Video Source: Youtube
Flag Source: CIA World Factbook
Gabon is named for the gabão, a kind of Portuguese cloak that 15th-century explorers thought resembled the estuary of the Como River. Throughout the 16th century, the Dutch, British, and French traveled along the coast, as it had become an important location in the slave trade, but slave-trading activity dwindled after France abolished the institution of slavery in 1815. The French took an active role in preventing illegal slave ships from operating in the area, and in 1839 and 1841, France signed treaties with coastal chiefs to become an official protector of the region. In 1849 the French captured an illegal slave ship and released the slaves near the entrance of the Como River.
The new residents established Libreville, which is today Gabon’s largest city and the capital. The French moved deeper into the country and eventually made Gabon a part of French Congo; in 1910 the region became a territory within French Equa
torial Africa. Gabon received its independence from France on August 17, 1960. The first elected president was Léon M’ba, who served until his death, in 1967. Thanks to its abundance of natural resources, Gabon became a member of OPEC in 1975. Today it is one of the most prosperous countries on the continent.
The Top 5: Local Advice
1. The capital and largest city of Gabon is Libreville, located on the shores of the Como River and the Atlantic Ocean.
2. The currency used in Gabon is the Central African CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine) Franc, which is also used in some other parts of Africa, including Cameroon and Chad.
3. Gabon has a number of newspapers available, including L’Union, a daily newspaper published by the government, as well as Le Temps and Le Temoin, which are privately published weeklies.
4. The official language of Gabon is French. Fang and many other local languages are spoken as well.
5. There are currently no restrictions on lighting up in public, unless otherwise noted.