According to Countryaah, Gabon’s average population density (8 residents per km 2) is one of the lowest in the region. At the same time, the country has the highest degree of urbanization in the region (89 percent of the population lives in cities). The largest cities are the capital Libreville (797,000 residents, 2012) and Port-Gentil (150,500). The largest population concentrations in the countryside are found in areas of plantation agriculture, mainly in the northern part of the country and around the city of Lambaréné in western Gabon. There are also a large number of guest workers and Frenchmen in the country.
There are at least about 40 people in the country. Most of Gabon is populated by captives(634,000) with the subgroups bulu (4,600), runway, eton, mvae, mvele, ntumu, tsinga and yaunde. Fang originated from a Sudanese immigrant from the Northeast who merged with the Equatorial Forest’s bantu people. Like these, they live by self-catering based on tropical hacking, hunting and fishing. They live in compact villages in the forest glades. Each village consists of two rows of rectangular houses of bark or plank on either side of a “village street” or open gathering place. A village is composed of one or more patrilineal descent groups under the direction of their head of genealogy, but without central chief authority. In the Ngounié province in the central parts of the country you will find mitsogo (26,000), feared for their magical knowledge and whose medical ceremonies are well known in Gabon. Mitsogo was conquered by the French only in 1940; nowadays these mountain dwellers are to a large extent urbanized.
In eastern Gabon live dzem, pomo, bumali and kota (42,000), which are related to the similarly patrilineal neighbors of northern Congo and to the coastal people, benga (6,000), nkomi (20,000), from which the prison invasion separated them. In the eastern parts of the country there are several pygmy people, including baka (5,000), which are, however, numerically small. Bongo is the term for a hunter and gatherer who is sometimes also included among the pygmies. Most of the bongo are now farmers. In the border area with the Congo lives cara, another pygmy group, which together counts 2 600 people.
In southern Gabon, people living in the matrilinear culture live in southwestern Congo. They all have a similar way of life and a strong sense of man’s dependence on spiritual forces alongside the creator god Nzambi (Nyambi, Nyame). In ecstatic rituals, one seeks contact with eg. nature spirits or the spirits of the dead to achieve health, power, sense of life or community.
The official language is French. The native languages belong to all the bantu languages. The most important are shirapunu along the coast (about 100,000 speakers), mbere in the eastern provinces (about 70,000 speakers) and fang, which is the dominant language (spoken by about 29% of the population), in the north of the country.
The first Portuguese reached the area of Western Africa that today constitutes the Republic of Gabon 1472. From the 16th century onwards, the Portuguese received competition from the Dutch, French, Spaniards and Englishmen when it came to the exchange of fabrics, iron, firearms and alcohol against wood products, ivory and slaves. This early contact with Europeans is probably a major cause of the strong Christian presence in the country. About 55% are said to belong to the Roman Catholic Church, just over 11% are Protestants, just under 16% are said to belong to independent Christian churches, such as Gabon’s Evangelical Church and Church of the Initiated (Église des Banzie). The latter mixes Christianity with the traditional religion of the prisoners. Muslims are said to make up about 10% of the population. Many of the country’s residents combine elements of Christianity, traditional indigenous religion, voodoo and animism.
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The Constitution and other laws guarantee freedom of religion. Ministry of the Interior for register of most religious organizations. There is no compulsion for religious groups to register, but they should, according to the government, do so to obtain full constitutional protection. The religious organizations that can show that they are not profitable are tax exempt. Both Christian and Muslim groups have the right to run schools. In 2011, there were no reports of discrimination due to religious affiliation.