For Marylanders these questions have a very personal resonance. That's because Liberians and Marylanders are vitally connected. Little known to Marylanders today are resilient historical ties: There is a county (equivalent to our states) in Liberia that bears the name "Maryland," because it was settled by African Americans from our state in 1854; and three of Liberia's early presidents were born in the U.S. State of Maryland. More recently, in 1973, Baltimore City established a Sister City relationship with Gbarnga, the capital city of Liberia's Bong County; and in 2007 Liberia became the State of Maryland's first African sister state partner through the Maryland-Liberia Sister State Committee, MLSS (agreements existed with some 10 other jurisdictions in Europe, Latin America and Asia). This Maryland-Liberia agreement is overseen by the Maryland secretary of state and includes two Liberian counties — Bong and Maryland — with the purpose of promoting mutual economic, cultural, educational and health development. In addition, the U.S. State of Maryland is host to one of this country's largest Liberian-American immigrant populations.