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Nestled on the southern tip of the Gulf of Tadjoura, the seaside capital of Djibouti is a modest harbor town and a major port of trade and travel via Ethiopia and other points in Africa, especially as the terminus for the Djibouti-Addis Ababa Railway. Beaches along the eastern shore provide some respite from the blistering heat, while the chaotic central market is alive with activity throughout the day.
Djibouti officially the Republic of Djibouti is a country 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, which had a population of 818,159 at the 2009 census, is one of the least populous countries in Africa. Islam is the largest religion in the country, practiced by 94% of the population. The land was known as Obock and French Somaliland (Côte française des Somalis) in the 19th century; in 1967, it changed its name to Afars and Issas after new treaties with France.
The territory was declared an independent nation in 1977 and changed its name to the "Republic of Djibouti" after its principal city. Djibouti joined the United Nations on September 20, 1977. While Djibouti is an independent sovereign state, it maintains deep French relations, and through various military and economic agreements with France, it receives continued security and economic assistance.