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Armed Forces

Arms of the Regions




Gabon was first explored by the Portuguese navigator Diego Cam in the 15th century. In 1472, the Portuguese explorers encountered the mouth of the Como River and named it “Rio de Gabao,” river of Gabon, which later became the name of the country. The Dutch began arriving in 1593, and the French in 1630. In 1839, the French founded their first settlement on the left bank of the Gabon estuary and gradually occupied the hinterland during the second half of the 19th century. In 1885, the Congress of Berlin recognized French rights over the right bank of the Congo, an area that Brazza had explored extensively. The land became a French territory in 1888. In 1890, Gabon formally became a part of French Congo. It was separated into a distinct administrative region in 1903 and in 1910 was organized as a separate colony, part of French Equatorial Africa. In 1940, Free French forces ousted the Vichy government from Gabon.

In a referendum on 28 September 1958, the territory of Gabon voted to become an autonomous republic within the French Community. On 19 February 1959, a constitution was adopted, and a provisional government headed by Mba became the first official government of Gabon. Independence was formally proclaimed on 17 August 1960.




Flags and Arms


It is said that the flag of French Equatorial Africa was red with a white crescent-and-star and a canton of the French tricolore. This flag however, is only weakly documented by Roberto Bresci .


The first national symbol of Gabon was a flag, adopted on 29 June 1959. It consisted of three horizontal stripes: green for the forest, yellow for the equator and blue for the sea in the proportions of 5 : 2 : 5, and a canton of the French tricolore.



This flag was abandoned on 9 August 1969 for a new one of three equal stripes of green, yellow and blue.



The achievement of Gabon was adopted by decree Nº  213/PR of 15 July 1963 and published  in the Journal Officiel of 15 August 1963 (amendmend  Nº 343/PR of 23 October 1963).

The achievement  is:


Arms: Or, a sailing vessel Sable, flying the flag of Gabon being tierced per fess of green, yellow and blue, on a base wavy Azure; and a chief  Vert, three balls Or.

Supporters: An okoumé tree (Aucoumea Klaineana ) Or behind the shield and two black panthers as supporters.

Motto:  Below: UNION TRAVAIL  JUSTICE in golden lettering on a listel Azure; above: UNITI PROGREDIEMUR. in black lettering on a listel Argent.


See illustration in the head of this article.


The shield is of the colors of the flag symbolizing the forest, the sun and the sea.

Okoumé (also Gaboon or Mahogany) growing in the immense forests of Gabon is an important export product and the golden color symbolizes the wealth it generates.

The three golden balls symbolize the mineral wealth of Gabon.

The sailing vessel symbolizes the importance of the sea for the country and, by its color, also the people of Gabon.

The black panthers (Panthera pardus - Felidæ) are the symbol of courage and vigilance and are the emblem of the presidency who has to watch over  the future.

The second motto UNITI PROGREDIEMUR means: We Proceed in Unity.


The achievement was designed by the Swiss heraldist Louis Mühlemann and rendered by the heraldic artist Paul Krog in Zurich. [1]





The seal of the Republic shows a mother and child and a legend of the name of the country and the motto.


Armed Forces



Gendarmerie, Police, Army. Emblem





Coats of Arms of the Regions of Gabon


The same authors are responsible for the coats of arms of the nine regions of Gabon and for some nine coats of arms of Gabonese communities.[2]

The coats of arms of the Regions are reproduced below.


Ogooué Maritime










© Hubert de Vries, 2008-11-17

Updated 2011-09-17

[1] ) Les Armoiries du Gabon. In: Archivum Heraldicum, 1966 pp. 46-47.

[2] ) Mühlemann, Louis: Territorial- und Kommunalherldik in Gabun. In: Archivum Heraldicum 1975, pp. 6 - 13.  Also: Blasons / République Gabonaise. Ministère d’Information Gabonaise. Eds. Paul Bory. Monaco, 1968.

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