Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of light blue (top)
and light green with a white isosceles triangle based on the hoist side
bearing a red five-pointed star in the center
Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and
the Red Sea, between Eritrea and Somalia
Geographic coordinates: 11 30 N, 43 00 E
Climate: Nearly 90% of Djibouti is volcanic desert.
Minor mountain ranges extend from the coastal plain to the Ethiopian highlands,
where Moussa Ali, the highest point in the country, rises to 2,063 m (6,768
ft). The long coastline, some 800 km (500 mi) in length, is deeply
indented by the Gulf of Tadjoura. Djibouti is one of the hottest places
on Earth. A comparatively cool season lasts from November to April,
but the annual average temperature is nearly 32 deg C (90 deg F).
The average daily maximum temperature in July is 41 deg C (106 deg F).
The average annual rainfall is less than 125 mm (5 in), and vegetation
Independence: 27 June 1977 (from France)
Nationality: noun: Djiboutian(s) adjective:
Capital City: Djibouti
Population: 451,442 (July 2000 est.
Head of State: President Ismail Omar GUELLEH
Area: 22,000 sq km
Type of Government: republic
Currency: 1 Djiboutian franc (DF) = 100 centimes
Major peoples: Somali 60%, Afar 35%, Issas, French,
Arab, Ethiopian, and Italian 5%
Religion: Muslim 94%, Christian 6%
Official Language: French
Principal Languages: French (official), Arabic (official), Somali,
Major Exports: reexports, hides and skins, coffee (in transit)
History: France took possession of Djibouti (called French
Somalia) in 1884. As the Territory of the Afars and the Issas, it
remained part of the French republic until 1977, when it gained independence
despite conflicting Ethiopian and Somali claims.
Since independence Djibouti
tried to remain neutral in conflicts between and within Ethiopia and Somalia.
In 1981, Djibouti officially became a one-party state headed by a president
directly elected for six years. Hassan Gouled Aptidon, Djibouti's
first president, was reelected in 1981 and 1987. An Afar-based armed
rebellion in the north that began in late 1991 soon gained control of much
of the country. In 1992, Aptidon introduced a multiparty constitution
that was approved by voters in September. The rebels, however, objected
to the retention of a strong presidency, and civil strife continued despite
French efforts to resolve the conflict.