Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Gaboon River

Gaboon River, the Portuguese name of an estuary and settlement on the E. coast of Africa. It has different native names, and is situate just N. of the equator, in lat. 21'25" N.,and long. 9° 21' W. At the entry it is 18 miles wide, and at 40 miles distant it has a breadth of 2 or 3 miles, and takes the name of Rio Olambo, being formed by the tributaries Mkomo and Mbokwa. The former of these is the longer, and has been explored for a considerable distance. Captain Burton explored the second to a point where it narrowed to a width of 50 yards. The south bank of the estuary is low and marshy, and on the north bank, which is higher, is the French settlement of Libreville, which, since the Franco-German war, had, till lately, become merely a coaling-station; but the recent expeditions of De Brazza have re-aroused the attention of the French nation to this region. There are also several English trading-ports, and most part of the commerce has been carried on by the British. The Remboa and the Eko are also tributaries, and there are islands, reefs, and shoals, the chief islands being King's Isle, at the mouth of the Eko, and Parrot Island, in mid channel. It was in 1839 that France first gained a footing in the region, and they gave the name of Gabons to the Mpongwa, whom they found to be the principal race there. Other races are the Fans, the Bakalai, and the Boulous. Burton found the Mpongwa to be far advanced in civilisation, and their women to occupy a good position, while their language is the lingua franca of the colony. The Fans, who also were civilised, but to a smaller degree than the Mpongwa, and who were addicted to cannibalism - only as a religious ceremony, however - have been lately moving forward, and may become the predominant native race. The district exports ivory, bees-wax, caoutchouc, ebony, and camwood, and was once the seat of an active slave-trade.