Libreville, Gabon

  • Libreville is the capital and largest city of Gabon. The city is a port on the Komo River, near the Gulf of Guinea, and a trade center for a timber region. As of 2005, it has a population of 578,156. The area was inhabited by the Mpongwé tribe long before the French acquired the land in 1839. In 1846, L'Elizia, a Brazilian ship carrying slaves for sale, was captured by the French navy near Loango. The slaves were freed and founded Libreville (French for "Freetown") in 1848. It was the chief port of French Equatorial Africa from 1934 to 1946 and was the central focus of the Battle of Gabon in 1940. Libreville was named in imitation of Freetown and grew only slowly as a trading post and a minor administrative centre to a population of 32,000 on independence in 1960.

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