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Krahn is an ethnic group of Liberia, it is also the language traditionally spoken by these people.

Ethnic group

The Krahn are a native tribe of people, who were present in the area known as Liberia before the formation of this country.

When Liberia was founded in 1847 the Americo-Liberians tended to live on the coast, with the native tribes (including the Krahn) residing inland.

It is thought that the Krahn were traditionally farmers, growing food, and keeping a few animals. Hunting and fishing was also practised. In terms of religion, many Krahn believe that objects have spirits or souls (animism).


There are two variations of the language, Eastern and Western Krahn.

Western Krahn is spoken in parts of Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia. From 1991 and 1993 research, there were an estimated 47,800 speakers in Liberia and 12,200 in Côte d'Ivoire.

Eastern Krahn tends to be spoken natively only in Liberia, with a 1991 estimate of the number of speakers at about 47,000.

There are many dialects of both of these languages. Dialects in Côte d'Ivoire tend to have a French influence.

When the Krahn leader Samuel Doe came to power in Liberia (through a military coup in 1980) many Krahn speakers moved from the inland areas to the capital Monrovia. It is thought though that many ethnic Krahn brought up in the city will have not used the language.

Following the removal of the Samuel Doe in 1989, and the onset of civil war, refugees have fled from Liberia to Côte d'Ivoire some taking the Krahn language with them.