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Djibouti History




Djibouti is a country located in the eastern part of Africa. The history of Djibouti is also characterized by ethnic conflicts and civil war and the French domination that forms an important part of the nation's history.

The history of Djibouti goes back to the third century B.C.
when the region was inhabited by the immigrants from Arabia; these people were known as Able. During this period, the people of Djibouti used to trade in skins and hides, in exchange of spices and perfumes, with people from ancient Egypt, India and China.

In the ninth century AD, Islam was introduced in the region. The Afars and Somalis were the first ethnic groups who started practicing Islam following close contact with the Arabian Peninsula. They ruled from 1862 to 1894 till the French established their supremacy in 1896.

French control over the African country increased during the 19th century. The present capital city of Djibouti was established by the French in 1896. The year 1977 was a watershed period in Djibouti history. Djibouti became an independent state in that year and was also designated as a republic by the first president-Hassan Goulded Aptidon. Post the independence, the country was dominated by two dominant tribes- the majority Somali origin Issa tribe and the substantial minority Afar tribe. The first premier of Djibouti- President Hassan Gouled Aptidon was of Issa origin and was opposed politically by the native Afars. This uneven power sharing between the two tribes led to the Civil War of Djibouti that ravaged the country for four long years and destroyed the economy of the African nation.

Djibouti Civil War
The Djibouti Civil War started in 1991 and ended in 1994. The Civil War in Djibouti ravaged the economy of the east African country and stymied its political aspirations on the world map.

The African country of Djibouti gained independence from France in 1977. Djibouti is populated by two dominant tribes- the majority Somali origin Issa tribe and the substantial minority Afar tribe. The Afar is the native tribe of Djibouti. The Issa tribe controls substantial political power in Djibouti. The first premier of Djibouti- President Hassan Gouled Aptidon was of Issa origin. This uneven power sharing between the two tribes led to the Civil War of Djibouti that ravaged the country for four long years. The Djibouti Civil War destroyed the economy of the African nation.

The politically sidelined Afars formed the Restoration of Unity and Democracy political faction and began to fight the Issa dominated Djibouti government from November 1991. The Restoration of Unity and Democracy is popularly known by its French initials FRUD. The Afars dominated the Djibouti landscape in the western and northern part of the African country. The Issas had total control over the southern part. French Peacekeeping forces were sent to restore peace in the war ravaged east African country in 1992. The fighting subsided to some extent with the formation of multi-party political system in 1994.



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