Djibouti is a country in Africa, formerly known as French Somaliland and the French Territory of the Afars and Issas. It obtained its independence from France on June 27, 1977. The capital city is Djibouti City, which is built on coral reefs. They produce natural minerals and also participate in oil exploration.
Learn more about this small country in Africa with these 13 facts.
1. It is about the size of New Jersey, USA
Djibouti occupies an area of 23,300 square kilometers, which is similar to the size of the state of New Jersey in the United States. It shares borders with the countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. It also has a coastline along the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
2. A very hot and arid country
The climate in Djibouti is of a subtropical desert, meaning it is hot and arid. An interesting fact about Djibouti is that its capital is one of the driest and warmest cities in the world. During winter, temperatures are on average of 23°C and in mid-summer, they can reach up to 42°C.
There is also very little rain. In November, it usually rains for five days and that is a lot for Djibouti. This makes it one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. There is also limited potable water.
3. You can find gold in Djibouti
There are a lot of minerals that can be found in this African country. Some of them are gold, limestone, granite and marble. Petroleum exploration is also possible in Djibouti.
4. More than half the population live in the capital
There are less than 900,000 Djiboutians and more than 500,000 of them live in the capital city. This means that more than three-quarters of the country’s population lives in urban centers. A fun fact about Djibouti is that it is also the 40th-fastest growing country in the world.
6. Most of the country’s inhabitants are under 25 years old
Djibouti is a young country. More than half of the population in this nation is under 25. However, this is expected to change soon, since the demographic growth is slowing down.
6. The official languages are French and Arabic
The main tongues that are spoken in Djibouti are French and Arabic. Also, many people speak the languages of the Somalis and Afars. It is predominantly an Islamic country and most people describe themselves as Muslims. Only 6% consider themselves Christian.
Abu Yazid’s tomb is located in the Goda Mountains in Djibouti. This place is considered to be of important religious meaning for the local Muslims. They consider it to be holy.
7. Djibouti’s territory was occupied since Neolithic times
According to several archaeological finds, such as pottery and rock art, scientists were able to determine that the region of Djibouti has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Additionally, the finding of animal bones at Asa Koma, also suggests that domesticated cattle were being used for at least 3,500 years.
8. France took over the territory in 1884
France became interested in the territory that today is known as Djibouti. Between the years 1884 and 1885, the European country formalized their involvement in Djibouti and created the protectorates of Obock and Tadjoura. These were later known as French Somaliland.
After the Second World War took place, France began to develop stronger political mechanisms in Djibouti. In 1957, a territorial assembly was created, as well as a local executive council.
9. Independence came in 1977
In 1977, Djibouti declared its independence from France and took the name Republic of Djibouti. Hassan Gouled Aptidon ruled the country as its President. Multi-party politics arrived in 1992.
10. There are almost no trees
A fun fact about Djibouti is that it is one of 16 countries on Earth where there are almost no trees. According to information from the World Bank Open Data, less than 1% of the land is covered in forest. Other similar places are Iceland, Libya, Lesotho and Jordan.
11. In Djibouti, there are more women than men
There is a higher female-to-male ratio in this country, an interesting fact about Djibouti. This means, that there are more women than men in the country. Other places that have this proportion are Ukraine, Estonia and the Northern Mariana Islands. The United Arab Emirates, however, is the inverse. There are more men than women there.
12. The country has mountains and volcanoes
Apart from the zero-altitude deserts, Djibouti also has mountains. The Goda Mountains reach an elevation of 1,750 meters and they are part of the Day Forest National Park. Here, people enjoy hiking and listen to birds. Some of them are the Djibouti francolin, which is an endangered bird, native to the region of the Horn of Africa.
Additionally, there is the Ardoukoba Volcano. It is 298 meters tall and erupted for the last time in 1978. It has been proposed as a Unesco World Heritage.
13. There are large lakes
The country of Djibouti also has large pools of water. Lake Assal is the most important in the country. The lake is located 75 miles west of the capital and 155 meters below sea level. It is also considered for a Unesco World Heritage. However, it is a salty lake, so it does not have very refreshing water and the liquid cannot be drunk. It is even saltier than the Dead Sea.
The coast also offers a lot to do for locals and tourists. People can scuba dive and also swim with whale sharks. They tend to appear in this region between mid-October and February.
Djibouti is a small country in Africa, but it has a large cultural heritage. Being inhabited by humans for centuries and centuries, it makes it an important part of the world’s archeology. It is also diverse since several languages are spoken and different religions practiced.
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