Libreville

GEOGRAPHIE

Gabon is on the west coast of Africa, centered on the equator. It borders Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon to the north, and the Republic of Congo to the east and south.

Libreville, the capital is on the west coast in the north. It is in Fang territory, though it was not chosen for this reason. Libreville ("free town") was the landing place for a ship of freed slaves in the 1800s, and later became the capital.

From north to south, major districts of the city are the residential area Batterie IV, Quartier Louis (known for its nightlife), Mont-Bouët and Nombakélé (busy commercial areas), Glass (the first European settlement in Gabon), Oloumi (a major industrial area) and Lalala, a residential area. The city’s port and train station on the Trans-Gabon Railway line to Franceville lie in Owendo, south of the main built-up area.

Over 80 percent of Gabon is tropical rain forest, with plateau region in the south. There are nine provinces .


http://harmonfrench.wikispaces.com/Gabon

CLIMATE

Libreville features a tropical monsoon climate with a lengthy wet season and a short dry season. Libreville’s wet season spans about nine months (September through May), with a heavy amount of rain falling during these months. The city’s dry season lasts from June through August and is caused by the cold Beneguela Current reaching its northernmost extent and suppressing rainfall. Despite the lack of rain, Libreville remains very cloudy during this time of year.

As common with many cities with this climate, average temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the course of the year, with average high temperatures at around 30 °C (86.0 °F) .

LANGUAGE

Libreville is, with Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, one of a few African cities where French is truly becoming a native language, with some local features.The national language is French, which is mandatory in school. It is spoken by the majority of the population under the age of fifty. The use of a common language is extremely helpful in the cities, where Gabonese from all of the different ethnic groups come together to live. Most Gabonese speak at least two languages, as each ethnic group has its own language as well.

HISTORY

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. It only received its first bank branch when Bank of West Africa (BAO) opened a branch in 1930. Since independence, the city has grown rapidly and now houses nearly half the national population.

Outpost Libreville

Focal point: Marie Kassa Koumba
Office hours: By appointment
Languages: French, English
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