HISTORY

A little history...


The history of Gabon before the fifteenth century is little known. However, prehistoric remains dating from the Paleolithic and Neolithic found along the valley of Ogooué including Lopé attest to a very old occupation (more than 400 000 years).

Around the thirteenth century: The peoples of the west (Myene, Mpongwe, Orungou and Galoa), are established in the country. Those of the south-west, whose Pounou, come from the Congo, those of the south-east (Nzebi, Teke) are related to the Bateke of Brazzaville. The installation of Fangs in the north is more recent. The Pygmies are the first known inhabitants of the Gabonese forest.

It was the Portuguese in 1472 who discovered the country and entered the Estuary region. They baptized the country "Gabao" then became "Gabon". In the mission of repression of the slave trade, the French navy obtained a first treaty which was signed in 1839 by King Denis RAPONTCHOMBO who ruled on the left bank of the Estuary of Gabon and obtained the right to install a base on the left bank of the Estuary and later on the right bank.

1844: The French create a military post in the estuary of Gabon. From then on, the French Catholic missions multiply in the country.

1849: Libreville is founded by slaves that French officers pulled from the holds of a slave ship.

Second half of the 19th century: The French extend their influence to the interior of the country, signing agreements with the peoples of the south-east.

Between 1875 and 1885: Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza explores the Ogooué and reaches the Congo River.

1886: After the border between German Cameroon and French Gabon was fixed at the Congress of Berlin, Gabon becomes a territory of the French colonial empire. The commercial companies of the metropolis receive large concessions and engage in the exploitation of okoumé. The development of the territory remains very limited.

From 1899: Gabon is attached to the French Congo, Libreville remains the capital of the territory thus extended.

1904: Libreville however loses this status in favor of Brazzaville.

1910: Gabon becomes a colony of French Equatorial Africa (A.E.F.).

The inter-war period was marked by the extension of forced labor, to which the colonial authorities resorted for the construction of the Congo-Océan railway. The conditions of life and work are such on the site, where 20 000 to 30 000 men are dead, they cause the first massive revolts against the French administration.

One of the voices raised to denounce the abuses is that of Léon M'Ba, named chief of the canton fang in 1922.

1933: Léon M'ba is exiled in Oubangui-Chari (current Central African Republic).

After 1941: Gabon is acquired in free France after deadly clashes between Vichy and Gaullist settlers.

1946: Gabon becomes French territory overseas, and recovers the Haut-Ogooué region. This region, home to the richest mineral deposits in Gabon, was transferred to the Congo in 1925.

1958: Gabon votes for its integration within the French Community. Léon M'Ba becomes the Prime Minister of the Autonomous Republic of Gabon. He faces criticism from most opposition parties, who criticize him for renouncing independence.

August 17, 1960: Proclamation of independence.

1967: Re-election of M'Ba who dies the same year. His vice-president, Albert Bernard Bongo, succeeds him.

1968: Bongo institutes a single-party system, based on the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG).

1990: Establishment of the multiparty system.