A country of western Africa on the Atlantic Ocean. Established by the American Colonization Society in 1821 as a settlement for freed slaves, Liberia was the first colonized country in Africa to achieve independence (1847). A military coup in 1980 initiated a period of civil unrest leading to full-scale civil war in 1990. After a cease-fire in 1996, Charles Taylor was elected president in 1997 but was ousted in 2003, and new democratic elections were held in 2005. Monrovia is the capital and the largest city.