Charles Taylor is a former politician from Liberia, who served as the President of the country for six years. This biography provides detailed information about his childhood, profile, career and timeline
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Also Known As: Charles McArthur Taylor, Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor
Born In: Arthington, Liberia
Famous As: Former President Of Liberia
Political Ideology: Political Party – National Patriotic Party
Spouse/Ex-: Jewel Taylor
Father: Nelson Taylor
Mother: Bernice Taylor
Children: Beuford Jensen Taylor, Camille Grace Taylor, Charal Gina Taylor, Charen Zally Taylor, Charles McArther Emmanuel, Charlyne Adrina Taylor, Charmaine Taylor, Gritchawn Taylor, Phillip Charles Taylor, Silvia Zoe Taylor
Founder/Co-Founder: Revolutionary United Front
Education: Bentley University
Charles Taylor is a former politician from the country of Liberia, who is said to have adopted ‘Ghankay’ as his middle name to appease the natives of the country. He graduated from ‘Bentley College’ in U.S.A., and came back to Liberia to take part in a revolt against the President Tolbert.
The young man began his career in the government led by Samel Doe, only to be charged with theft, three years into the job. He was arrested after escaping to the U.S., after which he fled from prison and settled in Libya. After getting trained by Libyan dictator Gaddafi, he returned to Liberia, overthrew Samuel Doe and soon became the President of his homeland.
During his guerrilla career, he had allegedly helped cause the ‘Sierra Leone Civil War’, recruiting child soldiers, and killing many citizens. Meanwhile, as President, he was detested, and soon the ‘Second Liberian Civil War’ broke out. He was forced to resign from his post, and went into exile in Nigeria. However, he was found guilty of war crimes as well as several other charges. After being sentenced by the ‘Special Court for Sierra Leone’, to 50 years of imprisonment, he was being detained in a prison in Netherlands.
Childhood & Early Life
Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor was born to Nelson and his wife Bernice, on January 28, 1948, in the town of Arthington, Liberia. While Bernice belonged to the Gola tribe of Liberia, Nelson was an Americo-Liberian, who did various kinds of jobs like that of a teacher, lawyer and judge.
Charles graduated from ‘Bentley College’ at the city of Waltham, Massachusetts, U.S.A., in 1977.
After graduating, this young man came back to Liberia to work for the leader of the country, Samuel Doe. Taylor took part in the uprising of April 12, 1980, under the leadership of Doe, against the President William R. Tolbert, Jr. Tolbert was killed in the coup and a military rule was established by Doe’s party, ‘People’s Redemption Council’.
Charles was made the Director General of the ‘General Services Agency’ (‘GSA’), an organization that was responsible for making procurements for the government. In 1983, he was removed from the post because he had stolen $1000000 from the government for personal use.
Though he tried to escape to the United States of America, he was arrested by U.S. officials and imprisoned at the ‘Plymouth County House of Corrections’ in Massachusetts. The convict tried to convince that he was being incriminated for political reasons rather than criminal, but to no avail.
The prisoner took the help of a few other convicts and fled from the jail on September 15, 1985. According to news reports they had cut through a bar outside a window, sliding down using tied up sheets, and finally disappearing into the woods.
Though reports say that the inmates were assisted by Taylor’s wife Enid and her sister Lucia, the man himself claimed much later that he was helped by CIA agents.
After escaping from the United States, he sought refuge in Libya, and was trained in guerrilla warfare, by revolutionary Muammar Gaddafi. Charles moved to Ivory Coast in West Africa, and formed the ‘National Patriotic Front of Liberia’ (‘NPFL’), a group of mutineers.
From Ivory Coast, the revolutionary led the ‘First Liberian Civil War’ in 1989, with the aim of ousting President Samuel Doe. Within the next year, under his leadership the ‘NPFL’ had taken over most of the country.
The same year, one of his senior officers, Prince Johnson separated from the ‘NPFL’ to form the ‘Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia’ (‘INPFL’). Johnson seized the city of Monrovia, apprehended Doe, and tortured the latter to death.
After Johnson’s entry, the civil war turned even more violent and became the cause of ethnic divide in the country. The war lasted for seven long years and finally came to an end in 1996.
In 1997, general elections were held in Liberia, and Taylor was one of the presidential candidates. The elections were organized by the ‘United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia’ (‘UNOMIL’), in association with the ‘Economic Community of West African States’.
The ‘NPFL’ leader won a majority of the votes and was elected the President of Liberia. Though the elections were mostly fair, possibilities of citizens being scared of him could not be ruled out.
Within two years, citizens started resenting the President’s rule. In 1999, an insurgent group by the name of ‘Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy’ (‘LURD’) began protesting against the ruling government, thus paving the way for the ‘Second Liberian Civil War’.
Within a span of four years, the ‘LURD’, which was believed to have been assisted by the government of Guinea, had captured most of Liberia.
By 2003, a new rebel group called ‘Movement for Democracy in Liberia’ (‘MODEL’) had sprung up. ‘MODEL’ was supported by the government of Ivory Coast, and soon took over the southern part of Liberia.
On March 7, 2003, Taylor was accused of participation in the ‘Sierra Leone Civil War’. He was alleged by the Special Court for Sierra Leone, to have committed crimes against humanity by helping ‘Revolutionary United Front’ (RUF) kill more than 50,000 citizens. He was also accused of having employed child soldiers for the ‘RUF’ in the brutal war.
The court of Sierra Leone also alleged that Taylor had given refuge to the Al-Qaeda members who were wanted for the bomb blasts in Kenyan and Tanzanian U.S. embassies.
In July, the same year, the Liberian President lost control of Monrovia, and had to seek exile in Nigeria, after orders from U.S. President George W. Bush. Bush urged Charles to resign, and the President of Liberia was forced to leave office on August 11, 2003.
After surrendering his government to his Vice-President Blah, he went to the city of Calabar in Nigeria. In November, the ‘United States Congress’ offered a reward of two million dollars to anyone who could help the U.S. government arrest Taylor.
Three years later, in 2006, the new President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, requested the Nigerian government to hand over custody of Charles. On March 25 the request was approved, but soon, the former Liberian President was missing.
Later that month, while Charles was attempting to escape through Cameroon, he was arrested by border guards who found cash and heroin in his vehicle. He was brought back to Libya, from where he was taken to Sierra Leone for his trial.
The court of Sierra Leone found the former political leader to be guilty of eleven charges, including rape, murder and torture. After attending a series of court proceedings, he is currently being held in the Netherlands, where in 2012 he was sentenced to 50 years of imprisonment.
Personal Life & Legacy
The Liberian political leader was initially married to Enid Tupee Taylor, from Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
In 1997, Charles got married to Jewel Cianeh Howard, but they separated after nine years’ of marriage. Currently Jewel is the Senior Senator of Liberia.
The former President has fifteen children from various wives and girlfriends.
This politician has been adapted into a character in Russell Banks’ novel ‘The Darling’, which was published in 2004.
Four years later, the political leader featured in a documentary movie titled ‘Pray the Devil Back to Hell’.
‘Lord of the War’, a Nicolas Cage starrer, featured a character named Andre Baptiste, Sr., which was partly inspired by this former President of Liberia