Figure 1.--This tourist postcard was mailed in Djibouti during 1922. It depicts three Somali boys from Djibouti. They are wearing only cloths wrapped around their waists. It is not clear if this was how they actually dressed or te wraps were done for the tourists. The Muslim tradition is that men and boys wore tunics, but the scholars require males to cover from the navel to the knees. The Shafi'i school don't require any clothing till puberty.

Djibouti is a small country near the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. It is situated around a strategic inlet in the Gulf of Aden just south of the southern Red Sea narrows. This made the area of strategic importance in ancient rimes controlling trade routes between Egypt and India. Locals claim to be the first African country to adopt Islam. Close commercial contacts with the Arabian peninsula since ancient times brought the Somali and Afar tribes in contact with Islam at a very early period. The construction of the Suez Canal increased the strategic imoportahnce ad drawing European interest. France signed various treaties with the then ruling Somali Sultans (1883-87). The French and other European colonists were interested in the Horn of Africa as a result of sea lanes to and from Suez. France also wanted a east-west collection of colonies connecting the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. At the same time the British were building a north-south connectio between Capetown and Cairo. French Somaliland (French Territory of the Afars and Issas) was formally created as a French colony (1897). The British and Italians also established Somali colonies. The railway to Capetown was never completed, but Djibouti with the indeoendence of Erirea is the terminus of araiklway from Addis Ababa and the principal port of land-locked Ethiopia. The Republic of Djibouti became independent (1977), but retains tieswith France. We have a school page.


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Created: 1:55 AM 11/13/2012
Last updated: 1:55 AM 11/13/2012