Gabon Facts

Gabon Facts and History


Gabon – One of the rich countries in Africa

Gabon is one of Africa s richest countries.

The extensive forest cover in the West African equatorial state allows the export of tropical timber. Gold and uranium are found beneath the forests and substantial oil reserves have been discovered off the coast. In addition to these economically interesting mineral resources, the depths of Gabon also hold a scientifically interesting treasure: the Oklo natural reactor.

About two billion years ago, a nuclear chain reaction started in a uranium deposit near Oklo. For over 500,000 years, several tons of uranium were fissured and plutonium was produced. Today it is assumed that inflowing water moderated the nuclear fission.

It is also worth mentioning that the famous doctor and philanthropist Albert Schweitzer founded a hospital in Gabon. In 1954, “Le Grand Docteur” received the Nobel Peace Prize for it.

Name of the country Republic of Gabonaise
Name in German Gabonese Republic
Form of government Presidential Republic
Geographical location Equatorial Africa on the Atlantic coast
National anthem La Concorde
Population about 2 million (Credit: Countryaah: Gabon Population)
Ethnicities approx. 40 Bantu peoples, mainly Fang (approx. 26%) and Punu (24%)
Religions approx. 41% Catholics, 13% Protestants, 40% followers of natural religionsand about 6% Muslims
Languages French is the official language.
Capital Libreville
Surface 267,667 km²
Highest mountain Mont Milondo with a height of 1,020 m
Longest river Ogooué with a length of over 1,200 km
Largest lake Lac Onangué
International license plate G
National currency CFA franc
Time difference to CET CET applies.
International phone code 00241
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts and 50 hertz
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .ga

Gabon: history

Early history

Archaeological finds have already proven a Stone Age settlement in what is now Gabon. The first residents of the country were probably hunter-gatherer groups of the pygmies. From the 11th century onwards, they were displaced by the Bantu peoples advancing from the north and retreated into the rainforests.

From the 15th to the 18th century

According to Abbreviationfinder website, in 1472 the country was discovered by the Portuguese navigator Lopo Goncalves. In the 17th century, the Fang Bantu tribes migrated to the country, who subsequently expanded and dominated the slave and ivory trade with the Europeans. The Gabon coast became the center of the Portuguese slave trade in the early 19th century.

In the 19th century

In 1839 the French landed in the Gabon estuary and then acquired the first land from the ruler Antchouwé Kowe Rapontchombo. In 1849 Libreville was founded as a settlement for freed slaves. In 1883 Gabon became part of French Equatorial Africa and from 1910 it was administered separately. The north of the country belonged to German Cameroon from 1911 to 1918. Albert Schweizer (1875 to 1965) founded his jungle hospital in Lambaréné in 1913, where he worked until 1965.

In the 20th and 21st centuries

Gabon gained independence from France on August 17, 1960. A coalition government under Leon M’Ba was formed. In 1964 the first attempted coup took place. In 1967, after the death of Leon M’Ba, Albert-Bernard Bongo Ondimba (born 1935; after converting to Islam: Omar Bongo) took over the office of President. In 1968 the unity PDG (Parti Démocratique Gabonais) was founded. The country’s oil reserves enabled rapid economic growth. In 1973 Gabon became a member of OPEC. The country came closer to Libya and the president converted to Islam. In 1974 Gabon, whose population was then less than 1% Muslim, joined the Islamic Conference and officially became an Islamic country.

In the 1980s civil unrest increased, but was suppressed with the help of the secret police. In 1986, Bongo became president for the third time. Falling oil prices triggered an economic crisis in 1988. In 1989 violent unrest led to a constitutional amendment, the introduction of a multi-party system and more freedom of the press. In 1990 the murder of the opposition politician Joseph Rendjambe sparked unrest and protests. On the occasion of attacks on a consulate, the French military intervened.

Bongo’s early parliamentary elections in September 1990 were won again by the PDG. In 1993 Omar Bongo was re-elected President. Nationwide riots broke out. In October 1994 the “Paris Treaties” on the continuation of the democratization process were signed with international participation, the implementation of which was subsequently confirmed in a referendum. In 1998, Bongo emerged again as the winner of the presidential election.

In December 2005, Omar Bongo was elected President for a further seven years. On the part of the opposition, however, he was accused of election manipulation. After a peaceful police-violent counter-demonstration in Libreville was ended, the government temporarily stationed soldiers in the capital. Bongo died as one of the longest serving presidents worldwide on June 8th 2009 in a hospital in Barcelona/Spain.

Gabon Facts