Joseph Jenkins Roberts was both the first and the seventh president of the nation of Liberia, and that nation honours his birthday as a national public holiday every 15 March.
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J. J. Roberts was one of only a handful of men who had the biggest impact on the founding of the nation of Liberia. He was born in the U.S., in Virginia, in 1809. But he later moved to Liberia, a U.S. colony for freed slaves, with his family in 1833. Sadly, his family died there within the first year after arrival.
But Roberts steadily rose in Liberian politics. In 1833, he was “high sheriff” of the colony. In 1839, he became vice governor. In 1841, he was colonial governor. When Liberia declared its independence in 1847, Roberts became its first president in 1848 after winning the 1847 election.
President Roberts won the several elections and served as president of Liberia for 8 years, but his two stints in office had a large gap between them. Thus, he became known as both the first and seventh president of the country.
For his role in the nation’s founding and the many contributions he made while in office as president, Joseph Jenkins Robert’s birthday was made a national holiday.