CAPITAL : Libreville
FLAG : The flag is a tricolor of green, golden yellow, and royal blue horizontal stripes.
ANTHEM : La Concorde (Harmony).
MONETARY UNIT : The Communauté Financière Africaine franc (CFA Fr), which was originally pegged to the French franc, has been pegged to the euro since January 1999 with a rate of 655.957 CFA francs to 1 euro. The CFA franc is issued in coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 CFA francs, and notes of 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 CFA francs. CFA Fr1 = $0.00167 (or $1 = CFA Fr597.577) as of May 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is the legal standard.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Day of Renewal, 12 March; Labor Day, 1 May; Africa Freedom Day, 25 May; Assumption, 15 August; Independence Day, 17 August; All Saints' Day, 1 November; Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include Easter Monday, Ascension, Pentecost Monday, 'Id al-Fitr, and 'Id al-'Adha'.
TIME : 1 PM = noon GMT.
French is the official language of the republic. The Fang language is spoken in northern Gabon, and other Bantu languages (Myene, Batéké, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi) are spoken elsewhere in the country.
Gabon is divided into nine provinces, administered by governors, which are subdivided into 37 prefectures, headed by prefects. There are eight separate sub-prefectures, governed by subprefects. These officers are directly responsible to the government at Libreville and are appointed by the president. In some areas, the traditional chiefs still retain power, but their position has grown less secure.
In 1974, a national company known as SONAGAR was created, 36% owned by the government. In 1986, there were four French insurance companies represented in Gabon. As of 1995, at least ten insurance companies were doing business in Gabon.
Gabon has no territories or colonies.
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Decalo, Samuel. The Stable Minority: Civilian Rule in Africa, 1960–1990. Gainesville, Fla.: FAP Books, 1998.
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Gardinier, David E. Gabon. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio Press, 1992.
——. Historical Dictionary of Gabon. 2d ed. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1994.
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Gray, Christopher J. Colonial Rule and Crisis in Equatorial Africa: Southern Gabon, c. 1850–1940 Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 2002.
McElrath, Karen (ed.). HIV and AIDS: A Global View. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.