The Bandi

Old Bandi myths refer to a large inland area of water as being the place of origin of the Bandi, and state that they came to Liberia from that point several centuries ago. Their legends would seem to allude to Lake Chad; but Paramount Chief Jallah of the Bandi describes the movement of the Bandi as having been generally southward from some undetermined point far north in what is now…Keep Reading

The Origin of Wubomai

Condensed from reports made by Paul Korvah and Mr. S. Atkinson, the sequence of this legend has suffered damage while in transit through many generations and does not explain how a Bandi clan became part of the Loma tribe. In olden times there was a mighty Bandi chief called Fonikgema; he was the richest and most powerful man in all the region of Halipo, and although his family name was…Keep Reading

The Kuwaa

The Kuwaa are sandwiched between the Loma, Gola, and Bandi in the northwest Liberian hinterland, and though they are well isolated from the Kru group in general, the Bureau of Folkways describes the language and customs of the Kuwaa as bearing a distinct resemblance to those of the Kru to the south and east. There is other equally convincing evidence that the Kuwaa are blood-brothers of the Kru, Grebo, Bassa,…Keep Reading

Origin of the Dey

According to legend, a man called Baa Gaa Volen Bili was the father of the Deys; he had two sons, Baa Gaa Gao and Baa Fai. Baa Fai was the first Propro Kan of Gawlon, or the original grand Master of the Dey degree of Poro. These ancestors lived on Bilisue, or Cat Mountain, which is today Maban Point on Cape Montserrado; it is said that wild cats lived in…Keep Reading

The Gola

The Gola people seem to have been among the first to migrate to the region of Liberia. Their language is difficult to classify; it is virtually distinct from neighboring languages, and is possibly a direct descendant of the mother tongue of West Africa. The Gola were an invading group from the Upper Sudan, a turbulent and aggressive people who first settled in the Kongba Forest. They were skillful fighters and…Keep Reading

The Origin of the Grebo and Wlebo

In his ‘Tribes of the Liberian Hinterland’ George Schwab relates a Grebo legend pertaining to the origin of that group. The legend holds that the Grebo, who used to live in the interior, came down-river in canoes to an uninhabited part of the coast and made their first settlement at Rocktown. Just before they reached the coast several of their canoes capsized, possible at a sand bar across the river’s…Keep Reading

How Women Found Men

When the world began men and women lived apart in two separate groups. The women lived in a swamp and they did not know such creatures as men existed; the men dwelt in the hills, and none of them had ever seen a woman. There came a time of heavy rains when the water in the women’s swamp rose so high that all the fires were killed, and thus the…Keep Reading

The Kissi

The Kissi were, like the Gola, one of the first people to settle in Liberia. Their language belongs to what is known as the West Atlantic Group, part of a larger classification of ‘class-languages’ which stretches from Lake Chad to the Senegal river. The Kissi are a muscular and thickset people, proud and stubborn as well as being accomplished fighters. Paramount Chief Quirmolu states that when the Kissi came south…Keep Reading

Origin of the Sande Society

In ages gone by there lived a woman called Sande who earned her living fishing. She was so successful that after some years there were no fish left in the rivers of that country. Hearing of a fine river in a nearby land she left her town and went there, and began to fish. The Chief of that land warned her not to walk in a certain part of the…Keep Reading

How Spirit Societies Began

A man was walking through a forest when he came upon a deserted village, and since he was far from home and night was falling, he decided to sleep in one of the village houses. He entered the largest house and climbed into the loft, between the ceiling and the roof. While the man was asleep the moon arose and a Gofe came into the house. A Gofe is an…Keep Reading

The Kru

The largest language family in Liberia is that of the Kru, which includes six groups — the Kru proper, Bassa, Grebo, Krahn, Dey and Belle. The Kru proper, Bassa and Grebo offer the main bulk, occupying the coastal lowlands between Monrovia and Cape Palmas. The Coastal Krus are seafarers and quite fearless. They are typical Negro stock, sturdy and good-natured, intelligent and industrious. They were never sold into slavery; they…Keep Reading

The Oracle of Ku-Jopleh

Ku-Jopleh was the oracle of the Kru groups, and lived in a cave on the heights of Mount Jidiah, just as the oracle of the Putu lived in a cave on the slopes of Mount Gedah. Ku-Jopleh was a powerful oracle and possessed unnatural wisdom; the Kru groups along the coast worshipped him and sought his counsel in times of need; but he was particularly venerated by the Sasstown Krus….Keep Reading