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Libreville ("free town") was the landing place for a ship of freed slaves in the 1800s, and later became the capital. The original inhabitants were the Pygmies, but only a few thousand remain.Over 80 percent of Gabon is tropical rain forest, with a plateau region in the south. Of the total population, 60 percent live in the cities while 40 percent inhabit the villages. Gabon is a French equatorial country, home to over forty ethnic groups.The largest group is the Fang, forming 40 percent of the population.There are nine provinces named after the rivers that separate them. There is also a large population of Africans from other countries who have come to Gabon to find work. The national language is French, which is mandatory in school.It is spoken by the majority of the population under the age of fifty.Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.
The ceremonial traditions vary, however, as do the personalities of the groups.
Other major groups are the Teke, the Eshira, and the Pounou.
As in many African countries, the borders of Gabon do not correspond to the borders of the ethnic groups.
The use of a common language is extremely helpful in the cities, where Gabonese from all of the different ethnic groups come together to live.
Most Gabonese speak at least two languages, as each ethnic group has its own language as well. The Gabonese flag is made of three horizontal stripes: green, yellow, and blue.