Gabon profile - timeline

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A chronology of key events:

1470 - Portuguese arrive in what is now Gabon.

1839 - Local Mpongwe ruler signs away sovereignty to the French.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Leon M'ba was Gabon's first post-independence leader

1910 - Gabon becomes part of French Equatorial Africa.

1958 - Gabon votes to become autonomous republic in the French Community.

1960 - Gabon becomes independent.

1961 - Leon Mba elected president.

1964 - French forces restore President Mba after crushing a military coup.

1967 - Albert-Bernard Bongo becomes president after Mr Mba dies.

1973 - President Bongo converts to Islam and assumes the name Omar.

Multi-party elections

1990 - Opposition parties legalised, but accuse the government of fraud in parliamentary elections held in September and October.

1991 - Parliament adopts a new constitution that formalises the multi-party system.

1993 - Omar Bongo narrowly wins presidential election, the first held under the new multi-party constitution; opposition accuses government of electoral fraud.

Constitution amended

2003 July - Constitution changed to allow President Bongo to run for president as many times as he wishes.

2004 February - French oil firm Total signs deal to export Gabonese oil to China.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Omar Bongo - president for 41 years - was succeeded by his son after his death in 2009

2004 September - Agreement signed with Chinese company to exploit around one billion tonnes of iron ore.

2006 February - Gabon and Equatorial Guinea agree to start talks over disputed islands in potentially oil-rich waters in the Gulf of Guinea.

2009 February - French court freezes President Omar Bongo's bank accounts in the country after he was ordered to return a payment made to him to release a jailed French businessman, Rene Cardona.

Presidential succession

2009 June - President Omar Bongo dies while undergoing treatment at a clinic in Spain.

2009 September - Ali Bongo, son of late president, named winner of August election. Critics say poll was fixed to ensure dynastic succession. Opposition supporters clash with security forces.

2010 August - Bongo says France no longer its exclusive partner, as Gabon signs deals with India and Singapore for major infrastructure projects.

Image source, SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption,
Ali Bongo succeeded his father as president in 2009

2012 January - Gabon and Equatorial Guinea co-host Africa Cup of Nations, the continent's biggest football tournament.

2012 - Gabon drops French as its official language in favour of English.

2015 February - Gabon lifts ban on main opposition party National Union (UN)

2015 April - Main opposition leader Andre Mba Obame dies in Cameroon. Tens of thousands turn out to greet his coffin as it returns home.

2016 September - President Ali Bongo is sworn in for a second seven-year term as the Constitutional Court upholds his narrow election victory over his main challenger Jean Ping.

2017 February - A new report says Gabon has lost 80% of its elephant population over the past decade.

2018 October - President Ali Bongo reportedly suffers a stroke and leaves the country for treatment.

2019 January - A group of junior officers briefly attempt a coup against President Bongo, shortly before he returns from medical treatment abroad.