Timeline: Liberia
A chronology of key events

A chronology of key events:

1847 - Constitution modelled on that of the USA drawn up.


1847 July - Liberia becomes independent.
Monrovia skyline
Monrovia: Stability ended with the coup in 1980

1917 - Liberia declares war on Germany, thus giving the Allies a base in West Africa.

1926 - Firestone Tyre and Rubber Company opens a rubber plantation on land granted by the government. Rubber production becomes backbone of economy.

1936 - Forced-labour practices abolished.

1943 - William Tubman elected president.

1944 - Government declares war on the Axis powers.

1951 May - Women and indigenous property owners vote in the presidential election for the first time.

1958 - Racial discrimination outlawed.

1971 - Tubman dies and is succeeded by William Tolbert Jr.

1974 - Government accepts aid from the Soviet Union for the first time.

1978 - Liberia signs trade agreement with the European Economic Community.

1979 - More than 40 people are killed in riots following a proposed increase in the price of rice.

Years of instability
Samuel Doe
Samuel Doe: Executed in 1990

1980 - Master Sergeant Samuel Doe stages military coup. Tolbert and more than 12 of his aides are killed. A People's Redemption Council headed by Doe suspends constitution and assumes full powers.

1984 - Doe's regime allows return of political parties following pressure from the United States and other creditors.

1985 - Doe wins presidential election.

Taylor's uprising

1989 - National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) led by Charles Taylor begins an uprising against the government.

German AirForce Hercules C-130
C-160 Transall taking of from mine road
1990 Operation Sharp Edge - In mid-1990 increasing internal unrest threatened U.S. diplomats and civilians in Liberia. Elements of a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked in the USS Saipan (LHA-2) amphibious ready group provide support to the U.S. Embassy and stood by to evacuate American citizens and others from 2 June to 5 August. They evacuate a total of 2,609 people between 5 August and January 1991.

1990 - June 12th - The German AirForce Transport Wing 63 evacuates 231 oversees employees from the Bong Mining Company to Freetown.

1990 - Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) sends peacekeeping force. Doe is executed by a splinter group of the NPFL.

1991 - Ecowas and the NPFL agree to disarm and set up an Interim Government of National Unity.

1992 - The NPFL launches an all-out assault on West African peacekeepers in Monrovia, the latter respond by bombing NPFL positions outside the capital and pushing the NPFL back into the countryside.

Tentative cease-fire
Street Execution in Monrovia
Street Execution in Monrovia

1993 - The warring factions draw up a plan for a National Transitional Government and a cease-fire, but this fails to materialise and fighting resumes.

1994 - The warring factions agree on a timetable for disarmament and the setting up of a joint Council of State.

1995 - Peace agreement signed.

1996 April - Factional fighting resumes and spreads to Monrovia.

1996 August - West African peacekeepers initiate disarmament programme, clear land mines and reopen roads, allowing refugees to start returning.

1997 January - Disarmament programme declared a success.

1997 July - Presidential and legislative elections held. Charles Taylor wins a landslide and his National Patriotic Party wins a majority of seats in the National Assembly. International observers declare the elections free and fair.

Border fighting
Child soldier
Many factions recruited children to fight

1999 January - Ghana and Nigeria accuse Liberia of supporting Revolutionary United Front rebels in Sierra Leone. Britain and the US threaten to suspend international aid to Liberia.

1999 April - Rebel forces thought to have crossed from Guinea attack the town of Voinjama. Subsequent fighting leads to the displacement of more than 25,000 people.

1999 September - Guinea accuses Liberian forces of entering its territory and attacking border villages.

2000 July - The US threatens to impose sanctions on Liberia unless it curtails its ties with Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front.

2000 September - Liberian forces launch "massive offensive" against rebels in the north. LIberia accuses Guinean troops of shelling border villages.

Charles Taylor in Arms
Charles Taylor in Arms
2001 8 February - Liberian government announces that Sierra Leonean rebel leader Sam Bockarie, also known as Mosquito, had left the country and that the rebels' liaison office had been closed.

2001 7 March - UN Security Council imposes tough measures against Liberia, accusing it of fomenting war in west Africa. The measures, which include a ban on diamond exports and restrictions on travel by Liberian officials, will not come into force for two months. The Security Council also re-imposed, with immediate effect, an arms embargo against Liberia which first came into effect during the country's civil war between 1989 and 1996.

2001 May - UN Security Council reimposes arms embargo to punish Taylor for trading weapons for diamonds from rebels in Sierra Leone.

2001 June - Some 40,000 people reportedly displaced by rebellion.

2001 October - Amnesty International accuses security forces of raping and beating protesters.

2001 November - Government forces embark on new offensive against rebels.

2002 January - More than 50,000 Liberians and Sierra Leonean refugees flee fighting.

2002 February - Liberian Defence Minister Daniel Chea says government forces fighting an unfair war against rebels in the north of the country and are unable to get new military supplies because of an international ban on selling weapons to the Liberian government.

2002 May - Monrovia residents panic at the sound of approaching gunfire, as fighting between the government and rebels creeps towards the capital.

2002 July - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warns that the Liberian conflict threatens the UN's peacekeeping work in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

2002 September - President Taylor lifts an eight-month state of emergency and a ban on political rallies, citing a reduced threat from rebels.

Rebel offensives

2003 March - Security situation deteriorates as rebels open several battlefronts and advance to within 10km of Monrovia. Tens of thousands of people displaced by fighting.

President Taylor: Indicted during peace talks
Charles Taylor in Arms
2003 April - New rebel group, Movement for Democracy in Liberia, makes gains in southeast.

2003 June - President Taylor attends talks in Ghana aimed at ending ongoing rebellion. Talks overshadowed by indictment accusing Mr Taylor of war crimes over his alleged backing of rebels in Sierra Leone. An arrest order is not heeded and Mr Taylor returns to Liberia.

Fighters from main rebel group - Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (Lurd) - sweep southward in an attempt to capture the capital, casting doubt on the Ghana peace talks.

2003 July - Fighting intensifies; rebels battle for control of Monrovia. Several hundred people are killed. West African regional group Ecowas agrees to provide peacekeepers.

Taylor in exile

2003 August - Nigerian peacekeepers arrive. Charles Taylor leaves Liberia after handing power to his deputy Moses Blah. US troops arrive. Interim government and rebels sign peace accord in Ghana. Gyude Bryant chosen to head interim administration.

2003 September/October - US forces pull out. UN launches major peacekeeping mission, deploying thousands of troops.

2003 October - Gyude Bryant sworn in as head of state.

2004 February - International donors pledge more than $500m in reconstruction aid.

2004 March - UN Security Council votes to freeze assets of Charles Taylor.

2004 October - Riots in Monrovia leave 16 people dead; UN says former combatants were behind violence.

2005 February - Electoral commission announces that first post-war elections will be held on 11 October.

© BBC Online / courtesy of BBC 2001-2003