Liberia is located along the coast of West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest, Sierra Leone to the west, Guinea to the north, and Cote d’Ivoire to the east. Liberia is made up of fifteen political sub-divisions called counties. Montserrado is the most populated county, and hosts Monrovia, the capital city and largest commercial hub. Liberia has a total land area of approximately 111,000 square kilometers and a coastline of 580 km. Of the total land area, roughly 96,000 square kilometers is land mass and the remainder is composed of rivers, lakes, and wetlands.
Indigenous Africans migrated from the Songhai Kingdom to present day Liberia between the 12th and 16th centuries A.D. The first settlers arrived in 1821 on Providence Island from New York. The number of immigrants that arrived from 1821 to 1843 was 4,571. These immigrants were freed slaves sponsored by the American Colonization Society (ACS).
Liberia is a mosaic of many people and cultures. There are sixteen (16) tribes; each having a distinct language and subculture. The cultural heritage is also rich. Storytelling, short parables and proverbs are common. The Liberian handshake, which ends with snapping of the fingers, is unique only to Liberia. Other unique features of the Liberian heritage include the collarless Vai shirt, the V-shaped finger ring, and the highlife dance music, which originated from Liberia, but is now popular along the West African coast.