Djibouti officially the Republic of Djibouti) is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east. Djibouti occupies a total area of 23,200 km2 (8,958 sq mi).The state of Djibouti is predominantly inhabited by two ethnic groups, the Somali and the Afar people, the Somalis being the major ethnic group of the country.
In antiquity, the territory together with Somalia was part of the Land of Punt. Nearby Zeila, now in Somalia, was the seat of the medieval Adal and Ifat Sultanates. In the late 19th century, the colony of French Somaliland was established following treaties signed by the ruling Somali and Afar sultans with the French and its railroad to Dire Dawa (and later Addis Ababa) allowed it to quickly supersede Zeila as the port for southern Ethiopia and the Ogaden. It was subsequently renamed to the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas in 1967. A decade later, the Djiboutian people voted for independence. This officially marked the establishment of the Republic of Djibouti, named after its capital city. Djibouti joined the United Nations the same year, on 20 September 1977. In the early 1990s, tensions over government representation led to armed conflict, which ended in a power-sharing agreement in 2000 between the ruling party and the opposition.
Djibouti is a multi-ethnic nation with a population of over 884,017 inhabitants (the smallest in mainland Africa). French and Arabic are the country's two official languages. About 94% of residents adhere to Islam, which is the official religion and has been predominant in the region for more than a thousand years. The Somali (Issa clan) and Afar make up the two largest ethnic groups. Both speak the Cushitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages.
Djibouti is strategically located near some of the world's busiest shipping lanes, controlling access to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. It serves as a key refuelling and transshipment center, and is the principal maritime port for imports from and exports to neighboring Ethiopia. A burgeoning commercial hub, the nation is the site of various foreign military bases, including Camp Lemonnier. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) regional body also has its headquarters in Djibouti City.
Djibouti is officially known as the Republic of Djibouti. In local languages it is known as Yibuuti (in Afar), جيبوتي, Jībūtī (in Arabic), and Jabuuti (in Somali).
The name of the country is derived from the city of Djibouti, the country's eponymous capital. The etymology of the city of Djibouti is disputed. Several theories and legends exist regarding its origin, varying based on ethnicity. One theory derives it from the Afar word gabouti, meaning "plate", possibly referring to the geographical features of the area. Another connects it to gabood, meaning "upland/plateau
From 1862 until 1894, the land to the north of the Gulf of Tadjoura was called "Obock". Under French administration, from 1883 to 1967 the area was known as French Somaliland (French: Côte française des Somalis), and from 1967 to 1977 as the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas (French: Territoire français des Afars et des Issas).