Krahn is an ethnic group of Liberia and Ivory Coast. There are approximately 214,000 in the world, 71,000 of whom live in Liberia while the rest live in Ivory Coast and surrounding countries. The Krahn people can be found throughout Liberia, particularly in Grand Gedeh County and Nimba County; majority of them live in Monrovia.

The Krahn arrived in Liberia in the early sixteenth century from Ivory Coast. The migration of these Western Sudan tribes occurred after an increase in regional tribal wars created pressures on local populations in the region.

The Western Krahn are known to be farmers who grow millet, sorghum, and other crops. Hunting, fishing, and gathering wild plants are other sources of food. Western Krahn settlements consist of a small number of mud huts with cone-shaped roofs made of palm leaves or thatch. Each extended family has a headman, who offers sacrifices to the ancestral spirits (the headman is succeeded by his oldest sister's eldest son). Each village has a religious chief and headmen to handle village affairs and disputes.

Many of the Western Krahn men have more than one wife. The practice of levirate (compulsory marriage of a widow to her dead husband's brother) and sororate (compulsory marriage of a man to his dead wife’s sister or procreation with the wife’s sister if the wife cannot get pregnant) are generally accepted. Most girls are betrothed at an early age—these marriages are arranged by either the father or the extended family head. When a man marries, his bride may join him or remain in her father's home. If she remains with her father, her daughters may stay with her, but her sons must join their father.  Married sons live in the household of their fathers, and private properties are passed on to the eldest son, while household properties are passed to the father's younger brother.


Although many of the Krahns live in the capital city of Monrovia, it hasn’t stopped them from practicing their cultures and traditions. About 80% of Krahn practice various forms of animism, believing that non-human objects have spirits. Ancestor worship (praying to deceased relatives for guidance or protection) is also practiced by many Krahns.



image1 (2).PNG
Anna Sherman-KartoComment