President William V. S. Tubman, 1944 - 1971
William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman, (born Nov. 29, 1895; died July 23, 1971), was one of Liberia's most effective presidents. He studied to be a lay Methodist preacher and subsequently entered public service. During the 1920s and '30s, after earning a law degree, he served in the Liberian Senate, where he championed the cause of the tribes of the interior against the established oligarchy. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1937 and served as Liberia's president from 1944 until his death. Tubman encouraged foreign capital investments, granted the franchise to women, encouraged tribes-people to participate in government, built up public schools, and expanded revenues, public services, and the army. He insisted that customary tribal laws be maintained insofar as they were "humane and reasonable" but also tried to encourage the immigration of westernized blacks from the United States, the West Indies, and the British West African colonies.
One of the first official acts of Tubman's administration was the declaration of war against Nazi Germany and Japan. Liberia became an important country in the supply line of the Allied troops. The U.S. constructed the Free Port of Monrovia and build a temporary landing strip on the beaches of Robertsport.
After the conclusion of War World II, several key events took place in Liberia. Liberia celebrated 100 years of independence in July of 1947. Education was one of President Tubman's top priority. Liberia College was expanded and became the University of Liberia. Teacher training schools were expanded or established throughout Liberia to train the desperately needed instructors for primary and secondary schools. A domestic arts school and commercial school were started. Several agricultural stations were placed throughout the country to educate the people of the new methods for raising crops and live stock.
Another achievement of the Tubman administration is the development of the iron ore industry in Liberia. The first company to export iron or was the Liberian Mining Company of Bomi Hills. The ore was of the highest quality in the world and transported to Monrovia for shipping to Baltimore, Maryland where the Republic Steel Company refined the ore. Later Bong Mine and Nimba Range were mined for iron by Bong Mining Co. (a Germany company) and LAMCO (Liberian America-Swedish Mining Company) respectively.
With the new revenue of the iron ore and rubber industry, Tubman began developing the Capital of Monrovia. In 1949, an new Capital Building began being constructed. Also, with the assistance of the U.S. Government, a hydroelectric plant was built on the St. Paul River. A water and sewage system were also completed. Road and highways were developed to make traveling and bringing the agricultural good to the coast much easier.
Another large increase in revenue resulted when Liberia began ship registrations. Sometime called the "flag of convenience," many ships on the open seas began registrating under the Liberian flag. The fees were far less than many other countries, but the resulting revenue enabled Liberia to be solvent for the first time in its history in 1951.
Tubman expanded Liberia cooperation throughout his tenure including hosting Peace Corps Volunteers in its first years of existence.