Chief Suah Koko: A Historic Figure
Today in Liberia there is a town, a clan and an entire chiefdom named in Suah Koko's honor. They reflect the status of Suah Koko as warrior, chief, and healer in Liberia.
At the turn of the 20th century, Liberia was divided between coastal Liberia and hinterland Liberia. The African Americans (commonly called Congoes in Liberia), who first came to West Afirca in the 1820s through the American Colonization Society, occupied a stretch of 40 miles from the littoral Atlantic coastline from Grand Cape Mount in the Southwest to Cape Palmas in the Southeast. The "hinterland" occupied the area of the interior beyond this 40 mile stretch. While the Congoes ruled coastal Liberia, various indigenous kings (and queens in rare cases such as Chief Suah Koko) ruled the hinterland. The Congoes interacted with hinterland indigenous people through commerce and trade. But the European conquest of Africa after the Berlin Conference (1884-85) forced Liberia to adopt European methods of effective occupation and control. A military (the Liberia Frontier Force, LFF) was organized in 1908 to carry out this mission.
Chief Suah Koko's role in the expansion of Liberia.
The Kingdom of Chief Suah Koko was a gateway to the northwestern and northeastern parts of hinterland Liberia. As indicated by Dr. Joseph Saye Guannu, Liberian historian, Chief Suah Koko, seeking peace after many battles, voluntarily gave her territory to the Liberian government. The Liberian government built a military barrack in Sergeant Kollile Ta (SKT), a town about a mile to the north of present day Suakoko Town. The position of SKT military barrack was useful in conquering Upper Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties.