Libreville - Gabon

Libreville is located on the north shore of the Gabon Estuary, which empties into the Gulf of Guinea. Built on hills overlooking the sheltered port, the city has a modern former European sector rising from the sea surrounded by traditional African villages. 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. Libreville's main market lies in Mont-Bou√ęt. The area was inhabited by the Mpongwe tribe long before the French acquired the land in 1839. Founded in 1843 as a trading station, freed slaves from the ship L'Elizia arrived there in 1849 and thsettlement was combined with a group of Pongoue villages to be named Libreville (French for Freetown). Between 1860 and 1874, the British, Germans, and Americans established businesses and from 1888 to 1904 it was the capital of French Equatorial Africa. Since independence in 1960, the city has grown rapidly.