Liberia - geography

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Liberia is a West African country that is roughly the size of the U.S. state of Tennessee. It lies on the North Atlantic coast of Africa, and is bordered by Guinea to the north, Cote d'Ivoire to the east (marked partially by the Cavalla River), and Sierra Leone to the northwest (marked by the Mano River). Liberia has a total area of roughly 111,000 km, only 579 km of which is coastline. Of its total area, roughly 96,000 is land. The remainder is composed of rivers, lakes, and roughly two hundred claimed nautical miles of the Atlantic Ocean off the country's southwest coast. Of the 96,000 km of land in Liberia, only 3.43% (about 3,300 km) is arable, and only 1.98% (about 1900 km) is used for permanent crops. The few areas allowing for agriculture are inland, and made up of grassy plateau. On the coastline, geographical features include mangrove swamps, lagoons, and sandbars, which continue into rolling hills and some low mountains in the northeast portion of the country. These low hills are covered by rainforests. The topography of Liberia is predominantly flat, with its highest point at the top of Mount Wuteve, 1380 meters above sea level.
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Irrigation in Liberia is limited to roughly 30 square km, or about 9.31 square km per million people. The remainder of the water supply to the inland region comes from Liberia's three largest rivers: the St. Paul River, exiting near the capital city of Monrovia; the St. John River, at Buchanan; and the Cestos River. All three of these rivers flow into the Atlantic Ocean.

Liberia's climate varies by season. Summer brings warm temperatures and high humidity, with clouds and frequent rain showers. Winter months in Liberia also feature warm days, with cool to cold nights, but the air is much drier, and brings with it the increased risk of dust storms from the Sahara Desert.

Liberia's capital city of Monrovia boasts a population of nearly one million. Monrovia is a port city which sits on the North Atlantic coast, at the mouth of the St. Paul River. It lies within Montserrado County, one of the oldest counties in Liberia.

Liberia is made up of fifteen counties: Bomi, Bong, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Grand Kru, Margibi, Montserrado, Nimba, Maryland, Sinoe, River Cess, and River Gee. These counties very in date of establishment, from as long ago as 1839 (Montserrado and Grand Bassa) to as recently as 2001 (Gbarpolu). Of these counties, Montserrado is the most populated, owing to the country's capital city within its borders. Montserrado is also the smallest county, at roughly 1,900 square kilometers. The largest county is Nimba, at a total area of about 11,500 square kilometers.

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