Libreville, Gabon

Reference work entry


Libreville is Gabon’s capital city.


The city was founded in 1849 by freed slaves around the site of a French fort. It was made capital of the French Congo in 1888 and capital of the Gabon territory of French Equatorial Africa in 1910. Before the development of Pointe-Noire in the Republic of Congo, it acted as the most important coastal port of western Africa.

In 1960 the city became capital of independent Gabon and in the following decade its population doubled. In 1990 and 1992 there was widespread rioting in protest to changes to the constitution and the electoral system.

Modern City

Main exports include timber, rubber and cocoa while main industries are palm-oil production and sawmilling. Although of less commercial importance than Port-Gentil, Libreville’s port handles regional exports. There is a deepwater port at Owendo, 14.5 km to the south.

The city is served by an international airport (11 km north of the city) and road connections to most towns and cities in the country.

Places of Interest

The city is the educational centre for the country and is home to the Omar Bongo University, founded in 1970.

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© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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