HISTORY OF LOMA PEOPLE
A Tribe Founded by Fala Wubo
The Loma people can be found mainly in Lofa County, in northwestern Liberia. The area in which most Loma live is referred to as Wubomai, named after Fala Wubo, the man who founded the Loma tribe. There are approximately 165,000 Loma people living within Liberia.
The Loma came to be around 14th century A.D. by Fala Wubo, who was the son of a Malian prince who had migrated after a power struggle in Mali. After encountering what would eventually become Wubomai and finding it was already inhabited by a people known as the Wono, Fala Wubo led his men into years of fighting with the Wono. Eventually the battle ended with his people’s victory and their settlement in the region.
For many years, the area was divided into autonomous towns and villages, all with their own chiefs, who frequently fought against chiefs from nearby villages. Later a man named Degein Korvah rose to prominence and spread the idea that townships should not war with one another. This became law, and the area remained relatively peaceful.
Not long after, the Loma were facing conflicts with the French and Muslims from Guinea as well as being approached by the Liberian Republic, a country formed by freed slaves from America. The Liberian Republic wanted the Loma simultaneously to agree to be under their governance in exchange for their protection and advancement while also somewhat still governing themselves. The Loma almost unanimously accepted, and the office of Paramount Chief, a position above the other chiefs, was created. The Loma to this day remain mostly in Liberia, however, some can be found in neighboring countries.
The area in which the Loma live is rich in iron ore. Consequently, the Loma have traditionally used iron as a form of currency. They take advantage of the nearby rainforest by shifting rice cultivation from one area to the next, usually using slash-and-burn horticulture. Although the Loma tend to have an ideology of male dominance, the women are typically seen in the “breadwinner/product" role of society. Men, on the other hand, are viewed as “warrior” types.
Although the Loma are under the Liberian government, they still self-govern by having an office of Paramount Chief and other positions above the other chiefs. This is to show that the Loma people do not like the idea of being completely controlled; they prefer to have a say in the decisions of their people.