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The modern Republic of Djibouti is located in the Horn of Africa which also includes Somalia Eritrea and Ethiopia Djiboutis strategic position between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden along with its natural harbor of the Gulf of Tadjoura has made Djibouti relevant through antiquity to modern times As of 2010 Djibouti has a population of 888716 while being one of the least populated countries in Africa nearly two thirds of the population lives in the capital city Similar to many African nations the history of Djibouti is dominated by the European colonization period of the 19th century Uniquely Djiboutis composite of Afar Arab Somali and French have all played an influential role in the regions history Nevertheless Djibouti remains predominantly Islamic and today is a member of the Arab League while being a valued ally of the United States It is believed the region of Djibouti is first mentioned in the 1st century CE in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea which described much of the known coastal regions of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean The indigenous people of Djibouti participated in the trade of local commodities with the ancient civilizations of Egypt the Middle and Far East This long standing relationship with the Arabian Peninsula made it one of the first regions in Africa to embrace Islam during the 9th century CE The region was incorporated into the Islamic State of Adal in the Danakil-Somali region of East Africa The state of Adal would clash with Christians in Ethiopian during the 16th century Led by Ahmed Guray the Muslim nomads defeated the Christians and forced the Ethiopian emperor into exile After the death of Ahmed Guray in 1543 the Adals leaders were later defeated Its rulers fled north into the desert their nomadic followers lost any semblance of unity and Adal was reduced to insignificance Gradually the natives
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