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Djibouti Culture

History and Culture of Djibouti: Inside the Nation of Djibouti

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Politics has been dominated by the complex relations between the Issa-Somali and the Afar. Djibouti History and Culture Information and Travel Guide.  Vacation package Book. Before the colonial era, they were nomadic pastoralists and traders and were politically highly organized but had no state-forming tradition. The Afar had chiefdoms and four sultanates. When the French arrived, about 75 percent of the territory was inhabited by Afar nomads. The Issa had a decentralized political organization based on clan loyalty, although the ruler of Zeila, a trading center on the Somali coast, had great influence over them. The number of Issa and Gadabursi (the third largest group, also Somali) grew steadily in the twentieth century because of immigration from Somalia. The Isaak Somali (about 13 percent of the population) also originated in Somalia. Before independence, the French alternatively promoted the Issa and the Afar; that divisive policy contributed to postcolonial conflicts