Gabon Old History

By | January 2, 2023

Gabon is an independent nation in Central Africa. With the capital city of Libreville, Gabon 2020 population is estimated at 2,225,745 according to countryaah. European seafarers began to take an interest in the area where Gabon is today, at the end of the 15th century. For hundreds of years it became a center for the slave trade from Africa. In the early 1900s, the French incorporated the area as part of the French Equatorial Africa colony. In 1960, Gabon became independent.

  • Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Gabon, covering history, economy, and social conditions.

The earliest residents of the area are believed to have belonged to a variety of smaller peoples who were hunting. During the last seven centuries, however, they gradually came to be suppressed by Bantu people, who in turn were driven away from other parts of West Africa and therefore needed new land to feed. For Gabon political system, please check cancermatters.

In 1472, Portuguese sailors arrived. The Portuguese explored the coast but took the greatest interest in the islands of São Tomé & Príncipe. From the 16th century and a few centuries onwards, Gabon was a center for trade in slaves, ivory and timber. Coastal people such as Galoa, Mpongwe and Orungu acted as middlemen for British, French and Dutch slave traders.

The largest group of people, fang, first came to the area in the 18th century from what is today Cameroon. In 1839 the French settled on the coast. The French-controlled area was gradually expanded: in 1910 the entire area that now constitutes Gabon had been colonized and became one of four territories in French Equatorial Africa.

After World War II, Gabon was allowed to send representatives to the French National Assembly in Paris and political parties began to form. In the mid-1940s, Léon M’Ba, Gabon’s member of the French National Assembly, founded the country’s first party – later called the Democratic Gabonese bloc (BDG). M’Bas arch rival and replacement in parliament, Jean-Hilaire Aubame, formed the Gabonese Democratic and Social Union (UDSG) in 1948.

In 1957, elections won by BDG were held. The following year, Gabon gained limited autonomy and M’Ba became prime minister. Two years later, on August 17, 1960, Gabon became independent. In the elections that were held after independence, neither country’s parties succeeded in winning a majority and they chose to cooperate. In 1961, M’Ba was named the country’s first president while Aubame became foreign minister.



Ping also turns to the ICC

December 15

Opposition leader Ping reports the government to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity in connection with the election-related violence after the presidential election (see August 2016). The government has previously made the same accusations against the opposition and reported it to the ICC.

The EU maintains electoral criticism

December 12

The EU election observers write in a final report that the uncertainties highlighted by the team (see September 2016) mean that the re-election of President Bongo can be called into question. The EU also condemns the Constitutional Court’s decision to stop the recalculation of votes demanded by opposition leader Ping.

The parliamentary elections are postponed

December 3

The Ministry of the Interior announces that the parliamentary elections that would have been held in December 2016 are postponed due to lack of money. Instead, the election will be conducted by July 2017 at the latest.


Gabon gets a new government

October 2

President Bongo appoints Emmanuel Ngondet as prime minister for a new government. A few ministerial posts go to opposition politicians, but the most important ministries remain in the hands of Bongo’s party PDG with allied small parties. Of the ministers, 30 percent are women.


ICC examines election-related violence

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announces that it will, at the request of the Gabonese government, review the violence that took place in connection with the presidential election (see August 2016). The government accuses opposition leader Ping of calling for genocide and crimes against humanity during the election campaign. According to the opposition, 26 people were killed in the election-related violence while the government states the number of dead to three. Over 800 people were arrested.

Bongo makes the presidential speech

September 29th

President Bongo holds the presidency for a new term of office of seven years.

The victory goes to Bongo

September 21

The Constitutional Court rejects opposition leader Ping’s appeal of the results of the presidential election and gives the victory to Bongo. According to the court, Bongo won with 50.66 percent of the vote while Ping received 47.24 percent. Ping dismisses the court as “biased” and says he still considers himself president-elect and that he does not intend to withdraw. EU election observers criticize the court, saying it failed to correct the deviations that occurred during the election.

Some votes are recalculated

September 21

The AFP news agency states that representatives of President Bongo and of opposition leader Ping have agreed that a recount should be made of the votes from 2,579 polling stations.

The EU is intensifying electoral criticism

September 6

EU election observers say that “clear deviations” have occurred during the election and point to the sensationally high turnout in the province of Haute-Ogooue, the residence of Bongo’s people group téké (see August 2016). France proposes that the votes be recalculated. Bongo accuses the EU of being a party to the case and says there will be no recalculation unless the Constitutional Court orders it.

Minister jumps off

September 5

The country’s minister of justice, who is also deputy head of government, resigns in protest against the election and opposition leader Ping calls for a general strike to overthrow the government.

Requirements for conversion

September 3

Opposition leader Jean Ping claims that it is he who won the presidential election and demands that the votes be recalculated. The riots that were triggered when the election results became known continue. Security forces have now arrested more than 1,000 people, including a dozen opposition leaders, and at least five people are reported to have lost their lives.


Even elections trigger protests

August 27th

In the presidential election, Ali Bongo Ondimba wins by a marginal margin over opposition candidate Jean Ping, the election commission announces. President Bongo receives 49.8 percent of the vote while Ping receives 48.2 percent. This means that only 5,500 votes separate the two. The opposition accuses the government of electoral fraud and demands that the results of each polling station be made public. One thing that arouses suspicion is the fact that voter turnout is reported to have been as high as 99.3 percent in the province of Haute-Ogooue, the residence of Bongo’s people group téké, while it was 60 percent on average in the country. 95 percent of those who voted in Haute-Ogooue are said to have voted for Bongo. The EU and the US support the opposition’s demand for a more detailed account of the outcome. The message triggers violent protests in the capital where regime-critical protesters set fire to parliament, causing security forces to storm the opposition headquarters. According to Ping, two people were killed and 19 injured during the campaign.

Opposition rallies around Ping

August 16th

After negotiations within the opposition, former President Guy Nzouba Ndama and former Prime Minister Casimir Oye Mba decide to withdraw from the fight for the presidential post. Both urge their supporters to vote instead for Jean Ping, former Foreign Minister and chairman of the AU Commission.

The appeal of the world to the right choice

12th of August

The UN, EU, US and France, Germany, Italy and Spain jointly appeal to Gabon to conduct a free and correct presidential election on 27 August. In particular, they urge the authorities to respect the freedom of expression and to give candidates fair access to the media. They urge the candidates for negotiation and dialogue instead of stirring up violence and hatred.


The President gets challenged

April 5

The recently retired President Guy Nzouba Ndama announces that he will stand in the August 27 presidential election. This further widens the gap within PDG, which has already appointed incumbent President Ali Bongo Ondimba as its candidate.

Split within the ruling party

Nine MPs leave the ruling party PDG after three colleagues who started their own faction within the party were excluded and deprived of their seats in parliament. At the same time, Parliament Speaker Guy Nzouba Ndama resigns after nearly 19 years, accusing the government of disrespecting the elected people and their institutions.


Diplomatic dispute with France

January 18

Gabon calls home its ambassador from Paris since the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in a TV interview questioned that the 2009 Gabon presidential election was correct and democratic.

Gabon Old History