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Liberian-Grebo War of 1876

In 1875, the USS Alaska was dispatched by President Ulysses S. Grant to Liberia, after Liberian troops lost a series of battles to Grebo warriors. A war broke out among a confederation of Grebo peoples in 1875. The Liberian government asked the United States to serve as mediator. In response, a United States emissary visited the G'debo kingdom and the Liberian republic and dispatched a naval ship to assist the Liberian government in settling the conflict.

In the 1870s many of the Grebo chiefdoms, encouraged by foreign traders, had united in forming a "kingdom" in part of Maryland County that declared its independence from Liberia and resumed trading freely with passing foreign ships. War followed, and the Grebo overran several settlements before an American naval expeditionary force arrived to quell the uprising and expel the foreign traders.

James Milton Turner, the American Envoy to Liberia from 1871-1878, was perceived by both sides of the national-political spectrum as intervening in the political battles between the Republican Party [dominated by the mulattos], and the Whigs [controlled by the dark-skinned Liberians]. Turner assisted the Liberian Government in getting US Government to intervene militarily in the Liberian-Grebo War of 1876.

In concluding a peace treaty with the Grebo chiefs, the American commander promised to use his influence to obtain for them a grant of citizenship that would enable then as Liberians to conduct trade on their own behalf without intermediaries. Liberian authorities expressed gratitude for American aid in suppressing the Grebo rebellion but ignored the naval officer's advice on indigenous African affairs.



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