1. A country in eastern Africa on the Gulf of Aden; formerly under French control; Also called: Afars and Issas.
2. The capital and largest city of Djibouti; Also called: capital of Djibouti.
Chief port and capital of the Republic of Djibouti, on a peninsula 240 km/149 mi SW of Aden and 565 km/351 mi NE of Addis Ababa;
The city succeeded Obock as capital of French Somaliland 1896 and was the official port of Ethiopia 1897–1949.
Country on the E coast of Africa, at the S end of the Red Sea, bounded E by the Gulf of Aden, SE by Somalia, S and W by Ethiopia, and NW by Eritrea.
The 1981 constitution was revised 1992 to make Djibouti a multiparty state. It provides for a single-chamber legislature, the 65-member chamber of deputies, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term, and a president, similarly elected for a six-year term, renewable only once. The prime minister is appointed by the president and heads a council of ministers.
During the 9th century missionaries from Arabia converted the Afars inhabiting the area to Islam. A series of wars was fought by the Afar Islamic states and Christian Ethiopia from the 13th to 17th centuries. The French arrived 1862, and in 1884 annexed Djibouti and the neighboring region as the colony of French Somaliland. In 1967 it was renamed the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas. Opposition to French rule grew during the 1970s, and calls for independence were frequent, sometimes violent.
Independence as the Republic of Djibouti was achieved 1977, with Hassan Gouled as president. In 1979 all political parties combined to form the People's Progress Assembly (RPP), and the government embarked on the task of uniting the two main ethnic groups: the Issas, who traditionally had strong links with Somalia, and the Afars, who had been linked with Ethiopia.
In 1981 a new constitution was adopted, making the RPP the only party. President Gouled was reelected, and in 1982 a chamber of deputies was elected from a list of RPP nominees. Under Gouled, Djibouti pursued a largely successful policy of amicable neutralism with its neighbors, concluding treaties of friendship with Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Sudan, and tried to assist the peace process in East Africa. Although affected by the 1984–85 droughts, Djibouti managed to maintain stability with European Community aid. Gouled was reelected 1987 with 98.71% of the popular vote, and in the first contested presidential elections May 1993 was reelected for a fourth consecutive term, but with a reduced majority.
In June 1994 the government reached an accord with the most militant Afar group, the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy, thus ending two and a half years of civil war. However, harsh repression of Afars by the security police continued.