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A country in West Africa south of Cameroon
with an area of 103,000 sq. mls. The capital is Libreville.
(WSJ, 1/2/98, p.8)(SSFC, 10/5/03, p.D10)
CIA Factbook: http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/gb.html
Gabon Page: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/Country_Specific/Gabon.html
Lonely Planet: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/dest/afr/gab.htm
1856 Aug, Paul
Du Chaillu, French-American journalist and hunter, hired a large
number of men and women from the Mbondemo tribe to hunt for gorillas
(ON, 11/04, p.11)
1856 Sep 2, Paul Du Chaillu
(1831-1903), French-American journalist and hunter, shot and killed
his 1st gorilla in Gabon. Over the next 3 years he killed 31
gorillas. In 1861 he published “Explorations & Adventures in
(ON, 11/04, p.12)
1913 Dr. Albert Schweitzer
(1875-1965) and his wife Hélène moved to Gabon and opened a hospital
in Lambarene, on the banks of the Ogooue River. The area was then
know as French Equatorial Africa. He later expanded it with money
from his 1952 Nobel Peace Prize. Born near Alsace, Germany,
Schweitzer decided to devote himself to providing health care to
people in Africa at the age of 30. Schweitzer also spoke out against
the dangers of nuclear weapons, became an organist and expert on
Johann Sebastian Bach, and served as a church pastor and university
professor. He lived by the principle of "reverence for life."
(HNPD, 9/4/98)(T&L, 10/80, p. 162)
1952 Oct 30, Dr. Albert
Schweitzer (1875-1965) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize but only
received it in 1953. Schweitzer and his wife Hélène had moved to
Gabon (French Equatorial Africa) in 1913 and opened a hospital in
Lambaréné, which he later expanded with money from the Nobel Peace
(AP, 10/30/97)(HNPD, 9/4/98)
1958 Nov 28, Chad, Gabon and
Middle Congo, became autonomous republics within the French
community. The Middle Congo province of French Equatorial Africa
voted to proclaim itself independent as the Congo Republic
1960 Aug 17, Gabon became
independence from France. Leon M'Ba, head of the Gabon Democratic
Block, became the 1st president.
(PC, 1992, p.973)(WSJ, 1/24/97, p.A14)(EWH, 1st
1965 Sep 4, Philosopher,
musician, doctor, theologian and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer died
in Lambaréné, Gabon. Born near Alsace, Germany, in 1875, Schweitzer
decided to devote himself to providing health care to people in
Africa at the age of 30. Schweitzer and his wife Hélène moved to
Gabon in 1913 and opened a hospital in Lambaréné, which he later
expanded with money from the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded in
1952. Schweitzer also spoke out against the dangers of nuclear
weapons, became an organist and expert on Johann Sebastian Bach, and
served as a church pastor and university professor. He lived by the
principle of "reverence for life."
1965 French paratroopers
(WSJ, 1/24/97, p.A14)
1966 The Brazzaville Treaty
became effective after it was ratified by the five member countries:
Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of Congo,
1967 Dec 2, In Gabon Pres. Omar
Bongo began ruling upon the death of Leon M'Ba. Jacques Foccart,
architect of French policy in Africa, helped to handpick Omar Bongo.
(WSJ, 12/10/96, p.A22)(SFC, 3/20/97, p.A24)(AP,
1972 Scientists discovered an
extinct natural nuclear reactor in a uranium mine in Gabon. Research
revealed it had operated intermittently for a few million years from
about 2 billion years ago.
(SFC, 11/29/04, p.A4)
1976 The Development Bank
of Central African States (BDEAC) was established and included six
members of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa:
Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial
Guinea and Gabon.
1993 Pres. Bongo suppressed
protests on his re-election victory that was described as an
“electoral coup d’etat."
(WSJ, 12/10/96, p.A22)
1996 Oct 31, An outbreak of the
Ebola virus killed at least 17 people. It was the 4th outbreak
in Africa since 1995.
(SFC, 11/1/96, p.A21)(SFEC, 11/10/96, p.T5)
1996 Dec 10, Pres. Bongo was
believed to be among the world’s richest individuals.
(WSJ, 12/10/96, p.A22)
1996 Dec 25, Officials said
that Pres. Bongo’s ruling party swept 47 of 55 parliamentary seats
in elections last week.
(SFC, 12/26/96, p.B4)
1997 May 17, From Gabon it was
reported that controlled logging in the tropical forests has led to
savage territorial wars among the native chimpanzees. The population
was estimated to have dropped from 50,000 to 30,000.
(SFC, 5/17/97, p.A4)
1998 Dec 6, In Gabon Pres. Omar
Bongo (63) won the election for a new 7-year term. He received 66%
of the vote with clear ballot stuffing.
(SFC, 12/9/98, p.B8)(SFC, 12/18/98, p.D2)
1998 Dec 17, Karen Phillips
(37), a US Peace Corps worker from Philadelphia, was raped and
stabbed to death in Oyem. 3 people were arrested in connection with
(SFEC, 12/20/98, p.C10)
2001 Dec 2, An outbreak of
Ebola virus hit Gabon with the 1st death in Ekata, about 5 miles
from the Congo border. Within weeks at least 15 people died. The
virus spread to Congo and movement in the area was restricted.
(SFC, 12/21/01, p.A5)
2001 Dec 9, An outbreak of the
Ebola virus was confirmed in the Ogoouer Ivindo province of Gabon. 7
deaths were reported.
(SFC, 12/10/01, p.A3)
2002 Jan 10, In Gabon a medical
team fled the site of an Ebola outbreak following threats after they
insisted that villagers not touch corpses at funerals.
(WSJ, 1/11/02, p.A1)
2002 Jun 25, The WHO reported
that experts investigating a possible outbreak of the deadly Ebola
virus in Republic of Congo have found four suspected cases in
2002 Sep 5, In Gabon US Sec. of
State Colin Powell talked into the night with the Pres. Omar Bongo
about the country's commitment to preserve its lush forests, peace
efforts and the IMF.
2002 Dec 23, More than 100
Gabonese students took over their embassy in Senegal, trapping three
diplomats overnight to protest unpaid scholarships.
2002 Pres. Omar Bongo decided
to preserve a tenth of Gabon's 103,000 square miles in 13 nature
preserves based on stories and photographs by Mike Fay and Nick
(SSFC, 10/5/03, p.D10)
2002 French president Jacques
Chirac received three million euros ($4 million) from Ivory Coast's
Laurent Gbagbo to finance his electoral campaign. This was made
public in 2011 by Robert Bourgi, a lawyer with a network of African
contacts who advised Chirac before changing camps in 2005 to aid
French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Bourgi also named Senegal's
Abdoulaye Wade, Burkina Faso's Blaise Compaore, and
Congo-Brazzaville's Denis Sassou Nguesso and Gabon's Omar Bongo as
contributors. Bourgi later said he was mistaken concerning
(Senegal's president) Abdoulaye Wade and his son" Karim Wade.
(AFP, 9/12/11)(AP, 9/26/11)
2004 Jan 31, China’s
oil-refining boss signed a deal to buy crude oil from Gabon. Pres.
Hu Jintao visited Gabon the next day.
(Econ, 2/7/04, p.45)
2004 Jun 8, In Gabon a small
airliner crashed after takeoff from Libreville. At least 14 of 30
people aboard were killed.
(WSJ, 6/9/04, p.A1)
2005 Nov 27, Gabon President
Omar Bongo, Africa's longest-serving ruler, was re-elected to
another seven-year term in office with a landslide 79% of the vote.
2005 Dec 1, Researchers in
Gabon reported that 3 species of fruit bats served as the animal
reservoir of the Ebola virus. The deadly disease 1st emerged in
(SFC, 12/1/05, p.A7)
2006 Jan 19, President Omar
Bongo (69) of Gabon, was sworn in for another 7-year term. Bongo has
been president since Dec. 2, 1967, taking over upon the death of
Leon M'Ba, the country's only other head of state since independence
from France in 1960. Gabon produces about 290,000 barrels of oil a
day and boasts sub-Saharan Africa's third largest reserves, around
2.5 billion barrels. Half the country still lives below the poverty
2006 Mar 22, A ferry carrying
150 passengers sank off the coast of Cameroon, and 23 people were
rescued. The rest were feared dead. The was bound for Gabon from
Nigeria with passengers from Burkina Faso, Nigeria and the Ivory
(AP, 3/23/06)(SFC, 3/24/06, p.A12)
2006 Nov 18, Gabonese President
Omar Bongo said in a statement that the Central African Economic and
Monetary Community (CEMAC) had "acceded to a request from the
Central African Republic authorities to intervene in securing
conflict zones." CEMAC's members include the Central African
Republic, Chad, Gabon, Congo, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
2006 Dec 7, Researchers said
the Ebola virus may have killed more than 5,000 gorillas in West
Africa (Congo-Gabon), enough to send them into extinction if people
continue to hunt them.
2006 Dec 27, Gabon's
Constitutional Court confirmed President Omar Bongo Ondimba's camp
as official winner of the nation's general elections held December
17 and 24.
2007 Apr 26, Six central
African countries (Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Central African
Republic, Cameroon and Congo) plan to launch a common passport in
July, permitting the free movement of goods and people across their
2009 Jan 17, A helicopter
carrying 10 French soldiers crashed off the coast of Gabon in
central Africa. At least 2 survived and 2 were killed as rescuers
searched for 6 missing.
2009 Jan 30, In Libreville,
Gabon, leaders of the six Central African states (Cameroon, Chad,
Gabon, CAR, Congo, Equatorial Guinea), began meeting to discuss
closer economic ties, including the creation of a new regional
airline. The Economic and Monetary Union of Central Africa, known as
CEMAC, planned discussions on such issues as monetary reform and the
free movement of citizens.
2009 Apr 19, The annual Goldman
Environmental Prize was awarded to 7 activists from 6 nations.
Rizwana Hasan (40) of Bangladesh was awarded for exposing
environmental damage and exploitative practices used in the
country’s ship dismantling industry; Marc Ona Essangui (45) of
Gabon, the founder of Brainforest, was awarded for exposing secret
agreements for a Chinese mine project that threatened Gabon’s rain
forests; Yuyun Ismawati of Indonesia was awarded for designing
environmentally safe waste management systems for poor Indonesia n
communities; Olga Speranskaya (46) of Eco-Accord in Russia was
awarded for her efforts to control and store chemicals in Russia and
former Soviet republics; Wanze Eduards (52) and Hugo Jabini (44) of
Suriname, leaders of the maroon community, were awarded for their
efforts that led to a landmark ruling ending tribal exploitation by
the government. Maria Gunnoe (40) of West Virginia was awarded for
her fight against the practice of removing of the tops of mountains
and filing valleys below with tailings.
(SSFC, 4/19/09, p.A18)
2009 May 5, A French judge
decided to investigate three African heads of state for money
laundering and other alleged crimes linked to their wealth in
France. The probe follows a complaint by Transparency International
France, an association that tracks corruption, against Gabon's Omar
Bongo, Republic of Congo's Denis Sassou-Nguesso and Teodoro Obiang
of Equatorial Guinea.
2009 Jun 8, Gabon Pres. Omar
Bongo (b.1935), the world's longest-serving president, died at a
hospital in Spain. His 42-year rule reflected an era when Africa was
ruled by "Big Men." He left behind at least 66 bank accounts. The
first family owned 45 homes in France, including at least 14 in
Paris and 11 on the French Riviera. And they boasted of 19 or more
luxury cars, including a Bugatti sports model that cost the Republic
of Gabon $1.5 million.
(AP, 6/8/09)(AP, 6/20/09)(Econ, 6/20/09, p.90)
2009 Jun 10, In Gabon Senate
chief Rose Francine Rogombe was sworn in as the country's interim
president, the first time in more than four decades that anyone
except the late leader Omar Bongo has held power.
2009 Aug 30, Gabon held free
elections for the first time in more than 41 years. 18 candidates
vied to replace the late President Omar Bongo, who ruled for more
than four decades and ran as the only candidate in many elections.
The leading contender was the dead ruler's son, Ali Bongo Ondimba
(50). He put up posters of himself every 30 feet (9 meters) on the
capital's main highway and crisscrossed the country in a private jet
to campaign. On Sep 3 Ali Bongo Ondimba was declared the winner with
41.7% of the vote.
(AP, 8/30/09)(AP, 9/3/09)
2009 Sep 3, The government of
Gabon declared the eldest son of the late dictator Omar Bongo the
winner of weekend presidential elections, triggering a rampage in a
coastal city and allegations of fraud. Interior Minister
Jean-Francois Ndongou said Ali Bongo, the country's defense minister
who campaigned from a private jet and plastered the capital with
billboards, won with 41.7% of the vote. The top two opposition
leaders — Andre Mba Obame and Pierre Mamboundou — were nearly tied,
receiving 25.8% and 25.2% of the vote respectively. On Sep 4 Gabon’s
constitutional court confirmed Bongo’s election.
(AP, 9/3/09)(SFC, 9/5/09, p.A2)
2009 Sep 7, Gabon's main
opposition parties demanded authorities conduct a recount of a
disputed election the government said was won by the son of the
country's long-ruling president.
2009 Sep 9, Gabon’s opposition
claimed that violence in Port-Gentil, Gabon's second city, claimed
15 lives after last week's disputed presidential election, far more
than the official toll provided by the government.
2009 Sep 30, A spokesman said
the US military has begun an exercise in Gabon with personnel from
25 African countries to improve command and control between forces
for possible peacekeeping or anti-terrorism missions. Africom,
headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, formally activated last
October, sponsored the exercise.
2009 Oct 12, Gabon's
constitutional court said Ali Bongo, the son of the country's
longtime dictator, won the Aug. 30 presidential elections that
opposition candidates said were fraudulent.
2010 Aug 14, Gabon signed
contracts worth 4.5 billion dollars (3.5 billion euros) with Indian
and Singaporean companies for infrastructure projects. The
investments were expected to generate some 50,000 jobs.
2010 Nov 9, France's highest
court authorized a probe into the assets of three African heads of
state, after two rights groups' alleged that the leaders laundered
money through French villas, cars and bank accounts. The probe will
target Gabon's late leader Omar Bongo, the Republic of Congo's
President Denis Sassou-Nguesso and President Teodoro Obiang of
2010 Nov 19, In the Republic of
Congo 8 countries signed a convention to limit the spread of weapons
in central Africa, but three countries opted out. Angola, Cameroon,
the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Gabon, The Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe all
signed. Burundi, Equatorial Guinea and Rwanda did not sign.
2011 Jan 20, WWF officials said
Gabon has arrested five people, four Nigerians and a woman from
Benin. who were found with the heads of 12 chimpanzees and an
endangered gorilla. The seizure was the largest of its kind in a
2011 Jan 25, Gabon’s opposition
leader Andre Mba Obame took the oath of office declaring himself the
new leader, challenging the authority of President Ali Bongo, the
son of Gabon's longtime dictator who died in June 2009 after a
2011 Jan 26, Gabon's government
dissolved the country's main opposition party, accusing members of
high treason after their leader declared himself president of the
2011 Sep 2, In Gabon 9 leaders
of Conasysed (National Convention of Education Sector Trade Unions)
went on hunger strike outside the Saint-Mary Cathedral in
Libreville, to support wage claims. The Conasysed leaders had their
salaries docked because of a strike in January.
2011 Oct 15, Gabon's opposition
leader Pierre Mamboundou (65) died. He had finished third in the
2009 presidential polls.
2011 Dec 17, Gabon held
legislative elections. Voters were expected to hand a resounding
victory to President Ali Bongo's party in the face of a boycott by
some opposition groups. Some 746,000 people were registered to vote
in the country of 1.5 million inhabitants, sub-Saharan Africa's
fourth largest oil producer.
2011 Dec 19, Gabon's ruling
party, the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), claimed it had won 114
out of parliament's 120 seats in a legislative election largely
boycotted by the opposition but given a clean bill of health by
2012 Jan 27, Gabon officials
announced that the National Wood Company of Gabon (SNBG) has
obtained a loan of 13.7 million euros ($18 million) to help in
building a plant to treat timber at Libreville's port, Owendo.
2012 Feb 27, Gabon's President
Ali Bongo Ondimba named Raymond Ndong Sima (56) as the country's new
prime minister following a resounding victory for the ruling party
in general elections amid an opposition boycott. This marks the
first time in Gabon's history that a prime minister is not from the
majority ethnic Fang region of Libreville, but rather from the north
of the country, home of some key opponents of the region.
2012 Mar 15, Gabon students
demanding the payment of scholarships funds and police clashed in
Libreville, leaving three people wounded.
2012 Jun 8, In Gabon 2 leading
activists and some 40 others were arrested as they tried to hold a
"Counter-Forum of Indignants" alongside the New York Forum Africa
opening today in Libreville. Marc Ona, an award-winning
environmental activist, and Gregory Ngbwa Mintsa, spokesman of
Gabon's Indignants' Front, were detained before their event could
2012 Jun 21, In Gabon striking
university students gave the government a list of demands and
promised a three-year truce if they were met, after months of
violent protests and clashes with police.
2012 Jun 27, Gabonese President
Ali Bongo set fire to five tons of ivory worth around 10 million
euros ($14 million) to mark his government's commitment to battling
poachers and saving elephants. The stockpile and would have required
the killing of some 850 elephants.
2012 Jul 26, The UN's food
agency said 10 Central African countries have agreed to take part in
a regional initiative to monitor the Congo Basin, one of the world's
largest primary rainforests. They included Burundi, Cameroon,
Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo,
Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe.
2012 Aug 11, Gabon's main
opposition leader Andre Mba Obame arrived in Libreville after 14
months in France, saying the International Criminal Court would look
into a 2009 "massacre" at Port-Gentil.
2012 Aug 15, In Gabon clashes
broke out in Libreville when police broke up an unauthorized protest
in support of the country's main opposition leader, leaving at least
one person dead and 10 people injured. 63-64 were detained and 57
remained in prison. Masked gunmen stormed the headquarters of TV+
and set fire to the station's transmitters. President Ali Bongo went
on national television saying he would not let the country descend
(AFP, 8/15/12)(AP, 8/17/12)(AFP, 8/18/12)
2013 Jan 6, The South African
presidency announced that is sending 400 army troops to Central
African Republic to help the country's army as it faces a threat
from a coalition of rebel groups. Neighboring countries Cameroon,
Gabon and Republic of Congo already have sent about 120 troops each
to help stabilize the country confronted by the rebellion.
2013 Jan 9, Talks on the crisis
in Central African Republic began in Gabon with representatives of
the government, rebels and other groups.
2013 May 11, Thousands of
Gabonese people marched to protest ritual killings, in which people
are murdered so their body parts can be used in amulets to bring
good luck. Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, Gabon's first lady, led the event
along with Christian and Muslim religious leaders.
2013 Jul 15, Pirates seized the
Maltese-flagged Cotton tanker on July 15 near Gabon's Port Gentil in
the first reported attack in that area in the past five years. On
July 22 the vessel’s operator said the oil products tanker and its
24 Indian crew have been released.
2013 Aug 1, Ghana's government
said that its navy has intercepted a ship and arrested its crew on
suspicion of involvement in the hijacking of an oil products tanker
off Gabon last July 15.
2013 Sep 4, Gabon officials
said a corruption investigation has revealed the existence of about
3,000 fake civil servants who receive monthly government salaries
despite holding no official positions.
2014 Jan 24, Gabon's President
Ali Bongo Ondimba named a new prime minister, Daniel Ona Ondo,
following municipal and regional elections.
Subject = Gabon
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