introduction: Somalia country (1995 est. pop. 7,348,000) 246,200 sq mi. (637,657 sq km) extreme est africa (see somalia map).It is directely south of the arabian peninsula accross the gulf of Aden.Somalia comprises almost the african coast of the gulf of Aden and a longer stretch on the indian ocean.It is bounded on the NW by djibouti,on the W by ethiopia, Sw by keniya,and on the S and E by the indian ocean.Mogadishu is the capital.There are 18 regions.
land:Arid,semidesert, conditions make the country relatively unproductive.In most areas barren coastal lowland (widwest in the south) is abruptly succeeded by to the interiore plateau,which is generally c. 3,000 ft (910 m) hight and stretches toward the the northern and the western highlands.The jubba and the Webe Shebele are the only important rivers;In addition to mogadishu,other important cities are HARGEISA,BERBERA (main northen port),BORAAMA and KISMAYO(principal port of the south).
people The vast majority of the republic's population is somali;they speak a cushitic language and are sunnite muslims.They are divided into five principal clans and many subclans.Islam is the state religion.Altough somali is the national tongue,arabic,italian,and english are used officialy.There are bantu-speaking ethnic groups in the
southwest and minoreous arabs in the coastal towns.
SEE ALSO: SOMALIA :a country study, by Louis R.Mortimer.