Capital : Libreville
Size: 103 000 sq m Popn: 1 237 000
Bantu immigrants displaced the Pygmies in this area with the Fang and Omiene colonising the area from the C16th to C18th. The coastline was explored by Portugal in the C15th and the slave trade was established. Other European traders came in the C19th.
In 1849, Libreville was founded by the French as a settlement for freed slaves and Gabon was annexed as part of the French Congo in the 1880s. From 1910, it was a province in French Equatorial Africa and became independent in 1960 under the democratically elected Leon M'ba in a coalition with his old rival Jean-Hilaire Aubame.
Shortly before elections in 1964, Aubame was installed by the army but France sent soldiers to restore M'ba and he won a comfortable election majority, dying in 1967 and being succeeded by his Vice-President, Albert-Bernard (Omar) Bongo who made Gabon a one-party state. He has ruled for over 20 years with French support despite serious riots in Port Gentil and Libreville and chaotic elections in 1990. Gabon has rich depsoits of iron, uranium and manganese and has more money per capita than any other black African country which has helped the government to overcome opposition.
The people are from the Fang, Eshira and Adonma groups, French is the official language with Fang and Mpongwe spoken and Christianity existing with traditional beliefs.
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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