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Buchanan is the third largest city in Liberia, lying on Waterhouse Bay, part of the Atlantic Ocean. It is referred to as Gbezohn in the local Bassa language. As of the 2008 census, Buchanan has a population of 34,270. Of this, 16,984 were male and 17,286 female. Named for Thomas Buchanan, cousin of U.S. president James Buchanan and first governor of Liberia, it is also the capital of Grand Bassa and lies 70 miles (110 km) southeast of Monrovia, near the mouth of the Saint John River. The town was popular with refugees during the Liberian Civil War[disambiguation needed ] as it largely escaped the fighting. Fishing is an important industry in the town. The town also has isolated beaches and lagoons.
In December 1832, the Port Cresson colony was founded in what is now Buchanan, by black Quakers of the New York and Pennsylvania Colonization Societies.. It was established as a settlement for black emigrants from the United States. The emigrants named the settlement in honor of Elliott Cresson, a Philadelphia merchant and Pennsylvania Colonization Society founder who funded their voyage to Liberia. In June 1835, Bassa tribal members destroyed the Americo-Liberian colony of Port Cresson.