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Gabon Independence Day

by Vishal Kumar

The Gabonese Republic celebrates its Independence Day on August 17 to commemorate its freedom from French rule till 1960.

When does Gabon celebrate its Independence Day?

The Gabonese Republic, commonly known as Gabon, is a country on the west coast of Central Africa that had been under French rule till August 17, 1960.

Today, this day is celebrated as the Independence Day of Gabon to commemorate the birth of this sovereign nation.

How is Independence Day celebrated in Gabon?

Gabonese Independence Day is the celebration of the historic moment when the independent nation of Gabon was formed. The people of Gabon commemorate this day each year with traditional dance programs, drum shows, and parades. Like many other countries, Independence Day is a national holiday in Gabon.

Why is Independence Day significant in the history of Gabon?

Gabon saw the arrival of Europeans, which included the Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English, at the end of the 15th century. With the arrival of Europeans, Gabon soon became a center for the slave trade, which flourished for the next 350 years.

The first European settlement in Gabon was established by France. In 1839 and 1841, the French began signing treaties with local Gabonese chiefs to gain protector status for the country. During the European scramble for Africa, the French exploited these treaties to occupy Gabon in 1885, but it was not until 1903 that France began active administration in Gabon.

In 1910, Gabon became one of the four territories of French Equatorial Africa. French Equatorial Africa was formed by a union of of French colonies in western Africa that included present-day Gabon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic. The federation existed between 1910 and 1959.

The first political party to surface in the Gabonese political scene was Jeunesse Gabonais, which was founded in 1922 to seek representation for the Gabonese people in the colonial administration, and to improve educational opportunities for the native people. The hopes for gaining freedom strengthened in 1958 when Gabon voted for autonomous status within the French community. The French authorities finally agreed to grant Gabon its sovereignty in July 1960, and a month later on August 17, 1960, the Gabonese Republic was born.

What does the flag of Gabon represent?

The Gabonese flag was adopted on August 9, 1960. The present design of the flag was adopted in 1959, however, at the time French national flag was superimposed in the top left corner. It was removed once Gabon became an independent country in 1960.

Today, the flag consists of three horizontal stripes of green, yellow, and blue. While green forms the top layer, the middle, and bottom layers are yellow and blue respectively. The green color of the flag signifies the verdant vegetation and forests; the yellow color symbolizes the equator that transects Gabon, and it also represents the warm and bright sunlight; the blue color represents the Atlantic Ocean that washes its shores.

Who wrote the national anthem of Gabon?

The national anthem of Gabon, “La Concorde,” which means “The Concord” was adopted in 1960. The song was composed and set to music by Georges Aleka Damas.

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