Nimba History

Nimba was part of the central province of Liberia which included Bong and Lofa. It became a full-fledged county in 1964 when president William V.S. Tubman changed the provinces into counties.

Nimba became one of the original nine counties of Liberia. Over the years, other sub-divisions have been added making the total of 15 counties. Nimba is located in the North-East Region of the country. The size of Nimba is 4,650 square miles. In his book, Liberia Facing Mount Nimba, Dr. Nya Kwiawon Taryor, Sr. revealed that the name of the county "Nimba", originated from "Nenbaa ton" which means slippery mountain where beautiful young girls slip and fall. Mount Nimba is the highest mountain in Liberia.

Nimba is the second largest county in Liberia in terms of population. Before the civil war in 1989, there were over 313,050 people in the county according to the 1984 census. Montserrado County is the largest county in terms of population.

Nimba is also one of the richest in Liberia. It has the largest deposit of high grade iron ore. Other natural resources found in Nimba are gold, diamonds, timber, etc.

In the late 50's, Nimba's huge iron ore reserve was exploited by LAMCO-the Liberian-American Swedish Mining Company. A considerable portion of Liberia's Gross Domestic Product, GDP, was said to have been generated from revenues from Nimba's iron ore for several years.

The Flag of Nimba County: - (Valor, Purity and Fidelity reflected in the stripes) (insert flag here)

There are negotiations going on for a new contract for the iron ore in Nimba. The new company, Mittal Steel, is set to take over LAMCO,Yekepa. The terms of the contract are still being negotiated. Mittal Steel is investing over a billion dollars in the mines according to reports.

Nimba has now been divided into five districts for administrative purposes. Each new district has its own assistant superintendent. Sanniquellie Maan District, Gbehlay Geh District, Zoe-Geh District, Saclepea - Mah Chiefdom and Tappeta District.

Major Cities

The major towns/cities of Nimba are: Bahn,Ganta, Karnplay, Mehnla,Saclepea, Sanniquellie,Tappeta, and Zekepa. Ganta, the second largest city in Liberia is also Nimba's commercial and most populous city. Sanniquellie is Nimba's capital city.

Leaders of the County

Before Nimba became a county, it was governed by District Commissioners. Here is the list of the commissioners that governed Nimba from 1914 to 1964. (Courtesy of Sanniquellie City- Billboard of History):

Nimba first Superintendent was the late Hon. Gabriel G. Farngalo. Gabriel was one of the first indigenous Liberians to obtain higher education. He was a product of John Hopkins and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

District Commissioners - DCs
1914 - 1964

Hon. Samuel Smith
1914 - 1917
Hon. Boimah Sandimani
1917 - 1918
Hon. A.R. Draper
1918 - 1922
Hon. David Carter
1922 - 1928


Hon. Scott Montgomery
1928 - 1928
Hon. Samuel Gardner
1928 - 1930
Hon. Joseph Watson
1930 - 1931
Hon. J. Reeves
1931 - 1932


Hon. George Dunbar
1932 - 1940
Hon. E. C. Jones
1928 - 1930
Hon. J.K. Padmore
1941 - 1942
Hon. Oscar S. Norman
1942 - 1945


Hon. Stephen S. Togba
1945 - 1948
Hon. J. Marsh
1948 - 1949
Hon. J. S. Milton
1949 -1950
Hon. Daniel T. Bropleh
1950 - 1951


Hon. Samuel T. Voker
1951 - 1952
Hon. Allen H. Williams
1952 - 1960
Hon. Charles H. Williams
1960 - 1964





Superintendents
1964 - Present

Hon. Gabriel G. Farngalo
1964 - 1968
Hon. Samuel T. Voker
1968 - 1972
Hon. David G. Dwanyen
1981 - 1983
Hon. David M. Toweh
1974 - 1977


Hon. Fulton J. Dunbar
1977 - 1980
Hon. Robert G. Saye
1980 - 1981
Hon. Joseph N. Farngalo
1981 - 1983
Hon. Gondaa Walkie
1983 - 1986


Hon. Stephen Daniels
986 - 1990
Hon. Jackson J. Paye
1990 - 1990
Hon. Henry B. Barhn
1991 - 1993
Hon. Princeton Monmia
1993 - 1994


Hon. Edward K. Mineh
1994 - 1998
Hon. James D. Zota, Sr.
1998 - 1999
Hon. S.Yarloh Saywon
1999 - 2001
Mme. Rachel M. Yeaney
2001 - 2003


Hon. Harrison Karnwea
2003 - 2006
Hon. Robert Karmen
2006 - 2009
Mme. Edith Gongloe Weh
2009 - present


Other interesting facts

about Nimba County

There are five major ethnic groups in Nimba: Maan, Daan, Mandingo, Krahn, and Gbii. We also have Bassa and Kpelle along our border towns in the county. How the Maans and Daans became "Gios and Manos" and "Garpa and Sein Gbein" became "Ganta and Sanniquellie"- here were no words such as "GIO" or "MANO" until "Maan and Daan" were corrupted by tax collectors of the Kpelle ethnic group in Liberia. Normally, the Maans refer to the Daans as " Geh-mian" so our Kpelle brothers corrupted the word "Geh" to "Gio". They also added an "o" to the word " Maan" and called it "Mano", meaning the Maan people. Gio also means the people of Nimba who speak Daan or Geh-way. Ganta and Sanniquellie are called Garpa and Sein Gbein respectively. Here again, our Kpelle brothers added "ta" and 'quellie" to make Ganta and Sanniquellie. "Ta' means town and ' Quellie stands for "quater". Sein Gbein started as a quarter named after "Sein". Garpa and Seingbein have since been called "Ganta and Sanniquellie" respectively. Ganta is also referred to sometimes as "Gumpa". Stay tuned for more updated facts about Nimba.