. In the late 1990s, life began returning to normal as the city started to rebuild, and its residents were hopeful that a United Nations-sponsored peace agreement and free elections would bring permanent peace to their home.