Gabon profile

A chronology of key events:

1470 - Portuguese arrive in what is now Gabon.

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

Gabonese Prime Minister and future President Leon M'ba pictured in 1960 during the signing of an agreement with France 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 Mba's presidency after crushing military coup.

1967 - Bongo becomes president after Mba dies.

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

Multi-party elections

1990 - Opposition parties legalised, 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.

1996 - Governing Gabonese Democratic Party wins significant majority in parliamentary elections.

1998 - Bongo re-elected to a seven-year term.

2002 January - Ruling Gabonese Democratic Party retains a convincing majority in parliamentary elections.

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.

Women hold poster depicting the late President Omar Bongo at Libreville airport on 11 June 2009 Omar Bongo - president for 41 years - was succeeded by his son after his death in 2009

Bongo succession

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

2005 November - Omar Bongo is re-elected as president. Opposition supporters clash with police in the capital.

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

2006 December - President Bongo's party wins parliamentary elections comfortably amid opposition accusations of fraud.

2008 January - Government temporarily bans 20 non-governmental organisations for alleged interference in politics.

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 Ben 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 - Gabon marks 50 years of independence.

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

2010 December - Parliament passes constitutional changes allowing government to delay calling an electoral college. The opposition National Union says the changes open the door to dictatorship.

2011 January - A leader of the opposition National Union party, Andre Mba Obame, takes refuge at UN compound in Libreville. His party was dissolved after he declared himself to have been legitimately elected president in the 2009 elections.

2011 December - President Bongo's ruling PDG party takes 95% of seats in parliamentary election, sparking opposition accusations of fraud.

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

2013 February - French police search a villa in Nice bought by the late President Omar Bongo - father of incumbent President Ali Ben Bongo - as part of a long-running corruption investigation.

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