Montserrado County

Grace T. Kpaan
Careysburg District
Todee District
Greater Monrovia District
St. Paul River District

Montserrado County is a county in the northwestern portion of the West African nation of Liberia. One of 15 counties that comprise the first-level of administrative division in the nation, it has four districts. Bensonville serves as the capital with the area of the county measuring 1,909 square kilometres (737 sq mi), the smallest in the country. As of the 2008 Census, it had a population of 1,144,806, making it the most populous county in Liberia.

Created in 1847 at the foundation of the country, the county is the oldest in Liberia. The most populous city in the county is Liberia’s capital, Monrovia with 1,010,970 residents, while Montserrado’s County Superintendent is Nyenekon Beauty Snoh-Barcon. The county is bordered by Bomi County to the west, Bong County to the north, and Margibi County to the east. The southern part of Montserrado lies on the Atlantic Coast.

On December 11, 1821, officials from the United States arrived aboard the vessel Alligator under the command of Captain Robert F. Stockton at Mesurado Bay.[18] Stockton and Dr. Eli Ayers negotiated to acquire the land in and around the bay from the native chiefs for a settlement by former slaves before sailing to Sierra Leone to pick up these colonists.[18] On January 7, 1822, the former slaves arrived and settled Providence Island on the Mesurado River under the auspices of the American Colonization Society, and by April they had moved to the mainland.[18] Many of the communities in the county are named for the pioneers who settled the area and their former homes in America. Natives inhabiting the land that made up the county were from the Deygbo, Gola, and Kpelle tribes.

The Liberian Herald began printing in 1830 in Monrovia and was the first newspaper in Liberia. In 1832, the Dey-Golah War erupted between the colonists and the native tribes. This war had one batlle, with the colonists from Monrovia defeating the Dey and Golah (Gola) combined group.In 1847, the colony declared its independence and Montserrado was the first of the Republic of Liberia's counties to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 26, 1847.At the time of creation, the county was composed of three administrative districts in Bomi, Gibi, and Marshall with Monrovia as the county capital. In 1885, the first municipal water supply system was completed in Monrovia.

The first County Inspector was appointed in 1949 by President Tubman, followed by President Tolbert’s appointment of the first County Superintendent in 1973. A railroad was constructed in the mid 1960s from Monrovi'a port through Todee District by the Bong Mining Company.The Mount Coffee Hydropower Project's first phase was completed in 1966.Rubber and palm oil plantations were started in the 1960s and 1970s, while a factory for producing clothing was built in 1979 in Bentol City.

In 1974, the county capital was moved by President Tolbert from Monrovia to his hometown of Bensonville. In 1976, an Assistant Superintendent was added to focus on development in Montserrado County. Bomi Territory in the western portion of the county became Bomi County in 1983. In 1984, Marshall and Gibi territories were combined and became neighboring Margibi County to the east.

Virginia saw the construction of the Unity Conference Center and Hotel Africa in 1979.[23] During the civil strife of the 1980s into the early 2000s much of the county’s infrastructure was looted and left unmaintained.[2] In July 2008, parts of the county received the worst flooding in its recorded history.