[Jibuti; Arab. Jumhūriyya al-Jibuti; formerly French Somaliland (1896–1967), French Territory of the Afars and the Issas (1967–77).]
Country on the north-east coast of Africa, bordered by Eritrea to the north, by Ethiopia to the west and south-west, and by Somalia to the south. Djibuti gained independence in 1977. The official languages are French and Arabic. About 89% of the total land area of c. 22,000 sq. km is desert. Most of the population live in the capital and port of Djibuti city with the remainder following a nomadic way of life. This entry covers the art produced in Djibuti since colonial times. (For art of the region in earlier periods see Africa §VII 2..)
Djibuti city was founded in 1888 and doubled in size between 1896 and 1899. During this period there was much building in the colonial style: streets were also laid out. The port, which handles about half of Ethiopia’s trade, is the basis of the country’s economy. The population (395,000; UN estimate, 1989...