The first colonists traveling to Liberia knew very little about the land they were settling. Colonists who followed later had the benefit of the knowledge and experiences of these pioneers. To gain a comprehension of colonists' experiences, students can assume the role of someone traveling to Liberia in the 1830s. Students can use this 1830 map of Liberia or search the collection on Liberia, looking at maps created by the 1830s. These maps will show the students what the colonists may have learned about Liberia prior to leaving America.
Have students use the map to answer the following questions:
- What can you determine about the climate from the map?
- Were there native peoples living in Liberia?
- What rivers run through the land?
- What information does the text at the top of the map provide? How much land does it say is under the jurisdiction of the American Colonization Society?
For more insight into what a person might know before leaving for Liberia, students can also browse the exhibit The African-American Mosaic section entitled Colonization and search on American Colonization Society in African-American Perspectives, 1818-1907 and From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909.