Friday, November 11, 2011

TIMELINE OF LIBERIA'S WARS

1822 BATTLE OF CROWN HILL, November 11. Dey, Vai and Mamban warriors attack the Monrovia settlement. Liberians prevail. Peace mediated by King Sao and Captain Laing of the Royal Navy. Elijah Johnson led Liberian forces. Dey leader King Peter later becomes an important ally of the colony. Vais and Mamban also incorporated into Liberia.

1824 BATTLE OF TRADE TOWN, April 10. Liberian militia under the command of Jehudi Ashmun and Elijah Johnson attack three Spanish and French slave fortresses at Trade Town at the mouth of the Cestos River. Small Liberian force, assisted by Bassa and Kru allies and US Navy vessels, defeated three hundred fifty warriors defending the slave factories. Eighty slaves were liberated. Captain Barbour of the Liberian militia distinguished himself in the battle.

1832 GOLA WAR. Attempts by the Liberians to stop conflict between the Gola and the Dey lead to this war. Liberian force, led by Captain Elijah Johnson, is victorious.

1838 2ND BATTLE OF TRADE TOWN. After slave traders resumed operations at the same site, Governor Thomas Buchanan of the Bassa Cove settlement recruited volunteers in Monrovia for an attack on the slave traders. About three times the number of volunteers he requested showed up and they sailed for the Bassa coast where they met a land force led by Elijah Johnson already engaged in battle. Slave traders are defeated.

1838 FISH WAR, September 1838. War began after Governor I. C. Finley of Mississippi in Africa (Sinoe settlements) was robbed and murdered by Krus at Bassa Cove. War lasted a year, with Liberians ultimately victorious.

1840 GOLA WAR. After the Gola decimated their enemies, the Dey, the remnant of the Dey people took refuge in the St. Paul River towns of Arthington and Millsburg. The Gola chief Gatumba came after them, found a number of them on the farm of Owen Harris in Millsburg, killed a few and attempted to carry off the rest into slavery. Owen Harris and three of his indigenous workers fought them off until the Liberian militia arrived and defeated the Golas, pursuing them to their fortified town and destroying it.

1856 GREBO WAR. Dispute over land around the Cape Palmas settlement led to prolonged battle between the Grebos and Maryland In Africa forces assisted by Liberian militia under President Joseph Jenkins Roberts. Maryland joined the Republic of Liberia as a direct consequence of this war, in 1857.

1875 GREBO WAR. Combined forces of Rocktown, Middletown, Cavalla, Garraway, and the Grebo Reunited Kingdom defeat Liberian army at the battle of Wrukehn. USS Alaska sent to aid Liberians. Hostilities cease after peace talks. Grebos win greater participation in Liberian government affairs.

1910 GREBO WAR. Fratricidal conflict among Grebos and Krus turn into rebellion against the Liberian government and its newly imposed hut tax. USS Birmingham dispatched to Cape Palmas. Peace restored after negotiated settlement.

1915 KRU COAST WAR. Hut tax, trade disputes, Frontier Force abuses, and control of migrant labor and ports lead to uprising by combined Kru kingdoms from Rivercess to Cape Palmas. USS Chester assists Liberia in reaching negotiated settlement. 72 Kru chiefs executed on orders of President Daniel E. Howard. He actually commuted thirty-two of the death sentences, but new orders reached Sinoe too late.

1918 WORLD WAR I. On August 4, 1917, Liberia followed the United States into the war, declaring its support for the Allies. Germans are deported, though they are the country's biggest trading partners. On April 10, 1918, a German submarine appeared off Monrovia and demanded the dismantling of the French cable station. Delegation led by Monrovia Mayor Thomas Faulkner boards German ship for talks, which fail. President Howard issues his famous and defiant "Bomb and be damned" declaration. The Germans flatten the cable station, killing four, and sink the "President Howard," only vessel of the Liberian Navy. Passing British warship frightens the submarine off.

1931 KRU COAST WAR. Recriminations against Kru chiefs who testified before the League of Nations Commission of Inquiry lead to uprising by Krus under Sasstown Paramount Chief Juah Nimley. Nimley defies government for five years before being captured and exiled to Monrovia.

1989-1997 NPFL (National Patriotic Fronnt of Liberia) incursion into Nimba County sets off eight years of most brutal conflict in West African history. ECOWAS peace keeping troops supplied by Nigeria, Ghana and other member states keep NPFL forces from overrunning Monrovia. Prince Johnson's Independent National Patriotic Front breaks off from NPFL, reach Bushrod Island, capture and execute President Samuel Doe. After several failed peace talks and violated truces, war ends with the election of warlord Charles Taylor as president.

2000-2003 LURD (Liberians United For Reconciliation And Democracy) launch war against Charles Taylor's government. In 2003, MODEL (Movement For Democracy In Liberia) joins the conflict. Charles Taylor is forced into exile and interim government leads Liberia until the election in 2005 of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Liberia honors its war dead on Decoration Day, March 11, enacted by the Legislature on Oct.24, 1916.

"Great God, if the humble and weak are as dear
To thy love as the proud, to thy children give ear!
Our brethren would drive us in deserts to roam;
Forgive them, O Father, and keep us at home.
Home, sweet home!
We have no other; this, this is our home." -From John B. Russwurm's FREEDOM'S JOURNAL,1832

TIMELINE OF LIBERIA'S WARS

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