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. The predominant religion in Djibouti is Islam, with a 94% majority, with the remaining 6% practicing Christianity. The land was known as Obock and French Somaliland 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.
Djibouti lies in Northeast Africa on the Gulf of Aden at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. It has 314 km (195 mi) of coastline and shares a 113 km (70 mi) border with Eritrea, 337 km (209 mi) with Ethiopia and 58 km (36 mi) with Somalia (total 506 km/314 mi). It lies between latitudes 10th parallel north|10° and 13th parallel north|13°N, and longitudes 41st meridian east 41° and 44th meridian east 44°E.
The country is mainly a stony semidesert, with scattered plateaus and highlands. It has an area of 8,900 square miles (23,051 km2).
The economy of Djibouti is based on service activities connected with the country's strategic location and status as a free trade zone in northeast Africa. Two-thirds of the inhabitants live in the capital city, the remainder being mostly nomadic herders. Scant rainfall limits crop production to fruits and vegetables, and most food must be imported.
Djibouti provides services as both a transit port for the region and an international transshipment and refueling center.
There are gold miners from India, geothermal experts from Iceland, Turkish hotel managers, Saudi oil engineers, French bankers and American military contractors. Investors from Dubai have leased the country's port, in an effort to develop the area as a gateway to the region. Saudi investors are reportedly exploring the possibility of linking the Horn of Africa with the Arabian Peninsula via an 18-mile (29 km) long oversea bridge referred to as the Bridge of the Horns.Culture Djiboutian attire reflects the region's hot and arid climate. When not dressed in western clothing such as jeans and t-shirts, men typically wear the macawiis, which is a sarong-like garment worn around the waist. Among nomads, many wear a loosely wrapped white cotton robe called a tobe that goes down to about the knee, with the end thrown over the shoulder (much like a Roman toga).