City (pop., 2007 est.: 576,000), capital of Gabon, located on the northern shore of the Gabon Estuary. Pongoue people first settled the region after the 16th century, followed by the Fang in the 19th century. The French built a fort on the estuary's northern bank in 1843, and in 1849 a settlement of freed slaves and a group of Pongoue villages were given the name Libreville. In 1850 France abandoned its fort and resettled on the plateau, now the commercial and administrative centre of the city. It is well industrialized and is Gabon's educational centre. Libreville was the capital of French Equatorial Africa from 1888 to 1904.
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