Why Slaves Went To Liberia

Why Slaves Went To Liberia

Why Did Slaves Go To Liberia

Liberia is a country in Africa that was founded by freed American slaves in 1847. It was established as a place where former slaves could have a fresh start and govern themselves. However, many people don’t know why slaves would want to go to Liberia in the first place. After all, it’s a completely different continent with its own set of problems. So, why did they go?

In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why freed slaves decided to leave America and start anew in Liberia.

We will also touch on the struggles they faced once they got there.

The African-American Colonization Movement

The African-American Colonization Movement was a series of events and initiatives aimed at resettling free African Americans in Africa. The movement gained momentum in the early nineteenth century, as slavery became increasingly entrenched in the United States. A number of African-American leaders, including Martin Delany, Henry Highland Garnet, and Edward Wilmot Blyden, advocated for colonization as a way to escape the racism and oppression that black Americans faced in the United States.

In 1816, the American Colonization Society (ACS) was founded with the goal of establishing a colony for free African Americans in Africa. The ACS was supported by a number of prominent Americans, including Presidents James Monroe and John Quincy Adams. In 1820, the ACS established the colony of Liberia on the coast of West Africa. Between 1820 and 1867, nearly 16,000 African Americans emigrated to Liberia.

The African-American Colonization Movement was controversial both within the black community and among white Americans. Some blacks saw colonization as a way to build an independent black nation, while others viewed it as a form of exile from their homeland. White Americans were divided on the issue, with some seeing it as a solution to the “problem” of free blacks in America, and others viewing it as an expensive undertaking with little chance of success.

Despite its detractors, the African-American Colonization Movement remained an important force in nineteenth-century America. It helped to shape discussions about race and identity

Many black leaders of the time, such as Frederick Douglass, opposed ACS’s plans, believing that it was a way for white America to get rid of its black population.

Despite this opposition, thousands of blacks did choose to go to Liberia between 1820 and 1860.

Liberia was established as a colony for free blacks in 1821. The first group of settlers, known as the Americo-Liberians, arrived in 1822.

They were mostly educated and had some experience with farming. However, they were not prepared for the harsh realities of life in Africa. The climate was very different from what they were used to and many perished from diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. In addition, they were not familiar with African customs and culture and often clashed with the indigenous people.

Despite these challenges, the colony slowly grew and prospered.

By 1860, there were around 13,000 Americo-Liberians living in Liberia. They made up less than 1% of the population but wielded a great deal of power. They owned most of the land and controlled the government and economy. The indigenous people were largely excluded from these positions of power and remained poor despite being the majority population.

The Development of Liberia

Between 1816 and 1867, more than 15,000 African-American slaves were relocated to Liberia as part of the American Colonization Society’s (ACS) “Back-to-Africa” movement. The ACS was founded by white Americans who believed that slavery was morally wrong and that black Americans would be better off in Africa, where they could live free from the persecution and discrimination they faced in the United States.

The first group of African-American settlers arrived in Liberia in 1820. They established the country’s capital, Monrovia, named after U.S. President James Monroe who was a supporter of the ACS. Over the next few decades, thousands more African-Americans followed in their footsteps, making Liberia one of the largest settlements of free blacks outside of Africa.

Today, Liberia is home to more than 4 million people, including descendants of those original settlers. The country has a rich history and culture that is heavily influenced by its African roots.

The Civil War and Liberia

The Civil War had a significant impact on the colony of Liberia. Prior to the war, most African-American colonists were from the southern states.

But after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, many freed slaves chose to emigrate to Liberia rather than stay in the United States. By 1865, there were more than 3,000 former slaves living in Liberia.

The Civil War also resulted in a decline in support for the ACS from Americans who previously supported it. 


There are many reasons why slaves went to Liberia, but the most common one was because they were promised freedom.

Many Slaves also went to Liberia as a means of achieving Black self-determination and the misguided intention to ‘Civilize’ Africa which caused clashes with the indigenous population.

A conflict that would continue and ultimately lead to the devastating Liberian Civil War.