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Brief History About Djibouti


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Djibouti is a tiny nation on the Horn of Africa’s northeast coast that is well situated. It is located on the Bab el Mandeb Strait, which divides the Red Sea from the Gulf of Aden to the east.

Djibouti was previously known as French Somaliland (1896–1967) and the French Territory of the Afars and Issas (1967–1977).

However, on June 27, 1977, it became independent from France and adopted the name Djibouti. Djibouti City, the nation’s capital, is situated on coral reefs that projects into the southern gulf.

Djibouti is a country in northeastern Africa that borders Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea on the Red Sea coast.

During the race to colonize Africa in the late nineteenth century, France founded the nation. It was a protectorate and colony for more than a century before gaining independence in 1977. Before the French signed a pact with the local Afar monarch of Obock in 1859, Djibouti lacked a state or national identity.

The Issa-Somali and the Afar, the two dominant ethnic groups, have clashed with one another on important occasions, but a minimal shared identity and national consciousness have emerged, supported by social and cultural similarities between the historically nomadic-pastoral populations who speak related languages, practice Islam, and live in a similar manner.

Modern deepwater port serving the Red Sea and Indian Ocean is located in the nation’s capital, which also houses a French naval base. The only route that travels to Addis Ababa, the capital of neighboring Ethiopia, stops in Djibouti City.

Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia all border Djibouti from the north, west, and southwest, respectively. A large portion of the nation’s 230 miles (370 km) of coastline is provided by the Gulf of Tadjoura, which divides the country’s eastern half and opens into the Gulf of Aden.

The nation is well-known around the world as a geological gold mine. The nation has a lot of geological and radioactive activity since it is situated at a triple intersection of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and East African rift systems.

Frequent little tremors occur, and lava from previous volcanic activity is widely scattered throughout the landscape.

Volcanologists from all over the world were drawn to the Ardoukoba volcano’s eruption in November 1978 because it produced some stunning lava flows.

The other significant inland body of water, in addition to Lake Assal, is Lake Abbe, which is situated on Djibouti’s western border with Ethiopia. Although there are several underground rivers, there are no permanent above-ground rivers in the entire nation.

Climate and economy

There are two distinct seasons in the frequently scorching climate. The cool season, which spans from October to April, is characterized by a Mediterranean-style climate with low humidity and temperatures between the low 70s and mid 80s F (low 20s to low 30s C).

May through September is considered the hot season. Temperatures range from an average low in the mid-80s F (low 30s C) to a scorching high in the low 110s F as the hot khamsin wind sweeps off the inland desert (mid-40s C).

Djibouti is located in a dry, hot region of the Horn of Africa. There are 8,960 square miles there (23,200 square kilometers).

On volcanic strata, the soil is rocky and sandy. Rainfall is incredibly scarce in the hot and muggy atmosphere. Only 10% of the soil is used for pasture, the majority of which is unsuitable for farming.

Also read: 14 Best Places To Visit In Djibouti

Desert bushes and acacia trees make up the majority of the vegetation. Perennial woodland is only found in a few small places.

Nomadic pastoralism, which ignored state boundaries, was the customary way of life. In the Red Sea, fishing is a meager source of revenue, and gardening can only be done on a modest scale.

Djibouti has minimal natural resources, a small agricultural and industrial sector, high unemployment, significant foreign debt, and ongoing fiscal deficits.

The country’s position as a significant regional economic and commercial centre in the Horn of Africa is being strengthened by the government’s continued focus on financial, telecommunications, and trade-related services.

As a result, the economy is primarily dependent on the service sector, which generates about 45% of the nation’s GDP.

Ethnic group and culture of Djibouti

The Somali and Afar are the two biggest ethnic groupings according to linguistic standards. Both populations speak eastern Cushitic languages, which are related but not mutually comprehensible.

The language of the Afar (also known as the Danakil or Denakil) is a dialectal relative of Saho. The Afro-Asiatic language phylum often classifies Saho-Afar as an Eastern Cushitic language.

North and west of the Gulf of Tadjoura, in the sparsely populated regions, are where the Afar are found. This area contains remnants of numerous past and present Afar sultanates.

The original Afar hierarchy’s socioeconomic strata are no longer as significant, and the sultans’ functions are now primarily ceremonial. Additionally, the Afar can be found in Ethiopia, which is only across the border.

The Somali, who also speak an Eastern Cushitic language, are mainly found in the nation’s capital and southeast. Clan-family affiliation determines their social identity.

The majority of Somalis are from the Gadaboursi and Isaaq clans, who migrated from northern Somalia during the 20th century to work on the construction of the Djibouti-Addis Abeba railway and the expansion of Djibouti city’s port. More than half of Somalis are Issa, who outnumber Afar in terms of population.

Yemeni Arabs have a long-standing community in Djibouti city, where there is also a strong French military and technical adviser presence. A modest but significant number of ethnic Ethiopians as well as Greek and Italian expats have recently joined these organizations.

Since independence, a small elite of Issa and Afar politicians has dominated political life. Younger politicians have arisen in recent years, but they are connected to the same establishment. The 1992 constitution set a cap of four political parties.

Power is distributed according to intricate formal and informal rules among the many ethnic communities: The Cabinet of Ministers has one seat each set aside for Arabs, Isaak, and Gadabursi, with the Afar having one more than the Issa.

The president is an Issa; the prime minister is an Afar. The supreme court’s chief justice is always an Issa.

Language of Djibouti

French and Arabic are both recognized as official languages of the republic. Although it is rarely written and is not taught in schools, Somali is the language that is spoken the most. Afar is primarily used in Afar-only regions. Djiboutians speak a variety of languages.

French proficiency is crucial for people who want to pursue politics. Major and secondary schools use French as their primary medium of instruction, while both of these levels also offer first-language education in Arabic.


Nearly all of the Muslim population—more than 90%—follows the Sunni school of Islam. In Djibouti, there are adherents of a few different Christian religions, including Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.

After gaining independence in 1992, Djibouti took 15 years to adopt a constitution. Nine constitutional provisions that had been adopted in 1981 previously controlled the nation.

According to the constitution, the president, who acts as both the head of state and the head of government, is chosen by all eligible voters for a five-year term with no maximum number of terms.

A prime minister is chosen by the president, who also provides assistance. The National Assembly, which consists of 65 members and is presided over by the prime minister, is the government’s legislative body. For a five-year term, assembly members are chosen by majority rule.

Fun fact about Djibouti

  • Lake Assal is 10 times saltier than the sea
  • The flag of Djibouti consists of two light blue and light green horizontal stripes and a white triangle with a red star in the center. The colors green and blue stand for the wealth of the Afar people, the Issa people, the sea, and the sky, the white triangle for equality and peace, and the red star for independence.
  • French, American, and Chinese military bases are located in Djibouti. Global military powers are particularly drawn to Djibouti because of its reputation as a model of stability in a risky region and its proximity to the busiest shipping route in the world.
  • Djiboutians commonly chew the addictive drug khat. The leaf is imported in large quantities from Ethiopia and Kenya and produces a mild amphetamine-like high in the user.
  • Djibouti is the third smallest country in continental Africa, after Swaziland and Gambia.


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