Timeline Gabon

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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)

Gabon Page: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/Country_Specific/Gabon.html
Infonautics: http://www.encyclopedia.com/places/africa/gabonese-political-geography/gabon
Lonely Planet: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/dest/afr/gab.htm
Map: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/CIA_Maps/Gabon_19874.gif
USDS: http://www.state.gov/www/background_notes/gabon_0197_bgn.html

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 in Gabon.
    (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 Equatorial Africa.
    (ON, 11/04, p.12)

1913        Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) and his wife Hlne 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 Hlne had moved to Gabon (French Equatorial Africa) in 1913 and opened a hospital in Lambarn, which he later expanded with money from the Nobel Peace Prize.
    (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 (Brazzaville).
    (AP, 11/28/97)

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 ed., p.1173)

1965        Sep 4, Philosopher, musician, doctor, theologian and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer died in Lambarn, 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 Hlne moved to Gabon in 1913 and opened a hospital in Lambarn, 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."
    (HNPD, 9/4/98)

1965        French paratroopers re-established order.
    (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, and Gabon.

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, 11/30/05)

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.
    (AP, 9/23/09)

1993        Pres. Bongo suppressed protests on his re-election victory that was described as an electoral coup detat.
    (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 worlds richest individuals.
    (WSJ, 12/10/96, p.A22)

1996        Dec 25, Officials said that Pres. Bongos 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 her death.
    (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 neighboring Gabon.
    (AP, 625/02)

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.
    (AP, 9/6/02)

2002        Dec 23, More than 100 Gabonese students took over their embassy in Senegal, trapping three diplomats overnight to protest unpaid scholarships.
    (AP, 12/24/02)

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 Nichols.
    (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, Chinas 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.
    (AP, 11/29/05)

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 1976.
    (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 line.
    (AP, 1/19/06)

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 Coast.
    (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.
    (AFP, 11/18/06)

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.
    (Reuters, 12/7/06)

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.
    (AFP, 12/27/06)

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 borders.
    (AFP, 4/26/07)

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.
    (AP, 1/17/09)

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.
    (AFP, 1/30/09)

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 countrys 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 Gabons 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.
    (AP, 5/6/09)

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.
    (AP, 6/10/09)

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 Gabons constitutional court confirmed Bongos 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.
    (AP, 9/7/09)

2009        Sep 9, Gabons 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.
    (AFP, 9/9/09)

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.
    (AP, 9/30/09)

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.
    (AP, 10/13/09)

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.
    (AFP, 8/19/10)

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 Equatorial Guinea.
    (AP, 11/9/10)

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.
    (AFP, 11/20/10)

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 decade.
    (AP, 1/21/11)

2011        Jan 25, Gabons 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 41-year rule.
    (AP, 1/26/11)

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 oil-rich nation.
    (AP, 1/26/11)

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.
    (AFP, 9/2/11)

2011        Oct 15, Gabon's opposition leader Pierre Mamboundou (65) died. He had finished third in the 2009 presidential polls.
    (AFP, 10/16/11)

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.
    (AFP, 12/17/11)

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 observers.
    (AFP, 12/19/11)

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.
    (AFP, 1/27/12)

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.
    (AFP, 2/27/12)

2012        Mar 15, Gabon students demanding the payment of scholarships funds and police clashed in Libreville, leaving three people wounded.
    (AFP, 3/15/12)

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 kick off.
    (AFP, 6/8/12)

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.
    (AFP, 6/21/12)

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.
    (AFP, 6/27/12)

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.
    (AFP, 7/26/12)

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.
    (AFP, 8/11/12)

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 into chaos.
    (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.
    (AP, 1/6/13)

2013        Jan 9, Talks on the crisis in Central African Republic began in Gabon with representatives of the government, rebels and other groups.
    (AP, 1/9/13)

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.
    (AP, 5/11/13)

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 vessels operator said the oil products tanker and its 24 Indian crew have been released.
    (Reuters, 7/22/13)

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.
    (Reuters, 8/2/13)

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.
    (Reuters, 9/4/13)

2014        Jan 24, Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba named a new prime minister, Daniel Ona Ondo, following municipal and regional elections.
    (AFP, 1/24/14)

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