The name Liberia comes from the word liberty and refers to the nation's origin as a colony of freed African American slaves returning to Africa from the United States in the early 19th century. Formerly known as the Grain Coast after the melegueta pepper that was the primary export, these days it's valued for the tropical rainforest containing exotic hardwoods and mountain ranges in the northern region which are rich in iron ore, gold, and diamonds. Since 1989, two civil wars have plunged the country into chaos, led by violent military dictatorships, leading to the deaths of up to 200,000 people. Liberia is now on the road to recovery after UN and West African peace-keepers intervened and democratic elections voted in Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first African female head of state in 2005. This is good news for surfers because Liberia has the greatest concentration of quality lefthanders in just about all of Africa and combined with warm water, virgin line-ups and friendly locals, these empty barrels deserve more surfer's attention. Although first surfed in the 1970s by Peterson and Naughton, Liberia fell off the surfing map until 2004 when Magnus Wolfe Murray, a Scottish aid worker, reached the fabled lefts of Robertsport shortly after the war ended. In summer 2006, photographers John Callahan and Ted Grambeau took separate paths to Robertsport, bringing notable surfers Rarick, Cataldi, Bleakley, D'Orey and Dan Malloy, following the advice of Nicholai Lidow who had made surf trips there previously. Both teams scored epic barrelling lefthanders along a short stretch of southwest-facing coast that picks up the long-range, southern hemisphere S swells.