Gabon officially the Gabonese Republic is a sovereign state on the west coast of Central Africa. Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea to the west. It has an area of nearly 270,000 square kilometres (100,000 sq mi) and its population is estimated at 1.5 million people. Its capital and largest city is Libreville.
Since its independence from France on
August 17, 1960, Gabon has had three presidents. In the early 1990s,
Gabon introduced a multi-party system and a new democratic constitution
that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and reformed many
governmental institutions. Gabon was also a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council
for the 2010–2011 term.
density, abundant petroleum,
and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in Sub-Saharan
Africa, with the highest HDI and the third
highest GDP per capita (PPP) (after Equatorial Guinea and Botswana) in the region.
There are three distinct regions: the coastal plains (ranging between 20 to
300 km from the ocean's shore), the mountains (the Cristal
Mountains to the northeast of Libreville, the Chaillu Massif in the centre,
culminating at 1575 m with Mont Iboundji), and the savanna in the east. The coastal plains form a large
section of the World Wildlife Fund's Atlantic Equatorial coastal
forests ecoregion and contain
patches of Central African mangroves especially
on the Muni River estuary on
the border with Equatorial Guinea.
Gabon's largest river is the Ogooué which is 1200 km long. Gabon has three karst areas where there are hundreds of caves
located in the dolomite and limestone rocks. Some of the caves include Grotte du
Lastoursville, Grotte du Lebamba, Grotte du Bongolo, and Grotte du Kessipougou.
Many caves have not been explored yet. A National Geographic Expedition visited
the caves in the summer of 2008 to document them.