National Redemption Day in Liberia Date in the current year: April 12, 2017

National Redemption Day in Liberia National Redemption Day is a Liberian holiday celebrated on April 12. It commemorates the anniversary of the 1980 coup d’etat led by Samuel Doe and the establishment of Liberia’s Second Republic.

The Republic of Liberia was established in 1847 by former African American slaves and their free black descendants. Between 1847 and 1980, the country was dominated by the small minority of Americo-Liberians who were generally richer and more powerful than the indigenous people of Liberia.

The situation changed on April 12, 1980, when a group of soldiers led by Master Sergeant Samuel Doe, whose family belonged to the indigenous Krahn people, killed President William R. Tolbert Jr. and 26 of his supporters. Ten days later, Doe publicly executed 13 members of the Cabinet. After the coup, he assumed the rank of general and established a People’s Redemption Council to rule the country. The anniversary of the coup was declared a national holiday called National Redemption Day.

Doe’s coup was initially met with enthusiasm by the indigenous Liberian population, but the support was short-lived. The new government was ill prepared to rule. Besides, Doe’s presidency was characterized by increased repression. In 1989, the First Liberian Civil War broke out, and in 1990 Doe was murdered.

National Redemption Day is no longer a public holiday, but it is still marked by some of Doe’s supporters. For his opponents, this is the day of mourning over the victims of the 1980 coup and Doe’s regime.

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National Redemption Day in Liberia, holidays in Liberia, 1980 coup in Liberia, Samuel Doe