Monrovia is the capital city and the principal seaport of Liberia - a country on the West African coast, bordered by Sierra Leone (northwest), Guinea (north) and Cote d'Ivoire/Ivory Coast (east). Monrovia is situated at Cape Mesurado/Montserrado, at the mouth of St Paul River. The city has population over 1 million, which is ~30% of Liberia's total population.
Port Monrovia (officially "Freeport of Monrovia"/locode LRMLW) hugely benefits from its location on Bushrod Island, as the mouths of Mesurado and St Paul rivers naturally form a large harbor. Saint Paul River (north of Monrovia) borders Bushrod Island, which is accessible from downtown via bridge. As Liberia's capital, Monrovia City is also the country's administrative, financial and commercial center.
In Monrovia are registered thousands of cargo ships and some cruise vessels (~15% of the world's commercial ships/ocean-going fleet) as many shipowners choose Liberia as their flag-state. According to global shipping industry data, the Liberian ship registry is currently ranked the world's fourth-largest (by the number of registered in Monrovia vessels) - following Marshall Islands (registry port Majuro), Panama (registry port Colon) and The Bahamas (registry port Nassau).
The city's economy is heavily based on shipping (flag-state fees, services, ship repairs). Liberia's main exports are latex and iron ore, also construction materials (cement, bricks, tiles), refined petroleum products, chemicals, food products, furniture. Ferries link Monrovia with Greenville (Sinoe County) and Harper (Maryland County). The city is served by Spriggs Payne Airport (approx 3 mi / 5 km from downtown) and the larger Roberts Airport in Harbel/Margibi County (Liberia's principal airport, approx 37 mi / 60 km) to the east. Roberts Airport serves regular international flights linking Liberia to Ghana (Accra), Sierra Lione (Freetown), Ivory Coast (Abidjan), Mali (Bamako), Gambia (Banjul), Togo (Lome), Kenya (Nairobi), Morocco (Casablanca), France (Paris), Belgium (Brussels).
The town (as Christopolis) was founded in 1822 and renamed (to Monrovia) in 1824, honoring James Monroe (1758-1831, the USA's 5th President/in office between 1817-1825) who was also a prominent supporter of the American Colonization Society. A curious fact is that only two capital cities are named after American presidents - Washington DC and Monrovia.
Prior to Liberia's American colonization, the area around Cape Mesurado (called Ducor) was long inhabited by local African tribes specializing in trading, fishing, farming. Ducor for the first time was included in maps in the early-18th-century. Ducor's colonization officially started in 1816 (when ACS-American Colonization Society was established by Robert Finley) as a self-sufficient colony for freed Blacks (former slaves from the USA and the Caribbean) with the active support of the US government. The first ship with freed slaves arrived in Ducor (anchored at the mouth of Mesurado River) in January 1822, when was established the Christopolis settlement (in 1824 renamed Monrovia).
In the period 1989-1999, due to two major civil wars in Liberia, Monrovia was severely damaged, and nearly all its infrastructure was destroyed.