Liberia got its name from the group of Quakers and slaveholders who wanted to repatriate freed Black people to Africa, a report by PBS explains. The group, known as the American Colonization Society, planned to send freed Black people back to Africa instead of having them potentially causing an uprising in America. The scheme of creating an entire country full of freed Black people from America ultimately resulted in the land being deemed Liberia, which translates to “Land of Freedom.”
In 1462, Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra mapped the hills around what is now known as Freetown Harbour. As he mapped the landscape, he deemed the formation Serra da Leoa, Portuguese for “lioness mountains,” according to the Kingfisher Geography Encyclopedia. The name was eventually adapted and the now misspelled term for the majestic mountains became the country’s new name — Sierra Leone.