Harper, situated on Cape Palmas, is the capital of Maryland County in Liberia. It is a coastal town situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Hoffman River. Harper is Liberia's 11th largest town, with a population of 17,837.
Harper in 2004
The town is named after Robert Goodloe Harper, a prominent U.S. politician and member of the American Colonization Society. It was he who proposed the name Liberia for the American Colonization Society's settlement in Africa, and the town of Harper was named in honor of him. Harper was the capital of the short-lived Republic of Maryland.
During the 1970s, Harper was terrorized by ritual killings. The crimes have been regarded as "Liberia's most notorious ritual killing case" due to the number of murders, the involvement of high ranking government officials and their subsequent public executions.
Before the First Liberian Civil War, Harper was an important administrative centre. Harper is slowly being rebuilt but without central electricity or water. No hotels and few low standard guesthouses and restaurants are functional. Tubman University, one of only two public universities in Liberia, is located in Harper.
Magnificent unexploited beaches stretch for miles on both sides of Harper and warm ocean temperature year round. Fish are found in abundance, as well as whales, dolphins and large oysters. Fanti Canoes sail from Harper to Monrovia via Greenville. This trip can take from 3 to 6 days depending on the wind and weather. A UNMIL ship, the MV Catarina, sails fortnightly between Harper and Monrovia. From the Ivory Coast, Harper is accessible from Tabou.
One of the town's most famous residents is President William Tubman, who was born in Harper.
Cape Palmas is considered to be one of the traditional hometowns of the Americo-Liberians, descendants of freed slaves from the United States who settled in Liberia and declared it an independent country in 1847. John Brown Russwurm, an African American abolitionist and governor of Monrovia, was buried in Harper after his death. There is a statue to commemorate his grave site.
- 2008 National Population And Housing Census. Government Of The Republic Of Liberia.
- Maryland Historical Society Library: Harper-Pennington Papers, 1701-1899, MS. 431
- Aimé Muyoboke Karimunda (16 March 2016). The Death Penalty in Africa: The Path Towards Abolition. Taylor & Francis. pp. 82–. ISBN 978-1-317-03633-3.
Media related to Harper, Liberia at Wikimedia Commons