World History

Gabon | History, Capital, Language, Flag, Facts

History of Gabon:

The first human settlers to Gabon were the pygmies. In the 13th century, the Bantu tribe invaded the area primarily to flee from enemies or to seek new lands. The first European to visit this country was the Portuguese in the 15th century. They named the country Gavao or Mantle because the shape of the Como River resembled the mantle.

Soon the French, Dutch and British arrived in Gabon. The area became an important center of the slave trade. In 1885 France occupied Gabon and in 1910 made it part of French Equatorial Africa. Gabon was part of this group until her independence in 1960. Since then, Gabon has had two longtime dictators. The first was Leon Mba and the second was El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba.

Information about Gabon:

Capital Libreville
Population 2,445,160 (Source: 2023 worldometer)
Major Cities Libreville (capital), Port-Gentil, Franceville, Oyem, and Moanda
Borders Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon to north, the Republic of the Congo to east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to west
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $21,071,739,228 (2022 worldometer)
Currency Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note – responsible authority is the Bank of the Central

Flag of Gabon:

Gabon Economy Key Industries:

Gabon Major Industries: petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, gold; chemicals, ship repair, food and beverages, textiles, lumbering and plywood, cement

Gabon Agricultural Products:  cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; cattle; okoume (a tropical softwood); fish

Gabon Natural Resources: petroleum, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower

Gabon Major Exports: crude oil 77%, timber, manganese, uranium (2001)

Gabon Major Imports: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials

The Geography of Gabon:

Total Size of Gabon: 270,000 km2 (source: wikipedia)

Geographical Low Point of Gabon: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Geographical High Point of Gabon: Mont Iboundji 1,575 m

Climate of Gabon: tropical; always hot, humid

General Terrain of Gabon: narrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south

World Region or Continent of Gabon: Africa

Geographical Coordinates: 1 00 S, 11 45 E

The People of  Gabon & Culture

Gabon Government Type: republic; multiparty presidential regime

Gabon Nationality: Gabonese (singular and plural)

Gabon National Holiday: Founding of the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), 12 March (1968)

Gabon Independence: 17 August 1960 (from France)

Gabon National Symbol: black panther

Gabon National Anthem or Song: La Concorde (The Concorde)

Gabon Languages Spoken: French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi

Gabon Religions: Christian 55%-75%, animist, Muslim less than 1%

Interesting Facts about Gabon:

Most of Gabon’s land area is 80-85% covered by rainforest, of which 11% is reserved as national parks, making them the largest natural parks in the world. Of Gabon’s 14 national parks, 13 were all declared by the late President El Hadj Omar Bongo on the same day, 30 August 2002.

It has an astounding 885 kilometers of coastline, with wonderful sandy beaches and beautiful blue waters to explore. I want to go!

Gabon has hundreds of dolomite and limestone caves, many of which are yet to be explored. There are many such caves in Gabon, so people encounter one cave after another. Many of these caves are still unknown as much of the land remains covered in natural forest.

Gabon was the center of the slave trade. Gabon’s capital Libreville (“Free City”) was founded by freed slaves.

Mask-making and ritual face painting are important parts of Gabonese culture, and styles vary greatly between groups. Gabonese pay tribute to their ancestors by making masks.

Gabon is a country where people who don’t vote are punished. Since voting is compulsory, those who dare not vote may have to pay hefty fines later.

About 80% of the African gorilla population lives in Gabon. The country captures the majority of baboons, with 8 out of 10 African baboons found in Gabon.

Gabon’s population is predominantly young, with 40% of the total population under the age of 15. About 56% of the total population is between the ages of 15 and 64. Less than 4% of the population is over the age of 65.

Gabon’s Loango National Park has more than 175 kilometers of uninhabited coastline. It is considered one of Africa’s last great coastal natural areas.