General issues: Republic 1977-Present
Country name on general issues: Djibouti
Currency: 1 (Djibouti) Franc = 100 Centimes
Population: 111 000 in 1977, 872 000 in 2013
Political history Djibouti
Djibouti is located in eastern Africa. In the 19th century the current Djibouti comes within the French sphere of influence. The French gain a foothold in the region when Obock is bought by the French in 1862. The French do not actually settle in Obock until 1883, when the ‘Territoire d’Obock’ becomes a French colony. Subsequently, France signs treaties with several sultans in the region, the sultanates becoming French protectorates. In 1888, the French settle in Djibouti, which offers better opportunities to build a port, and quickly surpasses Obock as the most important city in the region. In 1892, the French move their capital from Obock to Djibouti. The different French protectorates in the region are joined, in 1892, to form the French protectorate of ‘Côte Française des Somalis’ -‘French Somali Coast’. In 1902, the status of the country is changed from protectorate to colony. The borders are defined between 1888 and 1900 in treaties with Ethiopia, Great Britain (British Somaliland) and Italy (Italian Eritrea).
In 1946, the French Somali Coast becomes a French overseas territory and the name is changed to ‘Territoire Français des Afars et des Issas’ in 1967. In 1977, through a referendum, it is decided that Afars & Issas will become independent as the republic of Djibouti.
The Afars (35%) and the Issas (60%) are the major population groups in the country. The Afars are a people living in Ethiopia, Eritrea and the northern part of Djibouti. The Issas are a Somali clan living in Somalia, Ethiopia and the southern part of Djibouti.
Djibouti city is the most important city of the country. Some 80% of the population lives in Djibouti. Djibouti has developed as an international port of importance and as a gateway to the east African hinterland. The 20% of the population living outside of Djibouti are largely nomadic herdsmen.
Postal history Djibouti
The first post office in the region is opened in 1883 in Obock. The first stamps used are the general issues for the French colonies. Between 1892 and 1894, stamps are issued for Obock. The post office in Obock is closed in 1894.
As of 1893, stamps are issued in Djibouti, first bearing the name ‘Djibouti’, then from 1894, that of ‘Protectorat Côte des Somalis’, and finally, from 1902 that of ‘Côte Française des Somalis’. These issues of the French Somali Coast are succeeded by the issues of Afars & Issas in 1967 and by the issues of the republic of Djibouti in 1977.