History of Nimba County, Liberia’s largest and second most populous county.
Named after Neinbaa Tohn Mountain, Nimba County is Liberia’s largest county, measuring approximately 4,460 square miles. The county is also the second most populous county in Liberia with population of 462,026 (2008 Census Report). Nimba is located in the northeastern part of Liberia. It shares border with the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire in the East and the Republic of Guinea in the Northwest. The county also borders Bong and Grand Bassa counties to the west, Rivercess County to the southwest, and Grand Gedeh County to the southeast. Although the capital city of Nimba is Sanniquellie, its most popular city is Ganta city, a city located approximately four hours from Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city.
During President William V.S. Tubman's term (1944–1971), the region currently known as Nimba County was one of Liberia's three Provinces: Western Province, Eastern Province, and Central Province. In the sixties, President Tubman changed these provinces into counties. Central Province became what is now called Nimba County. Before the Civil War of Liberia in 1989, Nimba had a population of over 310,000 people.
There are two main ethnic groups in Nimba County, the Dan, also known as Gio and the Mano. The Dan are located closer to the Côte d'Ivoire border and the Mano are located closer to the Guinea border. Currently there are other minority groups from all over Liberia and West Africa residing in Nimba, including the Bassa, Pkelle, Lorma, Mandingo, Krahn, and many others.
Nimba has nine electoral districts, two senators and nine members of representatives at the Legislative Branch of Government. The two senators currently serving are senior Senator, Mr. Prince Yormie Johnson, and junior Senator, Mr. Thomas Semandahn Grupee; the current County Superintendent is D. Dorr Coopper.
Nimba also has two of the largest hospitals in the country, Jackson Doe Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County and the Ganta United Methodist Hospital. One of Liberia’s popular tourist destinations, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, can also be found in Nimba County; it is located close to Yekepa .
Liberia, like many African countries is rich in natural resources, including iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, rubber and many more. During the nineteen fifties, iron ore was discovered in “The Iron Mountain” commonly known as Mount Nimba. A huge project, LAMACO (LiberianAmerican-Swedish Mining Company.) was set up in Yekepa, Nimba County, which contributed to Liberia’s economic and social development for decades. During this period, Liberia was among the most progressive countries in Africa. Unfortunate, because of the brutal civil war in Liberia, which resulted in the near destruction of Nimba County, this once source of economic strength in Liberia, the LAMCO is now defunct.
After years of civil war, Nimba is gradually rebuilding and things are improving. Arcelot-Mittal, a Luxembourgish multinational steel manufacturing corporation, has promised to reopen the iron mine at Nimba Mountain, outside Yekepa. The schools and hospitals that were once operated by LAMCO are currently being run by Arcelot-Mittal. Another sign of the county’s revitalization is the Ganta to Zwedru Road Project, which once completed will result in the connection of all major roads in Nimba County. This project will be funded by recent loans of US $29 million the Government of Liberia (GOL) recently received from the World Bank.
A natural paradise, Nimba County is one of Liberia’s beautiful counties, a county surrounded by beautiful mountain views, beautiful waterfalls, clear rivers and streams, and can boast of the country’s coldest weather. This county is definitely a place to visit during dry season, especially if you love spicy food like GB (traditional food of the Dan/Gio and mano), hiking and mountain views.