Created in 2003 from territory previously known as Lower Lofa County, Gbarpolu is the newest of Liberia’s fifteen political sub-divisions. The County seat of Bopolu City is famous as the home and final resting place of King Sao Boso of the Kingdom of Suehn-Bopolu, who resolved the conflict between the settlers of the Mississippi Colonization Society and the natives, paving the way for their co-existence in the coastal areas. Bopolu also served as a stop along the route for the trans-Sahara trade. In spite of an illustrious history that far predates the arrival of the settlers from America, over the decades Bopolu and its environs slowly became an isolated and impoverished place.
The County was formed through the excision of two Statutory Districts, Bopolu and Gbarma, with five administrative districts – Gbarma and Kongba, and Bopolu, Belle and Bokomu respectively - from Lofa County, amalgamating them into six administrative districts - Bopolu, Gbarma, Kongba, Belle, Bokomu and Gou-Nwolala (the latter was excised from Bokomu District). The district seats are Bopolu City, which also serves as the County capital, Gbarma Town, Zuie Town, Belle Baloma, Gumgbeta and Palakwelleh respectively.
Most social services and infrastructure in Liberia have always been concentrated in Monrovia and a few coastal areas. The remainder of the country, including Gbarpolu County, has been largely neglected. The disparity in living standards between urban dwellers and those in the hinterland was a major cause of the civil conflict that took nearly a quarter of a million lives and left many homes and infrastructure destroyed.Gbarpolu County was one of the worst affected by the war.
In support of the decentralization initiatives by the Government of H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) established County Support Teams (CST) in each county to ensure a participatory and consolidated approach to addressing County challenges, supporting government through the Superintendent’s Office, and building the capacity of government institutions so that they can take over responsibility for security, reconstruction and development. The superintendent of Gbapolu is Allen M. Gbowee.
The County’s flag consists of a gold background on which a centrally placed diamond is flanked on the right by a tree symbolizes the richness of its resources. Given these resources, Gbarpolu County is well placed to recover strongly from the long national crisis.