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Ogooué River

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The Ogooué River is the main river of Gabon, formerly part of French Equatorial Africa. The river and its tributaries drains nearly the entire country, and empties into the Atlantic Ocean in a large delta that includes Cape Lopez, near the city of Port-Gentil. In the early twentieth century, the river was the primary route of transportation across the country. The river meanders through rain forest and some grassland, and is home to many wildlife species, including several types of crocodile.

In late December 1916 or early January 1917, a Belgian military expedition sent from German East Africa and reached Franceville on foot from Bonga. At Franceville, Captain Henri Defense (Indiana Jones) hired Zachariah Sloat and his boat, the Collette, to take the surviving men down the river. Along the way downstream, they were attacked by separatist rebels, suffered from tropical diseases, passed the hospital at Lambaréné, and reached Port-Gentil.

After retrieving the arms shipment they had been sent to collect, the expedition began the return trip upriver, but made it no farther than Lambaréné when Albert Schweitzer rescued the survivors from sickness. Later, some men from the Pahouin village rowed downstream to the hospital, seeking the doctor. A recovered Jones offered Schweitzer the use of the boat to reach the village to make a house call. Along the way, Schweitzer explained his new philosophy of Reverence for Life to Jones. Returning to Lambaréné, Schweitzer was taken into custody along with his wife in a French patrol boat and taken downriver to Port-Gentil for deporatation back to Europe. Jones and Remy Baudouin also returned down the river to Port-Gentil, where they bid farewell to the Schweitzers and returned to Europe.

Many members of the Belgian expedition lost their lives while traveling along the river, and were buried in the river. These included Lt. Arnaud and Private Juba and several others.

Locations along the Ogooué River and its tributariesEdit


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