Ethnic Origin

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 from the Sudan they found a people called the Kono occupying a fertile tract of forest and cultivated fields. They went to war with the Konos, invaded their land and drove a wedge through the center of that group, splitting it in two.

One half of the Konos was forced west into Sierra Leone, where they are today; the other half fled to the northeast into French Guinea.

It has been suggested that the Konos were in fact a Kissi advance-guard who, having been sent south on reconnaissance to find new land, settled here without bothering to send word back to their people, and married the women of neighboring peoples.