Djibouti Old History

By | January 2, 2023

Djibouti is an independent nation in Eastern Africa. With the capital city of Djibouti, Djibouti 2020 population is estimated at 988,011 according to countryaah. Djibouti’s two peoples groups and Afar gradually migrated into the area from the 20th century BC. During the 8th century AD, Arabs took over the trade in the area, but from the 16th century, competition was made by Portuguese. At the end of the 19th century, the colony of French Somaliland was formed. In a disputed referendum in 1967, the population there chose to remain part of France.

The Afars are descended from a people who migrated from the Arabian Peninsula during the twentieth century BC and mainly settled in what is today northern and southern Djibouti. Later, they were forced out of the southern part as the Issa immigrated from the area of ‚Äč‚Äčtoday’s Somalia.

  • Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Djibouti, covering history, economy, and social conditions.

In the 8th century AD, Muslim missionaries brought Islam to the area. Trade in the region was controlled until the 16th century by Arabs, who then got competition from Portuguese traders. For Djibouti political system, please check cancermatters.

In the 1860s, France acquired the port city of Obock in the Afarese area. The French began building the port city of Djibouti in 1888 and in 1897 French Somaliland became a French administrative unit. In 1917 a new railway was completed between Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and the city of Djibouti.

When Ethiopia was occupied by Italy in the 1930s and during World War II, clashes occurred in the area between France and Italy.

In 1957 Djibouti gained extensive autonomy, but above all Issa demanded full independence. In a 1967 referendum, the tensions between Afar and Issa became clear. A majority of the population voted for the area to remain part of the French empire. It was officially named the Afar and Issa people’s territory. Critics claimed that France had prevented members of the ISIS from participating in the referendum and that the ruling therefore did not represent the majority’s opinion.



Djiboutian soldiers to the AU force

Djibouti becomes the third country to contribute troops to the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia. About 100 Djiboutian soldiers arrive in Somalia in the first round. They are followed shortly afterwards by another 800 men.


Hunger disaster threatens

After several years of drought, a number of countries in the Horn of Africa, including Djibouti, suffer the worst famine disaster of 60 years. An estimated 120,000 Djibouti are at risk of starvation, and the need for emergency assistance is urgent.


The President re-elected for the third time

President Ismael Omar Guelleh from RPP is re-elected for a third term. The opposition boycott the election.


Two protesters killed

Thousands of people are demonstrating for a change of government. At least two protesters are killed in confrontations with the police.

Opposition politicians are arrested

Police arrest six opposition politicians, two of whom were previously journalists in the government-critical newspaper Le Renouveau Djiboutien. All those arrested have criticized the government in the opposition radio channel La Voix de Djibouti. They are charged with insurgency activities, and information emerges that they are being tortured in prison. Following appeals in the Supreme Court, the suspects are released but the charges against them remain.


New old conflict with Somaliland

Two diplomats from Somaliland are expelled from Djibouti. As before, the conflict is about Somaliland starting to use the Berbera port in Somaliland instead of Djibouti port for livestock exports.

Djibouti Old History