Monrovia, Liberia, Africa

Founded: 1822
Location: Western coast of Liberia
Motto: "The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here" (national motto)
Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Ethnic Composition: 16 major ethnic groups, the most numerous being the Bassa
Elevation: 23 m (75 ft)
Latitude and Longitude: 6°20′N, 10°46′W
Climate: Warm and humid year round; rainy season between May and October
Annual Mean Temperature: 27°C (80°F); January 26°C (79°F); July 24°C (76°F)
Average Annual Precipitation (total rainfall): 5,200 mm (205 in)
Government: Administered directly by the federal government
Weights and Measures: Metric system
Monetary Units: Liberian dollar
Telephone Area Codes: 231 (both the country and city code)
Postal Codes: 10 (Downtown Monrovia)

2. Getting There

Monrovia is located at the northern portion of the Liberian coast, on the promontory of Cape Mesurado at the mouth of the Mesurado River. The city extends across a series of small islands and peninsulas divided by lagoons.


Most thoroughfares in Liberia are dirt roads although the major northeast road out of Monrovia is paved with tar, as are the roads connecting Monrovia with Bo, Tubmanburg, and Buchanan. Monrovia's infrastructure suffered heavy damage in the civil war of the 1990s, and rebuilding began late in the decade. In 1998 the Liberia Electricity Corporation turned on the first traffic light to function in the city since 1990.

Bus and Railroad Service

Crowded inter-city buses (actually minivans) travel most major routes in Liberia. There is direct bus service several times weekly to Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. Another major mode of intercity travel is bush taxi. There is daily bush taxi service between Monrovia and Buchanan, Gbarnga, Ganta, Sanniquellie, and destinations in Sierra Leone. Boats are often used to travel between Liberian coastal cities. Liberia's railroads are all owned by the country's mining companies, and their 480 kilometers (300 miles) of track are used primarily to transport iron ore to Monrovia and Buchanan. Limited passenger service from the mines to Buchanan was introduced in 1964.


The Spriggs-Payne Airfield, southeast of the city, is used for all domestic air travel (there are no regularly scheduled flights). Liberia's sole international airport is located at Roberts International Airport (popularly known as Robertsfield), 58 kilometers (36 miles) from Monrovia. There are direct flights between Monrovia and Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire) and Conakry (Guinea), and flights from Europe and the United States must connect through these points as well.


The Free Port of Monrovia, opened in 1948, is Liberia's major deepwater port. Improvements in the early 1960s increased the size of the ships it can accommodate. Together, the ports of Monrovia and Buchanan handle nearly all the country's shipping. A large number of foreign-owned ships are registered in Liberia, giving it one of the world's largest merchant fleets with more than 1,600 vessels.

Monrovia Population Profile

Population: 1,413,000
Area: 13 sq km (5 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 16 major ethnic groups, the most numerous being the Bassa
World population rank1: 249
Percentage of national population2: 43.4%
Average yearly growth rate: 7.7%


  1. The Monrovia metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of Liberia's total population living in the Monrovia metropolitan area.

3. Getting Around

Monrovia extends along the Atlantic coast, reaching north to Free Port and Bushrod Island and southeast to the suburb of Sinkor. Both Sinkor and the downtown area of the city itself are laid out in grid patterns.

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

The primary mode of public transport in Monrovia is sharing taxis. Fares are standardized according to a zone system.


Years of warfare have curtailed sightseeing in Monrovia, destroying many buildings and much of the city's infrastructure.

19. Tourism

Tourism to Liberia has been suppressed by close to a decade of civil war and political instability. Of the country's existing hotels, most are located in Monrovia, whose beaches are one of the country's only tourist attractions. Located on Liberia's Atlantic coast, popular beaches include Ellen's Beach, Kendeja Beach, Thinker's Village, and, farther out, Marshall Beach.

22. For Further Study


Friends of Liberia. [Online] Available (accessed February 3, 2000).

MIT. [Online] Available (accessed February 3, 2000).

University of Pennsylvania. [Online] Available (accessed February 3, 2000).

Government Offices

Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs
Broad St.
P.O. Box 10–9016
1000 Monrovia 10

Office of the President
Executive Mansion
P.O. Box 10–9001
Capitol Hill
1000 Monrovia 10
Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism
Capitol Hill
P.O. Box 10–9021
1000 Monrovia 10


Daily Observer
117 Broad St.
Crown Hill
P.O. Box 1858

Liberian Age
Carey St.
P.O. Box 9031

New Liberian
Capitol Hill
P.O. Box 9021


Belcher, Max, ed. A Land and Life Remembered: Americo-Liberian Folk Architecture. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1988.

Chea, Augustine S. Joy after Mourning: The Liberia Civil War. Decatur, GA: A.S. Chea, 1996.

Daniels, Anthony. Monrovia Mon Amour: A Visit to Liberia. London: John Murray, 1992.

Dolo, Emmanual. Democracy Versus Dictatorship: The Quest for Freedom and Justice in Africa's Oldest Republic—Liberia. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1996.

Harris, Katherine. African and American Values: Liberia and West Africa. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1985.

Huband, Mark. The Liberian Civil War. Portland, OR: F. Cass, 1998.

Kulah, Arthur F. Liberia Will Rise Again: Reflections on the Liberian Civil Crisis. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1999.

Liebenow, J. Gus. Liberia: The Quest for Democracy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.

Saha, Santosh C. Culture in Liberia: An Afrocentric View of the Cultural Interaction between the Indigenous Liberians and the Americo-Liberians. Lewiston, NY: E. Mellen Press, 1998.

Sawyer, Amos. The Emergence of Autocracy in Liberia: Tragedy and Challenge. San Francisco, CA: Institute for Contemporary Studies, 1992.

Shuster, Lynda. "The Final Days of Dr. Doe." Granta. Vol. 48. 1994.