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Tuesday 16th July
Gabon Information - Page 2
The first Europeans to arrive in Gabon were the Portuguese in the 1470s. British, Dutch, and French traders followed in the sixteenth century.

A French settlement was established in 1839 and a French governor to Gabon was appointed in 1866.

In 1910 Gabon formed part of the Federation of French Equatorial Africa - Afrique Equatoriale Francaise (AEF). Other AEF members were Central African Republic, Chad, and Congo (Brazzaville).

Independence was achieved in 1960.

Offshore oil, discovered in the 1970s, earns a large percentage of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Other resources are natural gas, hydropower, manganese, uranium, gold, niobium, iron ore, diamonds and timber.

The agricultural sector only accounts for small percentage of the GDP but provides a living for over half of the working population.

Agricultural products include cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil and rubber. Cattle are reared. Fish are provided by the fishing fleet. (2008)

Gabon has over forty ethnic groups, each with its own traditions. The largest group is the Fang. Other groups include the Bapounou, Bandjabi, Myene, Nzebi, and Baka Pygmies.

Gabonese crafts are masks, sculptures, carvings, musical instruments, and basketwork. Examples of traditional artifacts can be seen at the Museum of Arts and Traditions in Libreville.

Football is a popular sport in Gabon. The national team is known as the Gabon Panthers.

Water sports available include swimming, scuba diving, windsurfing, and sailing. Big game fish are barracuda, marlin, tarpon and sailfish.

All religious festivals are celebrated. Independence Day is 17 August (1960 - from France).

News from Gabon is available from Newslink.

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