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Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe
ABC News VideoSource
1971-2000
July 23, 1971: President Tubman dies, and Vice President Tolbert takes office.

In office for 27 years, Tubman headed a regime that went from democratic to dictatorial. He is succeeded by his vice president of 19 years, William R. Tolbert, Jr.


1972: Tolbert adopts a more nonaligned stance in the Cold War.

Liberia establishes diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, Poland, and several other Eastern bloc countries, and takes on a more nonaligned posture, thus breaking away from the Cold War agenda followed by President Tubman.


1973: Liberia severs diplomatic ties with Israel.

Following the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, which pits Israel against Egypt and Syria, Liberia becomes one of 29 African countries to sever diplomatic ties with Israel.


May 28, 1975: ECOWAS is established.

Liberia, under Tolbert's presidency, is a signatory to the treaty which establishes the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in order to create a common market in West Africa and promote regional economic integration and stability in 15 West African countries, with the intention that it would mirror the success of the European Common Market (now the EU). In 1990, ECOWAS member states will establish the ECOWAS Monitoring Group, or ECOMOG, as a multinational peacekeeping/peace enforcement group responsible for the restoration of peace in Liberia. ECOMOG is the first armed force to be established by a regional organization.


September 21, 1976: During the United States' bicentennial celebration, President Tolbert addresses the joint session of the U.S. Congress.



1978: U.S. president Jimmy Carter conducts the first official U.S. presidential visit to Liberia.

During the same year, President Tolbert encourages young student and opposition leaders living in the U.S. to return home to Liberia to participate in the political process.


April 14, 1979: The "rice riots"

A proposed increase in the price of imported rice, suggested in order to stimulate local growth, results in riots which lead to many deaths and enormous infrastructural damage to the capital city of Monrovia. The leaders of the demonstration are the same student leaders whom Tolbert had invited home to Liberia some months before.


April 12, 1980: Samuel K. Doe, a master sergeant of Krahn descent in the Liberian army, overthrows the government in a bloody coup.

President Tolbert is assassinated, 13 Cabinet ministers are executed, and dozens of other government officials are imprisoned.


1985: Samuel Kanyon Doe becomes Liberia's 20th president.

Doe claims victory in a presidential election under a cloud of controversy and charges of vote-rigging. Despite the allegations, the United States accepts the results of the election and offers support to the new president.


November 1985: Thomas Quiwonkpa, Doe's former second-in-command, is killed after his failed attempt to depose Doe's government.

The coup attempt leads to government-led violence against the Gio and Mano people of Quiwonkpa's native Nimba County.


December 24, 1989: The National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) enters Liberia.

Civil war breaks out, and Charles Taylor becomes the first of several Liberian warlords.


1990: Taylor's troops capture most of the country.

The brutal civil war, which will last another seven years, pits tribe against tribe and leads to the death of more than 200,000 Liberians, the displacement of hundreds of thousands of others, and the destruction of the country's infrastructure.


August 24, 1990: Three thousand ECOMOG forces arrive in Liberia.

During the same month, ECOWAS holds a meeting in Banjul, Gambia, where Dr. Amos Sawyer is appointed as president of an Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU). Sawyer's Monrovia-based IGNU is not recognized by rebel leader Charles Taylor, who is based outside Monrovia and controls the rest of the country. The country is divided, with two effective seats of government and two effective currencies.


September 9, 1990: Samuel K. Doe is executed.

President Doe is captured and killed by a rebel faction led by Prince Johnson. In spite of his execution, civil war continues to rage.


October 30, 1991: The Yamoussoukro IV Accord

ECOWAS brokers the Yamoussoukro IV Accord in the Ivory Coast. It is the first major accord and outlines steps to implement a peace plan that includes the encampment and disarmament of warring factions under the supervision of an expanded ECOMOG, as well as the establishment of transitional institutions to bring about democratic elections.


July 25, 1993: The Cotonou Peace Agreement

The Cotonou Peace Agreement, which calls for the establishment of a government of inclusion and a UN-sponsored cease-fire, is signed in Cotonou, Benin, by the IGNU and the two warring factions -- the United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO) and the NPFL -- following peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland.


March 7, 1994: The first Liberian National Transitional Government, the LNTG, is installed.

Liberian attorney David Kpomakpor is appointed head of the LNTG.


September 12, 1994: The Akosombo Peace Agreement

Signed in Akosombo, Ghana, the agreement supplements and amends the Cotonou Peace Agreement and is signed by the NPFL, ULIMO, and the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). The agreement meets with widespread disapproval from civil society groups and church leaders because it effectively partitions Liberia, and does not include all Liberian factions.


1995: The 16-member ECOWAS brokers a peace treaty between Liberia's warring factions.

This treaty comes after several attempts at peace fail. An interim state council establishes a tentative timetable for elections.


August 19, 1995: The first Abuja Accord is signed.

The Abuja Accord is signed in Abuja, Nigeria, and includes installation of an interim Council of State -- a national ruling body composed of various faction warlords and headed by a neutral chairman (this represents the second Liberian National Transitional Government, LNTG II) -- and a cease-fire, which is intended to come into effect one week later, on August 26.


April 6, 1996: The Siege of Monrovia

An estimated 3,000 people are killed when five factions converge in an intense battle in Monrovia, in what comes to be known as the Siege of Monrovia. The crisis begins when the Council of State attempts to arrest Roosevelt Johnson, an ethnic Krahn and leader of ULIMO-J (ULIMO-Johnson branch), on murder charges. Johnson takes refuge in the military barracks of the former AFL. ULIMO-J, Liberian Peace Council (LPC), and remnants of the AFL, all largely consisting of ethnic Krahn fighters, rally at the barracks and engage the combined forces of NPFL and ULIMO-K (ULIMO-Kromah branch).


August 17, 1996: Abuja Accord Supplement

Further signatories to the agreement usher in a new Council of State, the third Liberian National Transitional Government (LNTG III), with former senator Ruth Sando Perry appointed head. The accord provides for an immediate cease-fire, disarmament of all combatants by the end of January 1997, reintegration, and nationwide elections scheduled for May 1997, with an elected government to be installed by June 15, 1997. The accord also provides for sanctions for any faction which does not comply with the terms of the peace accord; sanctions include travel restrictions, exclusion from the electoral process, and the establishment of a war crimes tribunal. This is the last accord which finally leads to elections.


July 19, 1997: After seven years of mayhem, Charles Taylor is elected president of Liberia.

The election is monitored by ECOWAS and other international observers, including former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, and is declared fair.


September 1998: Liberian government forces fire into the U.S. Embassy in Liberia when opposition leader Roosevelt Johnson seeks refuge in it.

Johnson is ultimately airlifted out of the country. The violence prompts the U.S. to close the embassy. Two months later, Liberia offers an apology for the incident, and the Embassy is reopened.


February 2000: Liberia is accused of supporting Sierra Leone's rebel movement against the government by trading arms and other resources for diamonds.

President Taylor denies the charge, which is levied against him by the United States and other countries. Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) has by this time destabilized Sierra Leone and begun to undermine the government in neighboring Guinea; Taylor is implicated by the international community in both actions.


July 2000: The United Nations bans diamond exports from Liberia and reinforces its ban on arms exports to Liberia.



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