Monrovia (mənrōˈvēə) [key], city (1986 est. pop. 465,000), capital of the Republic of Liberia, NW Liberia, a port on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the St. Paul River. Monrovia is Liberia's largest city and its administrative, commercial, communications, and financial center. The city's economy revolves around its harbor, which was substantially improved by U.S. forces under lend-lease during World War II. In 1948 the first port capable of handling oceangoing vessels was opened; there are now several ports, including a free port. The main exports are latex and iron ore. The city also has extensive storage and ship repair facilities. Manufactures include cement, refined petroleum, food products, bricks and tiles, furniture, and pharmaceuticals. Roads and railroads and an airport connect Monrovia with Liberia's interior. The Univ. of Liberia (1862) and Cuttington College and Divinity School (1889; Episcopal) are in the city. Monrovia was founded in 1822 by the American Colonization Society as a haven for freed slaves from the United States and the British West Indies and was named for James Monroe, then president of the United States. Life in Monrovia was severely disrupted in the 1990s and 2000s by civil war, which left thousands homeless and the city's economy in ruins.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.