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People occupying central Liberia and part of Guinea. Numbering about one million, the Kpelle speak a Mande language of the Niger-Congo languages. They form about one-fifth of the population of Liberia. They are primarily rice farmers; cash crops include peanuts, sugarcane, and kola nuts. They are known for their elaborate secret societies (Poro for men, Sande for women), which serve a variety of social and political functions.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Kpelle, visit Britannica.com.
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