History of Grand Bassa County, One of Liberia's Original Counties
Grand Bassa is a coastal county situated on the Atlantic seashore. It is located in the west-central portion of Liberia bordering Margibi County to the northwest, Bong County to the north, Nimba County to the east, and Rivercess County to the south and east. Created in 1833 the county is one of Liberia’s oldest counties, the others being Montserrado and Sinoe. All three counties were created before Liberia became a republic in 1847.
Grand Bassa is Liberia fifth most populous county with population of 224,839 (2008 census). Majority of its populations speak the Bassa dialect, while the rest speak the Kpelle and Kru dialects. The county has eight districts which include Commonwealth District, District #1, District #2, District #3, District #4, Neekreen District, Owensgrove District, and St. John River District. It also has eleven townships, three cities (Buchanan, Edina, and St. John River City) and forty-three clans. Buchanan, Liberia’s third largest city, serves as the county capital; it is located in District #3. The current Senator of Grand Bassa is Senator Jonathan Lambert Kaipay; its Superintendent is Mr. Etweda Gbenyon Cooper.
Grand Bassa County has some beautiful scenery. Majority of the county is covered by forest of evergreen; the area not covered by forest is use for agriculture proposes. The county also has Savanna. Generally Grand Bassa coastline is flat, a narrow coastal plain extends inland from the seashore, and the land gradually rises to the hilly hinterland of the County. Several major rivers can be found in this county, including the St. John, Farmington River, Mechlin River, New Cess River, Ilor River, Timbo River, and the Benson River. Unfortunately, its shore is broken by estuaries, tidal creeks, and rocky capes.
Before the Civil war, Grand Bassa was a huge contributor to Liberia’s economic and social development. During that period LAMCO (Liberian-American-Swedish Mining Company) constructed a port in Buchannan that was used to export iron ore produced in Yekepa, Nimba County. Consequently this port was destroyed during the Civil war, as well as the railway and township built by LAMCO. In 2005 ArcelorMittal took over Port Buchanan and it’s currently being used to export iron ores mined in Nimba County.
Previously one of the more economically vibrant counties, Grand Bassa is trying to reestablish its prestige by establishing businesses like BHP Billington, Elizabeth Village & Resort, Hotel Buchanan, Sunset Beach, etc. As a key component of the recovery effort, Grand Bassa has created a County Development Agenda which according to its citizens complements the national Poverty Reduction Strategy. In this process residence identified critical interventions needed to move the county forward to what it once was. In April 2018 Grand Bassa also hosted Liberia’s first Trade and Investment Conference. The event brought together investors from around the world.
Without a doubt in the next couple of years Grand Bassa will be one of the counties at the core of Liberia recovery. The beautiful scenery of this county makes it one of the predominant counties to consider when prioritizing Liberia’s tourism sector. It is currently one of Liberia’s popular vacation spots for both tourists and locals with its beautiful coastline providing convenience for swimmers, sunbathers and surfers.