Gabon has a population of about two million people and the lowest population density in Africa at about 14.2 individuals per square mile. The country’s population decreased from 1900 to 1940 due to numerous environmental and historical factors. There are over 40 ethnic groups in Gabon with different cultures and languages. Gabon is home to various indigenous people including the Baka, Kota, and the Bongo.
The Fang are a Central African ethnic group that is found in southern Cameroon, northern Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea. The Fang is one of the most significant ethnic communities in Gabon. The Fang people can be found mostly in Estuaire province. A considerable percentage of the Fang people migrated from central Cameroon during the nineteenth century. The Fang community converse in the Fang language commonly known as Pangwe, Pamue or Pahoin. The Pangwe language is a south Bantu language that belongs to the Congo-Niger languages family. The Pangwe is similar to the language spoken by the Bulu community and the Beti community.
The Benga community is an African ethnic-group that is indigenous to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The Benga people converse in an indigenous language known as the Benga. Benga language has a dialectical-variation referred to as Bapuku. Currently, the Bengas can be found in the Great Elobey, small Elobey, Corisco Island, Bata, Rio Benito and Rion Muni among other places.
The Bakota community, commonly known as the Kota, is a Bantu ethnic group from the northeastern parts of Gabon. The language used by the Bakota people is known as iKota, also referred to as Kota, Ikuta or Bakota language. The Kota language has numerous dialects, including Menzambi, Sake, Mahongwe, and Ndambomo, among others. The Bakota people are a patriarchal community, even though various sub-groups like the Mahonwe have adopted the matrilineal lineage system. There are about 43,500 iKota speakers on the planet of which 21% are living in Congo-Brazzaville while 79% are in Ogouee-Ivindo province in Gabon.
The Mitsogo community is an ethnocultural group of Gabonese residing in the highlands of Gabon. The language used by the Mitsogo people is known as Tsogo language. There are about 13,000 Tsogo language speakers living in the east and north of Mouila in Ngounie Province.
Other Ethnic Groups
Gabon is home to a small pygmy population and the Boungome people who reside in the northern parts of the country. The Basimba people, who live in Ogooue-Ivindo, originated from Uganda. The Mbama community is an ethnic group that is primarily situated in Haut-Ogooue province. The traditional language of the Mbama people is known as Mbama or Obamba. Other ethnic groups in Gabon include Banzebie, Massango, Bavaram, Akele, Bapunu, Eviya, and Guisir, among others.
Over 80% of the residents can converse in French, and 30% of residents of Libreville are native French speakers. Fang Language is the mother tongue of over 32% of the population. All of the over 40 Bantu tribes living in Gabon have their unique mother tongue and cultures. The government announced that they wanted to make English their second national language in 2012.