HISTORY. First colonized by France in the mid-19th century, Gabon was annexed to French Congo in 1890 and became a separate colony in 1910 as one of the 4 territories of French Equatorial Africa. It became an autonomous republic within the French Community in 1958 and achieved independence on 17 Aug. 1960. The first President, Leon M’ba, died in 1967 and was succeeded on 2 Dec. by his Vice-President, Albert-Bernard (now Omar) Bongo.
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