American Colonization Society

Formed in 1816 to return freed slaves to Africa, the society established the country of Liberia. Started by minister Robert Finley with government help, its members hoped that Christian freedmen might help evangelize Africa. Even some slaveholders supported the scheme. It never, however, gained a broad base of support. After initial difficulties, a tract of land was secured for a colony. Disease almost wiped out the first group of 114 settlers in 1820- 21. In 1822 a group of fifty-three under minister Jehudi Ashmun made a permanent settlement near Monrovia. The Maryland branch of the society in 1833 established a colony at Cape Palmas. When Britain refused to recognize the authority of the society to govern, an independent government was set up in 1847, patterned after and sponsored by the United States. By 1867 about 10,000 freedmen had been transported to the colony.