Gabon Recent History

Gabon, the first nucleus of the French colony of the Congo, was founded in 1839 by the captain of vessel Bouet-Willaumez. The capital, Libreville, was founded in 1849. In 1876/78 Savorgnan of Brazza explored the Ogouè region.

In 1912 France, in order to have a free hand in Morocco, sold 293,000 sq km to Germany as compensation. of the French Congo, all internal, bordering on German Cameroon and the Belgian Congo.

After various administrative transformations, in 1928 Gabon became part of the group of colonies not assimilated with a favor agreement with France which was able to enjoy a particular customs relief.

Joined the French Community in 1958, as a member state, on July 15, 1960, with an agreement signed in Paris, he became an independent state and the proclamation took place at midnight between August 16 and 17, 1960. The next 20 September also joined the United Nations.

On November 14, 1960 the Constitution was promulgated and in February 1961 the first elections for the National Assembly and for the Presidency of the Republic took place. With all the votes he was elected President L. M’Ba, leader of the “Gabonese Democratic Bloc”, who immediately formed a national unity government, whose foreign minister was JH Aubame, leader of the Gabonese Democratic and Social Union, of radical tendency.

According to Abbreviationfinder, an acronym site which also features history of Gabon, these two parties, already united in 1961 on the occasion of the elections, came to a disagreement which in 1963 resulted in exclusion from the Aubame government.

M’Ba then attempted to dissolve the National Assembly and hold new elections to secure the parliamentary majority. Instead, he obtained many oppositions which resulted in a coup d’état on February 18, 1964, which was immediately repressed by the intervention of French troops, requested by M’Ba. Aubame, who had been the organizer of the uprising, was arrested and sentenced to ten years in prison.

Gabon Recent History

In April of the same year, new elections took place which entrusted the majority to M’ba.
Strikes and unrest were the main feature of those years. In August 1969 M’Ba retired to Paris in poor health and was replaced by Omar Bernard Bongo, his deputy.

In the elections of March 1967 M’Ba was reconfirmed as president but in November he died and Bongo took office again, and this time definitively, starting a national conciliation policy.

He called young members to the government, gave clemency to political prisoners, opened to the opposition, declared the Bloc as a single party, but he called himself “Gabonese Democratic Party”, run by Bongo himself, and with his policy he strengthened national cohesion, giving stability and guaranteeing Gabon a national income well above that of other African states.
In February 1973 the elections confirmed Bongo and in April 1975, with the elimination of the post of vice-president, she was instead replaced with that of Prime Minister, taken on by L. Mebiame.

In foreign policy Bongo was very active, re-established relations with Nigeria, interrupted with the recognition of independent Biafra, broke relations with Israel, approached the Arab states, especially Libya; in 1974 he renewed all economic agreements with France obtaining substantial advantages and in the same year he established diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia and Romania.

In 1981, with a change to the Constitution, the role of President of the Republic could be separated from that of Head of Government. Thus the position of Prime Minister at Mebiame was reconfirmed.

In the 1980s, the drop in world oil prices and the decline in the dollar created an economic deterioration in Gabon which stemmed by creating a five-year stabilization plan (1986/90), supported by the International Monetary Fund.

A series of incidents occurred in 1990 resulting from the suspected death of an opposition leader. France had to send its troops and, after a further reform of the Constitution, a new prime minister was appointed, who was C. Oyè-M’Ba; the single party was canceled and elections were held again which took place several times between September 1990 and March 1991 due to some irregularities.


Oyè M’Ba in 1991 formed a coalition government but, persisting incurable difficulties of a political nature, announced that new elections would be called for 1993.

After the re-election of Bongo in 1993, the main opposition party, the “Gabonese Party of Progress”, led by P. M’Ba Abessole, rose up with harsh protests that led the country almost to civil war. In September 1994 negotiations took place in Paris to bring the country back to normal and following these Bongo formed a government of national unity but of transition, pending the subsequent legislative elections. These took place between December 1996 and January 1997 and again decreed the victory of the Gabonese Democratic Party. Abessole, however, managed to obtain the position of mayor of the capital Libreville.

In May 1997, Bongo appointed Divungui-Di-Ndinge-Didjob, vice-president of the opposition and member of the Republican Democratic Alliance, as vice-president. Still in December 1998, Bongo was confirmed president with the majority of 66% of the votes.