Liberia, officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country located in West Africa, bordered by Guinea to the north, and Ivory Coast to the east. It covers an area of 183,109 km² (70,699 sq mi), and has a total population of 9.6 million people. English is the official language of the country, though there are more than thirty spoken languages in the country alone. Krio is the primary language spoken in the northern half of the country, though English remains the most-spoken language in the nation. As it is located close to the equator, Liberia is hot and humid nation, with tropical rainforests covering most of its land.
Along with Ethiopia in the east, Liberia was one of the only two sub-Saharan nation without any roots in the European colonization of Africa during the mid-1800s. Its population is largely descendant from freed black slaves through the abolitionist movements in the United States and the United Kingdom. Beginning in 1820, the colony of Liberia and neighboring Sierre Leone were established to accomadate African-Americans and British African slaves returning to Africa. In 1847, Liberia became a republic, and was the second black African nation nation to be established, Haiti being the first. In 1884, Liberia fought a successful, if bloody war with Britian to gain Sierre Leone.
Since those times, Liberia has grown to possess the second-largest economy in West Africa after Nigeria, and the highest standard of living in the region. Liberia has maintained strong economic and political ties with the United States, and repaired to some extent, its relations with the United Kingdom. Acting as the peacekeeper in the region, Liberia has routinuely deployed troops in neighboring countries to enforce peace and order, though it has recieved critism from Europe and North America for expelling dictorial rulers, rulers who have given Liberia no reason to harm their close diplomatic ties.
Main article: Liberian National Defence Force
Liberia has one of the largest militaries in Africa, and one of the largest military budgets on the continent, with a large portion of its GDP devoted to military expenditure. The Liberian National Defence Force is the sole military arm of the country, and is headed by its Chief of Staff, who is under the command of the Liberian President and his staff. The LNDF possesses some of the best training in Africa, and is noted for its highly professional and experienced forces, who have been a critical force multiplier against rebel activity in the nations surrounding Liberia.
Liberian citizens are usually drafted into the military at age 16, covering both men and women. Both sexes serve six years of mandatory service in the LNDF, and are kept in reserve for ten years. During that time within the reserves, they are required to undergo training one every three weeks during their five-month reserve duty every two years. After sixteen years of military service in active and reserve areas, they honorably discharged from the military. Through the work of this program, Liberia maintains a force of 117,970 active personnel with the additional of 378,000 reservists.
Given that most of its neighbors possess low-grade weapon systems, Liberia do not provide its troops ultra high-tech systems, relying on tried and true equipment that can stand against even Western armies. The national defense industry produced modernized copies of older Soviet designs which have been shown to equal and at times surpass better equipped armies from Europe and America. The military's emphize on quality and affordablity have given Liberia a military force more along the lines of Israel's or Iran's, providing with cheap yet reilable weaponry and technology.
Since the Second Congo War, Liberia has since developed a network of reconnaissance satellites. The smashing success of Project Iron Arrow has made Liberia one of eight nations capable of launching and maintaining such satellites. The result of this has been Liberia's huge commitment to providing adequate funding and training to its forces to make the best use of its position as a major force in Africa, spending 7.2% of its national GDP on the upkeep and maintainence of its military forces.
Liberia suspected of possessing nuclear weapons, a fact that recently confirmed in 2006, when it was discovered Liberia has developed and produced 40-70 nuclear bombs with yields ranging from 25 megatons to 40 megatons. Many believe that these were developed shortly after the opening of the Vahun Nuclear Research Facility in 1972. No actions against Liberia were taken as the country showed no interest in either expanding or disarming its nuclear arsenal, and remained quiet on the matter ever since then.
Main article: Economy of Liberia