1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gabun

GABUN, a district on the west coast of Africa, one of the colonies forming French Congo (q.v.). It derives its designation from the settlements on the Gabun river or Rio de Gabão. The Gabun, in reality an estuary of the sea, lies immediately north of the equator. At the entrance, between Cape Joinville or Santa Clara on the N. and Cape Pangara or Sandy Point on the S., it has a width of about 10 m. It maintains a breadth of some 7 m. for a distance of 40 m. inland, when it contracts into what is known as the Rio Olambo, which is not more than 2 or 3 m. from bank to bank. Several rivers, of which the Komo is the chief, discharge their waters into the estuary. The Gabun was discovered by Portuguese navigators towards the close of the 15th century, and was named from its fanciful resemblance to a gabão or cabin. On the small island of Koniké, which lies about the centre of the estuary, scanty remains of a Portuguese fort have been discovered. The three principal tribes in the Gabun are the Mpongwe, the Fang and the Bakalai.