City (pop., 2006 est.: 325,000), major port, and capital of Djibouti. It is located on the southern shore of the Gulf of Tadjoura in the Gulf of Aden. It was founded by the French in 1888 and made the capital of French Somaliland in 1892. It was linked by rail to Addis Ababa in 1917 and made a free port in 1949. The economic life of both the city and the country depends on the city's function as a transshipment point, especially between Ethiopia and the Red Sea trade. Built on three level areas linked by jetties, the city has a mixture of ancient and modern architecture. Drought and conflict during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s brought many refugees to Djibouti from neighbouring countries, swelling its population.
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