Why were American slaves allowed to return to Africa?

There is a small state on the territory of West Africa – Liberia. It is located just the same on the “heel” of the black continent. It has existed not so long ago – only since 1847. Although for African states even this year of foundation is quite distant, given that many of them gained independence from European powers only in the 20th century.


It is known that at least in the 12th century AD, various African tribes began to penetrate this territory. The resettlement was caused by the destruction of large empires at that time – Mali, and a little later Songhai. So the people were pretty civilized.

They knew how to grow cotton, spin fabric from it, smelt cast iron, grow cereals (sorghum and rice), etc. Other inhabitants of the coastal areas were engaged in trade, including with Europeans. The Portuguese therefore called this region the Pepper Coast, and later the Green.


But everything changed a lot in the 19th century. In the 1920s, black Americans, former slaves, began to arrive in these lands. Mostly from the USA, but there were also from the Caribbean. They called themselves “American-Liberians” and founded a colony of free people here. By the way, the word “Liberia” is translated from the Latin language – “free”.

Why did blacks go to Africa at all? And who gave them permission? In this case, the so-called American Colonization Society was very supportive for them. In fact, it was created for this 🙂

One of the founders of this society, Paul Cuffy, by the way, was also colored – half Indian, half black. The society was created specifically to help the resettlement of blacks to their “historical homeland.” Although, as we understand it, it is completely unknown which African places their ancestors came from. But it is quite logical that from West Africa. At least there, the Europeans bought them from the local tribes once.

It may seem that the American Colonization Society was doing a good job. Perhaps it is. But we must understand that the Americans had reasons to “get rid” of blacks. After all, these were not just black slaves, but those who were freedmen – that is, free people. They were either released by their white masters, giving them freedom, or they were able to redeem themselves.

And such free blacks were not welcomed in America. They just wanted to get rid of them. Whites were afraid of mixing races, they were afraid that the blacks would be criminals, they considered them inferior, dangerous, etc. However, in fairness, I must say that some slaves were ransomed by the founders of the American Colonization Society. And even sent at their own expense to Liberia. Well, how about your own? For the money that the Society has collected from the respective donations.


Already at the end of the 40s of the 19th century, the American-Liberians proclaimed the independence of Liberia. But the fact is that these overseas blacks did not live on good terms with local Africans. They considered them savages. And did not seek to join the local community. On the contrary! The American-Liberians tried to establish a state according to the American model, introduced a currency – the Liberian dollar, drew an American-style flag, motto, etc.

As a result, the visiting blacks started wars with the local blacks, and additionally with the neighboring colonial lands belonging to France and Great Britain. It all ended badly: the French and British took large chunks of the country from the American-Liberians. In addition, the slave trade flourished in the country – the slaves were local, and the slave owners were visitors from America.

At one time, even the British raised the question to the international community that they should establish guardianship over this country! Painfully she is strange, nothing happens here.


Liberia currently has about 3.5 million people. It is one of the poorest countries in West Africa with high infant mortality and low fertility. Only 40% of women and 70% of men can read and write. By the way, the direct descendants of black “newcomers” (from the US and the Caribbean) make up only 5% of the population of Liberia. The official language is English, and the people profess mainly Christianity – more precisely, various colored versions of Protestantism.