Why is Liberia poor if it was never colonized?


Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
San Antonio, Tx
I cite the African Americans because even after having lived in the continent for at least 200 years, most of them still hold a distinct identity from the rest.
African Americans probably predate most American immigrant families on this continent by more than a couple of hundred years. I think of the members of this group as being among the fist arrivals to this continent. The majority culture in America has been very deeply influenced at many levels by this population., but on a much more basic level, I would suggest that there are few, if any, members of this population that are “pure African” in origin because there has been considerable mixing of the races during the last 400 years or so.


Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
San Antonio, Tx
Oh dear....the Thought Police will come calling any moment if you express unapproved, non PC, non apologist opinions like that ...:think:

No matter how logical.
A significant portion of Liberia’s population consists of descendants of former American slaves - significant but not a majority. What I read (a long time ago) is that the “American” LIberians lorded it over the local natives until the natives became so fed up with this situation that they eventually overthrew the power of these former slaves, who, by the way, I am told affected the plantation dress of their former owners.

So, yes, there are subtleties even in the history of Liberia that need to be understood. Of the original settlers brought over starting in the 1820s, I think around 2/3rds perished, yet these immigrants were apparently able to rule over the locals for a long time.
Last edited:
Oct 2011
African countries were already less advanced than european ones before the colonization took place, I don't know how anyone can say that africa is backwards due to colonization
Well, as you point out, colonization was a consequence of lack of advancement, not the cause. As for reason why, I can think of two explanations: geography and climate. Consider the maps:

Early civilizations were inevitably either hydraulic or maritime civilizations: that is to say, they arose in fertile river valleys, or at coastlines. And what is it that Africa lacks? That is correct, both: it has few rivers (Nile river being the obvious exception), and it has very linear coastlines. This is a massive disadvantage because early sailing relied on accessibility of natural harbours to spend the night in. Egypt was an important civilization, and it happened to have both a nice big honkin river, and a coastline. And while it was disadvantaged at the latter, despite nice harbour at Alexandria, Nile river itself was a major shipping route, and being a river, natural harbours were kinda unnecessary there. And Alexandria itself is close enough to eastern coastlines that Egyptian ships could simply sail east to get to west, by going up Levant and to Greece.

Second geographical factor are resources. Technological civilization relies on access to metals: not having metals, or not having advanced metalurgy, is a huge disadvantage. Central- and South- -American civilizations did as well as they could without it, but let's face it, without metalwork they would have remained forever stuck at the level of development they were at when they got conquered.

Third factor is climate. Going back to maps, you can see how all these civilizations are in certain climate bands:

Early civilizations are all in either Mediterranean or Arid climate areas. This has several consequences I can think of: it impacts the type and availabilty of foodstuffs required to feed, and finance, the technological civilization; and it also impacts culture and mentality. As somebody had mentioned, people from hot climates do appear to be more aggressive. Also, you cannot really do much if you have to have a daily siesta. Put all these together, and it becomes unlikely that anyone outside these bands will build an advanced civilization as early as people from less hot climates.

Some people have noted in the thread that there are exceptions. While true, these are questionable since many seem to have developed thanks to importation of culture. And those few that I vaguely recall having some sort of civilization beforehand were either in proximity to already existing expansive civilizations (e.g. Ethiopia to Egypt), or else somehow fall into the explanation I wrote above. Subsaharan Africa was kinda f***ed on that count, since Sahara desert meant that it was quite thoroughly isloated from the only civilizations that might have given it a kick necessary for future development, until those decided to come and conquer it anyway. Those civilizations that did develop in Subsaharan Africa, again, fall into explanation above (proximity to major waterway). And while, as @Son Of RA noted, there were some advanced civilizations there, most of these, from what I have seen, came comparatively late. It is not so much that Subsaharan Africa couldn't or didn't develop sophisticated civilizations, it is just that these were always far less developed than their Mediterranean contemporaries. Like racing a horse against a donkey: both will get to the finish line, it is just that one will get there a lot sooner.