Libreville (lēbrəvēlˈ) [key], city (1993 est. pop. 362,400), capital of Gabon, a port on the Gabon River estuary, near the Gulf of Guinea. Primarily an administrative center, it is also a trade center for a lumbering region. The city was founded in 1843 as a French trading station. Freed slaves were sent there, and in 1848 it was named Libreville [Fr., = freetown]. It was the chief port of French Equatorial Africa before the development (1934–46) of Pointe-Noire, in the Congo. Gabon's school of administration and school of law are in Libreville. An international airport is nearby.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.