Gabon History Timeline

Gabon History Timeline

According to homosociety, Gabon is a country in western Central Africa. The country has a coastline towards the Gulf of Guinea and borders Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north and the Republic of Congo to the east and south. The country’s capital is Libreville.

Gabon is a relatively small country in the African context and the country is centrally located, just below the Equator. Although the country’s area is 268,000 km² and thus six times as large as Denmark, the country is very sparsely populated with a total population of less than 1½ million people.

It is unknown who the first residents of Gabon were, but they have left traces of Stone Age tools. Around 1100 BC. the pygmies came to Gabon. Over the next centuries, various Bantu tribes came to the area, their descendants still living in Gabon.

The country was originally sparsely populated by pygmy hunters, but from the 16th century onwards welcomed a significant immigration of Bantu people who spoke the language myene. They were later followed by other peoples.

Today, about half of the population consists of Bantu divided into 40 ethnic groups – i.a. galoaer, nkomier and irunguer. About a third of the population belongs to the fang and kwele peoples – predominantly in the northern part of the country – and in the south there are minorities of punus and nzabis.

The first Europeans to reach the coast of what is today Gabon were the Portuguese, who arrived in 1472, but it was not until the middle of the 19th century that the French, Dutch and British established permanent trading posts, through which trade in ivory, rare woods and slaves were conveyed.

In 1849, the city of Libreville was established, becoming a center for freed slaves from other French colonies. The area did not immediately offer economically attractive activities, so the French used it instead as a strategic base for its expeditions to the interior of the continent.

In 1990, Bongo was pressured to introduce a multi-party system, but he has subsequently managed to retain power, which he most recently regained for the sixth time in the presidential election in November 2005 with approx. 80% of the votes. He is thus the longest reigning president in the world.

There is agreement among the opposition parties that the government is not making sufficient efforts to fight corruption, and the issue of corruption is increasingly on the political agenda, not least after the IMF has demanded anti-corruption legislation. An increasing popular distrust of the government can also be traced, e.g. amplified by the declining standard of living, which has led to strikes and social unrest. However, President Bongo continues to have a solid grip on power.

Gabon is one of the richest countries in Africa – only three countries in sub-Saharan Africa have a higher GNP per capita. capita – but a very skewed income distribution means that half of the population lives below the poverty line. This is reflected in the UN Human Development Index for 2006, in which Gabon ranks 119th out of 177 countries. Oil is crucial to Gabon’s economy, but declining oil production due to depletion of reserves means Gabon is lagging behind.

The human rights situation in Gabon does not live up to international standards in all respects. There have been several reports of actions against government-critical media. There are also reports that members of the opposition have been harassed.

According to the Gabonese government, the prevalence of HIV / AIDS is on the rise. It is estimated that approx. 8 pct. of the population is infected with the disease.

Like other countries in Central and West Africa, Gabon is involved in trafficking in children, especially from Nigeria. The children sold in Nigeria work on plantations, in homes, in prostitution, or are sent out as street sweepers.


1840s – Gabon becomes a French protectorate when Gabonese chiefs sign treaties with France. This meant that Gabon got rid of the slave trade, in return France gained a monopoly on trade from Gabon, i.a. ivory, rare woods and, with the arrival of the Europeans, also plantations where coffee and cotton were grown.

1960 – On August 17, Gabon is declared an independent republic with Leon M’ba as the country’s first president. He was president until his death in 1967.

1963 – UFO MYTH. December 25th. In Libreville, a fisherman sees a vessel land and a dangerous creature appears. It had human-like features, and spoke with sounds he did not understand. The creature left traces in the sand, and went back to its vessel again and flew away. (From Jacques Vallée “Magobnia UFO landing database 592)

1967 – When M’ba dies, he is succeeded by his Defense Minister Omar Bongo, who faithfully continues M’ba’s political line. In addition to safeguarding the interests of the French, the country developed after North American inspiration into a “sub-imperialist” center. Bongo made himself the “gendarm” of Central Africa, and the country became a base for aggression against its progressive neighbors.

1968 – From 1968 to 1990, the country is ruled as a one-party state under President Omar Bongo Ondimba.

1977 – In January, the country posed e.g. aircraft and weapons available to a group of mercenaries who carried out a failed attack on the People’s Republic of Benin.

1979 – Bongo is re-elected president this year and later in 1986 with 99% of the vote – in elections where he was the only candidate.

1980s – State fraud and allegations of corruption against the government led to violent popular protests in the early 1980s. The uprising reached right into the ranks of the police. In 1982, it staged a demonstration demanding wage increases and the withdrawal of French advisers from the country. The protests were brutally crushed by the country’s intelligence service, which officially goes by the name “Documentation Center”.

1982 – The government also strikes against the Movement for National Renewal (MORENA), which consisted of intellectuals, students and nationalist politicians. The movement was accused in October of stealing 30 tons of weapons as the bombings of the Bongo family’s properties and French military installations gained momentum. At least 28 senior members of MORENA were sentenced to 15 years in prison. The French Socialist Party criticized the verdicts, creating a tense relationship between Bongo and French President Mitterrand.

1984 – The 1982 episode does not prevent Bongo from visiting France in March. The president’s visit to the French Elysee mansion sparked as many protests as the French decision to build a nuclear power plant in Gabon.

1990 – In May, the chairman of Gabon’s Progress Party, Joseph Redjambe, is assassinated at a hotel in Libreville. He was one of the central leaders of the opposition, and the assassination sparked a violent reaction against the government. The entire Port-Gentil region was in a state of rebellion for 10 days, Paris had to evacuate 5,000 Frenchmen from the area and the government had to deploy the Presidential Guard to restore order. According to information confirmed by Amnesty International, the uprising cost 6 lives and 100 were injured.

1990 – A national conference is convened in June to decide on free presidential elections. The conference was a victory for the opposition. It succeeded in forcing the president to compromise on the conduct of multi-party elections, but Bongo also won a victory when he succeeded in speeding up the 1992 election – as the opposition had wanted – until the end of 1990. That way he could use the whole of the apparatus he had built up during his 20 years in power, while the opposition which had been oppressed for decades had little time to organize. The result was therefore also that the opposition went split to the polls.

1990 – In the September elections, Bongo’s party, the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), gains a majority in the National Assembly.

1991 – In March, the country’s new constitution was formally adopted, and with it the country had formally gained a multi-party system. Throughout the year, the country was hit by a series of further political and social unrest. The stabilization policy that had been implemented since September 1990 not given results, and still did not create the high expectations of the population.

1992 – In October, Gabon declares, among other things, that it would deport 10,000 Nigerians staying in the country “irregularly”.

1993 – In December, presidential elections are held, which Bongo once again won, despite criticism from the opposition of irregularities.

1994 – In February, new unrest broke out, which was crushed and cost 30 lives.

1996 – In the National Assembly elections in December, Bongo’s party gets PDG 47 out of the 55 seats. In return, the leader of the opposition, Paul Mba-Abessole, won the local elections and became mayor of the capital Libreville.

1997 – The average life expectancy this year was only 55 years, 37% of the population was illiterate and the infant mortality rate was 87%.

1998 – At the beginning of the year, the mayor of the capital, Mba-AbessoleFN, asked to monitor the planned presidential election that year in order to “prevent the wrongful re-election of Omar Bongo”. The president won, as expected, over Mba-Abessole and his ally Pierre-Andre Kombila.

1999 – The President appoints Jean-François Ntoutoume Emane as Prime Minister from January. The authorities requested humanitarian assistance from the UN due to the constant flow of refugees into the country. In October 1999, the UN estimated that there were 10,000 refugees in the country.

2000 – In July, a cargo ship from Greece and one from France collide in Gabonese territorial waters, and 400 tons of oil spilled into the sea. Bongo requested international assistance to cover the cost of the cleanup, which ran up to 1.5 million. US $.

2002 – In March, it was estimated that 60% of deaths in the northern part of the country were due to the Ebola epidemic. The Mekambo region and the border area with the Congo are the most affected zones.

2003 – On May 6, Health Minister Faustin Boukoubi announced that the Ebola epidemic was over.

2003 – On July 24, security forces destroyed 4 fishing villages near Libreville, leaving hundreds of families homeless. According to the government, the villages were used by drug dealers as a base of operations, and the destruction was part of the fight against drugs.

2003 – In July, the government implements a constitutional amendment that allows Bongo to run for president as many times as he pleases. Bongo, whose term expired in 2005 after 36 years in power, was sharply criticized by opposition leader Pierre Mamboundou, who said the constitutional amendment could allow the president to retain power for life. Mamboundou called on the international community to intervene, because “the constitutional amendment will only be implemented so that Bongo can remain in power and the world must respond to the problems countries are experiencing”. Since bongo was first installed as president, the constitution has been amended 16 times.

2004 – In September, the country’s oil industry was greatly strengthened due to the discovery of new oil deposits and increasing production. Shell Gabón discovered new sources and Vaalco Energy announced an increase in production. This was a radical change from the negative figures of previous years. The background came after a number of – especially North American – firms increased their investigation in Gabon as part of Washington’s strategy to secure at least 25% of US oil imports from Africa in the next decade. The increased investigation was strongly supported by the Bongo government.

2005 – In the November presidential election, Bongo is re-elected with 79.18% of the vote – well ahead of his opponents. The 69-year-old Bongo first took office as head of state in 1967, making him the longest-serving African head of state. His main rival, Pierre Mamboundou, got 13.61% of the vote and former Prime Minister Zacharie Myboto got 6.58%. Both characterized the election as “marked by fraud”.

2006 – The country’s new prime minister, Jean Eyeghé Ndong, publishes in January his list of ministers with 49 ministers – including 12 women.

2006 – The governments of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea agree in February to open negotiations on a number of small islands in the Gulf of Guinea, which may have subterranean oil.

2007 – The high oil price and a significant increase in oil extraction led to increased oil revenues and led the government in July to decide to repay its foreign debt of 2.3 billion. US $ with the Paris Club. Gabon now has the highest human development index (HDI) in sub-Saharan Africa.

2007 – The government decided in October to abolish the death penalty, which at that time had not been used for 10 years.

2009 – The next presidential election is expected to be held in 2012.

Gabon History

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