Liberia, Republic of
- Ruth M. Stone
Country in West Africa. Located on the coast of the Atlantic, bordering Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire, it has an area of 99,067 km² and a population of 3·26 million (2000 estimate). The population consists of the indigenous peoples and the descendants of English-speaking repatriated Africans who settled on the coast during the 19th century. The country owes its national political structure to the latter groups.
Indigenous peoples include the Belle (Kuwaa), Gbande (Bandi), Gio (Dan), Kpelle (Guerzé), Loma (Toma), Mandingo (Malinke or Manya), Mano, Mende and Vai of the Mande language subfamily; the Bassa, Dei (Dewoin), Grebo, Jabo, Krahn and Kru of the Kwa language subfamily; and the Gola and Kissi (Kisi) of the west Atlantic language subfamily. These subfamilies are part of the Niger–Congo language family. Certain peoples, including the Gio, Kissi, Kpelle, Loma, Mandingo and Vai, are also in adjoining countries, so the music of Liberia shares some features with that of neighbouring territories and should be considered in relation to the music of ...