Video Source: Youtube
Flag Source: CIA World Factbook
The oral tradition constitutes the earliest record of Djibouti’s beginnings: through poetry and song, past inhabitants of Djibouti learned about the nomadic traditions of their ancestors, who traded animal hides for spices, perfumes, and cloth from Egypt and as far away as China. Djibouti was one of the first places in Africa to be introduced to Islam, thanks to their trade ties to the Arabian Peninsula.
The French first took interest in the region in the late 19th century as a response to the growing British influence in Egypt and the construction of the Suez Canal. Djibouti town became the administrative capital of the protectorate in 1892, and in 1896 the protectorate was named French Somaliland. The Djibouti-Ethiopian rail link was originally constructed between 1897 and 1917 as the Franco-Ethiopian railway, fostering trade between Ethiopia, French Somaliland, and Europe.
In 1958, French Somaliland became a
French overseas territory, but many Djiboutians began to clamor for independence. In 1967 the French government changed the name of French Somaliland to the French Territory of Afars and Issas.
In 1977, Djibouti finally attained independence from France, and Hassan Gouled Aptidon became its first president; he led the nation until 1999. Ismail Omar Guelleh succeeded him and will remain in office until elections are held in 2011.
In 1991 civil war broke out between the Djibouti government and an Afar rebel group. The war was resolved in 1994, when members of the Afar group were accepted as part of the national government.
The Top 5: Local Advice
1. Djibouti has a very important and active port in the Gulf of Aden. This East African nation is just smaller than Massachusetts. It is bordered by Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Djibouti is divided into five districts: Ali Sabih, Dikhil, Djibouti, Obock, and Tadjoura.
2. The photographing of public buildings and infrastructure is prohibited in Djibouti. Be very careful when using your camera: it is always better to ask permission before taking a photo.
3. The currency in Djibouti is the Djibouti franc, represented by the symbol DJF. Djibouti is largely a cash-based society, and there are very few ATMs, even in the capital. We recommend changing your money before departing for Djibouti or at the airport when you arrive.
4. Djibouti has a population of slightly over 500, 000. The main ethnic groups are the Issa (from Somalia), the Afar, and Ethiopians. The official languages of Djibouti are French and Arabic, and Somali and Afar are widely spoken.
5. Djibouti is a primarily Muslim country. Dress on the conservative side, but remember to stay cool to avoid overheating.