Pioneers Day in Liberia

Liberia is a West African country bordered by Guinea to the north, Sierra Leone to the northwest, the Atlantic Ocean to the south and southwest, and the Ivory Coast to the east. It covers an area of 111,369 square kilometers and has a population of over 5 million people.

It was established on January 7, 1822, by the American Colonization Society—an event commemorated in Liberia each year by the celebration of Pioneer’s Day. Although this holiday is somewhat controversial because of the historically tense relationship between Americo-Liberians and indigenous Liberians, it is a day celebrated by many people with music and dance.

The History of Pioneer’s Day in Liberia

The American Colonization Society was an organization founded by Robert Finley in 1816 to encourage and support the migration of freed African Americans to Africa. Some factors leading to the formation of this organization were the belief that free blacks might encourage enslaved blacks to rebel or run away from slave owners and the belief that African Americans would never properly integrate into “white” society.

The movement to encourage, or sometimes force, black Americans to emigrate to Africa was opposed by both the abolitionist movement and the black community.

Thousands of American blacks were relocated to what is now Liberia between January 7, 1822, and 1865. On July 26, 1847, Liberia declared its independence, but the U.S. did not recognize its independence until February 5, 1862. On January 3, 1848, a free-born African American from Virginia became Liberia’s first president.

Observing Pioneer’s Day in Liberia

Pioneer’s Day is observed with music, dancing, and festivals across Liberia. The hashtag #PioneersDayLiberia is also used to spread the word about this holiday on social media. This holiday is not a public holiday, so schools and businesses remain open.

Where is it celebrated?
Liberia (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
January 7 Sunday
Next year (2025)
January 7 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
January 7 Saturday