Dry and hot, Djibouti is the capital of the Republic of Djibouti. This port city lies just to the south of the Gulf of Tadjoura. It is known as Jibuti in Arabic.
This city first originated as a port in 1888. It became the capital in 1892. In 1949, it became a free port. The economy of the city and country depends on the city's role as a storage, refueling and supply station, notably between Ethiopia and the Red Sea trade. As a result, guerrilla warfare on parts of the Djibouti-Addis Ababa railway at the time of the Ethiopian civil war in the late 1970's upset Djibouti's economy, which was already weakened by the closing of the Suez Canal (1967-75). Many refugees from Somalia and Ethiopia have drained the resources further.
The city has a population of over 317,000. Major ethnic groups include the Afars, Issa Somalis, Arabs, Europeans and Asians. There are three flat areas - Djibouti, Serpent, and Marabout - which are connected by jetties. Examples of modern and ancient culture are present in the architecture. The government palace is situated in the Menilek Square. A camel Market exists in the native part of the city.
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