The Gabonese Republic is a country in Central Africa with its capital at Libreville. Gabon was colonized by France in 1885, and it became a part of the French Equatorial Africa colony; in November 1940, the Free French liberated Gabon from its Vichy French colonial administration. On 17 August 1960, Gabon declared its independence, and Leon M'ba would lead Gabon as an autocratic ruler until his 1967 death. From 1967 to 2009, M'ba's successor Omar Bongo reigned as dictator with his conservative Gabonese Democratic Party, and his son Ali Bongo Ondimba was elected as his successor. In 2009, Gabon had a population of 1,475,000 people.