Libreville

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Libreville
Chancery Building, Libreville
Map of the Gabon showing Libreville.
Coordinates: 0°23′24″N 9°27′0″E / 0.39°N 9.45°E / 0.39; 9.45Coordinates: 0°23′24″N 9°27′0″E / 0.39°N 9.45°E / 0.39; 9.45
Country Gabon
District Libreville
Founded 1843
Population (2005)
 • Total 578,156
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)

Libreville is the capital city of Gabon. It is the largest city in that country. The city has a population of 578,156 people. Libreville is a port on the Gabon River, near the Gulf of Guinea. It is a trade center for a timber region.

The Libreville International Airport, the headquarters for Air Gabon, is about 11 km (6.8 mi) north of the city.

History[change | change source]

The Mpongwé tribe lived in the area long before the French took control of the land in 1839. The city was founded (as Gabon) in 1843 as a trading station. Freed slaves were sent there from the ship L'Elizia. In 1848 it was named Libreville (French for "Freetown"). It was the chief port of French Equatorial Africa from 1934 to 1946.

Libreville was named in after Freetown. It grew slowly as a trading post and a minor administrative centre. It had a population of 31,000 when it became independent in 1960. Since independence, the city has grown more quickly. Nearly half the of the people of Gabon live in the city.

Things to see[change | change source]

Sights in Libreville include the National Museum of Arts and Traditions, the French cultural centre, St Marie’s Cathedral, the carved wood church of St Michael, Nkembo, the Arboretum de Sibang and two cultural villages. Gabon's school of administration and school of law are in Libreville. The Omar Bongo University is also in Libreville.

Industry[change | change source]

The city is home to a shipbuilding industry, brewing industry and sawmills. The city exports raw materials such as wood, rubber and cocoa from the city's main port, and the deepwater port at Owendo.