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Gabon sits on the Equator in Western Africa. Oil, timber, and manganese earn this thinly settled republic one of the highest per capita incomes in Africa. However, the income is largely based on oil money going to a few—most live by subsistence farming. France gained control starting in 1839, and Libreville (Free Town), Gabon's capital, got its name when French forces freed slaves there in 1849.


Gabon has more than forty different ethnic groups with their own languages and cultures, but Libreville is a predominantly French-speaking city with large number of foreigners working mainly in the export business.

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.
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.