Kru Economic and the Grebo War

In the 1870s, the economic troubles facing Liberia worsened causing the national government to incorporate Kru economic power, which meant using the Kissi money. This also encouraged the settlers in the Cape Palmas and Sinoe areas to make alliances with the Kru and Grebo. The alliances were much easier to form in Maryland County than in Sinoe County, where tensions were higher and economic competition stiffer. This arrangement seems to have worked out till the Intra-Kru war in 1910.

The Grebo war (Intra -Kru war) broke out in 1910 between competing kingdoms as a fratricidal conflict among Grebos and Krus; the war later turns into rebellion against the Liberian government as the Cape Palmas Grebos revolted against the newly hut tax imposed by the Liberian government.

During the wars, the Kru attacked settler farms and the settlers counterattacked, preventing the Kru from voting in elections. Kabor and Gbeta towns were the main targets, as they usually led uprisings against the encroaching settlers. Kabor town and Settra Kru were burnt during this conflict. The wars disrupted trade in the area, hurting both Liberians settlers and Kru.

The USS Birmingham was sent to Liberia’s aide, and Kru towns were bombarded, with many killed in the process. The towns of Gbeta and Kabor were the last to surrender the fight and Peace restored after negotiated settlement.


Work and Community Among West Africa Migrant Workers, Diane Frost, 1999

The Kru Mariner in the 19th Century G.E. Brooks, Liberian Studies Monograph Series No. 1, 1972

Kru Wars, Anthony Barclay Morgan Jr, Seabreeze Journal of Liberian Writings, 2008.