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Literature on the History of East Africa
Ethiopia Eritrea
First posted on July 2nd 2002, last revised on November 14th 2013

History of the Obock/French Somali Coast/Djibouti : Narrative . References : Online Secondary Sources . Online Primary Sources . Bibliographic and Print Sources

1862-1896 . 1896-1946 . 1946-1967 . 1974-1990 . Since 1977

Obock, 1862-1896
Construction of the Suez Canal began in 1859; the opening took place in 1869. It was a French-financed project, organized by Ferdinand de Lesseps. The French, in order to establish their presence at the southern end of the Red Sea (where the English already had a colony at Aden) in 1862 acquired, for a sum of 10,000 Maria Theresa Thalers, the right to establish and administrate a suitable port facility at Obock or anywhere else along the coast between Eritrea and Tadjoura, by treaty with the Sultans of Tadjoura, Gobaad and Raheita.
The French established a port; the French made use of the Suez Canal and Red Sea route when France acquired Indochina in the 1850es-1880es; ships to and from Indochina called at the port of Obock, a major coaling station. In 1881, the Franco-Ethiopian Trading Co. was founded, with seat in Obock. In 1884, Leonce Lagarde was appointed French governor of Obock; he expanded the colony and is regarded the real founder of the Cotes des Somalis protectorate.
In the 1880es, interest in the region, both political (colonial) and economical, intensified. At the Berlin Conference, France claimed its share of the Somali coast as defined in the Obock treaty. The first coffee plantation was set up. In 1888, an Anglo-French agreement delimiting their mutual spheres of influence on the northern Somali coast was signed.
An Egyptian expedition in 1873 established military outposts in the area, among others in Massawa, Zeila and Tadjoura. In 1884-1885 Egypt got preoccupied by the Mahdiyya in the Sudan; France seized the opportunity and proclaimed a protectorate over Tadjoura in 1884. France's war with China over Tonkin (1884-1885) increased Obock's importance. The population grew from 800 in 1884 to 2,000 in 1886.
In 1888 the port city of Djibouti was founded; in 1891 the French administration of the Cote des Somalis was transferred there, but Obock and Djibouti were still treated as separate entities : stamps were issued separately for Obock and the Somali Coast between 1892 and 1894.

French Somali Coast Colony, 1896-1946
In 1896, the French Somali Coast Colony was established.
While Obock had primarily the function of a port of call for bypassing French ships, Djibouti had the function of providing access to Ethiopia. The French supplied Ethiopia with European weapons, weapons the Ethiopians required to defend their independence against Italy and others.
While the Berlin Congress of 1884/1885 mainly was concerned about coastal stretches of Africa, in the 1890es European colonial powers were in an intense competition over stretches of inland Africa. Britain's Cecil Rhodes pushed to get a line from Cape to Cairo under British control; France countered with the Dakar-Djibouti line. In 1894, Negus Menelik of Ethiopia granted France the right to construct a railway line across his country, to the White Nile. The agreement signed after the Fashoda Crisis (1898) ended France's hopes of establishing the Dakar-Djibouti line. Djibouti was connected by railway with Diredawa (Ethiopia) by 1902; the line was extended to Addis Ababa in 1917.
In 1904 the size of the territory was given as 36.000 square km, the population estimated at 200,000.
Djibouti continued to serve as a port and coal station for French ships en route to or from Indochina and as a port from which landlocked Ethiopia could be supplied.
In 1935, the Italians invaded Ethiopia, which surrendered in 1936. The League of Nations called for an economic boycott of Italy and it's colonies, a boycott France observed; this boycott was especially harmful to Djibouti's trade with (now Italian) Ethiopia.
World War II broke out in September 1939; France surrendered to invading German troops on June 25th 1940. In unoccupied southern France, an administration centered in Vichy, headed by Henri Philippe Petain was formed. The colonial administration in Djibouti recognized the legitimacy of the Vichy administration.
In 1941, the British occupied Italian East Africa. The administration in Djibouti remained loyal to Vichy until December 28th 1942, when it transferred it's allegiance to the Free French government.

French Somali Coast, Oveaseas Territory, 1946-1967
In 1946, the status was changes, from that of a colony to that of an overseas territory.

Afars and Issas Territory, French, 1967-1977
In 1967, the territory was renamed into the Afars and Issas Territory, now ruled by a high commissioner instead of a governor. In 1955 the Diocesis of Djibouti was established. The Issas (ca. 50 % of the population) are a branch of the Somali people; their representatives long advocated unification with Somalia; the Afar (ca. 40 %) were against this step. Independence had been postponed due to the lack of agreement over the territory's political future; it was finally declared in 1977.

Independence, since 1977
Independence was declared in 1977. In 1979, the RPP (People's Movement for Progress) was founded as a multiethnic party (to overcome the ethnic friction between Afars and Issas); in 1981 Djibouti became a one-party-state. In 1991 ethnic tensions, which turned violent in the Afar rebellion, broke out. A new constitution, passed in 1992, foresees multiparty democracy.
French military presence continues. Djibouti is member of the OAU, the UNO, the Arab League.

Historic Encyclopedia Entries : Adal 1854-1885

Students' Paper : Sung Ji Yun, History of Nutrition in East Africa (2012)

Country Profiles . Links . Organizations . Accounts of History . Politics . Military History . Economic History . Social History . Ethnography
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Country Profiles Modern from CIA World Factbook; BBC Country Profiles; World Desk Reference; Index Mundi, Nations Encyclopedia
Article : Djibouti, from Wikipedia
Country Profile : Djibouti, from ISS; from IRIN
Historical C. Mathieu, Petite geographie de l'Afrique en general et des possessions françaises de la cote orientale en particulier : ile de la Reunion, Madagascar, Ste-Marie de Madagascar, Mayotte, Nossi-Be, Obock, etc 1884, Gallica
J.L. Bagot, Obock en 1884, thesis Bordeaux 1885
Les colonies françaises : notices illustrees. La Guinee, Obock 1889, Gallica
D. de Rivoyre, Les français a Obock, 1898, Gallica
R. Piolet et al., Empire colonial de la France. Madagascar, la Reunion, Mayotte, les Comores, Djibouti 1900, Gallica
Congres de l'Afrique orientale, Madagascar et dependances-Cote française des Somalis, tenu a Paris, du 9 au 14 octobre 1911, 1912, IA; Djibouti, Sa situation presente, son avenir, pp.693-728 S. Vigneras, La cote français des Somalis et l'Ethiopie
H. le Pointe, Colonisation française au pays des Somalis 1914, Gallica
Links General from African Studies at UPenn; from Africa South of the Sahara at Stanford; from Library of Congress, Portals to the World; from BUBL
Category : Djibouti, from Wikipedia
on History Category : History of Djibouti, from Wikipedia
Historical Dictionaries
Timelines from BBC News
Accounts of History General, Modern from Wikipedia
Djiboutian Sightings by Pierre Soulard
Brief History of Djibouti, from Australian-Arabian Chamber of Commerce
General, Historical
Specific Periods Brief history 1898-1967, from al.oueb
M. Bernard-Dutreil, Djibouti, creation d'une colonie française, thesis Paris 1900
Politics Politics of Djibouti, from Wikipedia; Political Resources on the Net : Djibouti; For the Record : Djibouti, from UN Human Rights System
Governments on the WWW : Djibouti
DADM : French Somaliland 1956-1977, Djibouti 1977-present
Military Wars of Djibouti, 1800-1999, from ACED
Orders, Decorations and Medals from Djibouti, posted by Jean Paul le Blanc, from ODM; from French Somaliland, posted by Jean Paul le Blanc
Article : Djiboutian Civil War, from Wikipedia
Economy & Finances Entry Djibouti, from Global History of Currencies, by Bryan Taylor; Currency Boards and Dollarization by Kurt Schuler; click for Djibouti
Article Economy of Djibouti, from Wikipedia
Catregory : Economy of Djibouti, from Wikipedia
L.A. Bremond, D'Obock au Choa : expedition scientifique et commerciale d'Obock,... au royaume du Choa 1883, Gallica
N. Majid, Livestock Trade in the Djibouti, Somali and Ethiopian Borderlands, Chatham House 2010
Wharton Financial Institutions Center : Djibouti
Social History Djibouti, from Crime and Society, A Comparative Crimonology Tour of the World (R. Winslow)
Alcohol and Drugs History Society : Djibouti
Ethnography Category Languages of Djibouti, from Wikipedia
Languages of Djibouti (4), from Ethnologue
Worldwide Refugee Information : Djibouti, from U.S. Committee for Refugees
Djibouti : Afars, from Minorities at Risk
World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples : Djibouti
C. Lemire, Le peuplement de nos colonies : concessions de terres, Madagascar, Indo-Chine française, Nelle Caledonie, Congo, Tunisie, Djibouti 4th ed., 1900, Gallica
Religion Chronology of Catholic Dioceses : Djibouti, from Kirken i Norge
Category : Religion in Djibouti, from Wikipedia
History of Regions Article Regions of Djibouti, Districts of Djibouti, from Wikipedia
Regions of Djibouti, from www.statoids.com
J.M. Merklin, Countries and Territories of the 20th Century, 2009 : Colonie de la Cote français de Somalis 1900-07-08, 1908-07-08, 1918-07-08, 1928-07-08, 1938-07-08, Territoire d'outre-mer de la Cote français de Somalis 1948-07-08, 1958-07-08, Territoire français des Afars et Issas 1968-07-08, Republique de Djibouti 1978-07-08, 1988-07-08, 1998-07-08, 2008-07-08,
Local History List of Cities in Djibouti, from Wikipedia
History of Djibouti City, from Wikipedia
G. Poydenot, Obock station de ravitaillement pour la marine française (guerre et commerce), notes et photographies prises au cours d'un voyage d'etudes a Obock, Djibouti et Aden (1889) 1893, Gallica
Institutions Djibouti, from Airline History
Article Ethio-Djibouti Railways, from Wikipedia
Structurae : Djibouti, search Lighthouse Explorer for Djibouti
E. Peroz, Le chemin de fer ethiopien et le port de Djibouti / par le lieutenant-colonel Peroz 1907, Gallica
Cultural History Article Djibouti at the Olympics, from Wikipedia
Biographies African Women Bibliographic Database
Dictionary of African Christian Biography
Environmental History Afrotropic Ecoregion, from WWF
Disaster History by Country : Djibouti, from Relief Web

Historical Data . Statistical Data . Documents Newspapers . Yearbooks . Image Databanks . Archival Deposits . Laws . Historiography
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Historical Data Lists of Statesmen from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon), from Rulers (B. Schemmel), from World Rulers (E. Schulz, illustrated)
Lists of Ambassadors U.S. Ambassadors to Djibouti, from NNDB: Chinese Ambassadors to Djibouti, from PRC MOFA
Statistical Data Responsible Institution
Population Figures from Population Statistics (Jan Lahmeyer)
World Life Expectancy : Health Profile : Djibouti
Exchange Rates Historical Exchange Rates, from Oanda, since 1990
Historical Exchange Rates, from FXTop, since 1965
Inflation Rates Trading Economics : Djibouti Inflation Rate, 1981-
Index Mundi, Djibouti Inflation Rate 1999-2011
Election Results from Psephos, since 1999; from IFES Election Guide, since 1999; from African Elections Database, from 1967
Search IPU Parline for "Djibouti"
Documents Historical Newspapers Djibouti Libre 1941, Gallica
Modern Newspapers Newspapers and News Media : Djibouti, from ABYZ; from Online Newspapers, from World Newspapers (links)
Individual Articles
Online Yearbooks - Djibouti Entries Statesman's Year-Book, Obock 1890, p.510, IA, 1891, p.514, IA, 1892, p.521, IA, 1894, p.521, IA, 1895, p.521, IA, 1896, p.521, IA, 1898, p.519, IA, 1899, p.562, IA, Somali Coast 1903, p.625, IA, 1913, p.835, IA, 1919, p.868, IA, 1921, pp.894-895, IA
Yearbook of the United Nations, 1946-2007
Africa : 1977
Staatskalender Colonie d'Obock. Extraits d'un rapport de M. le gouverneur a M. le sous-secretaire d'Etat des colonies sur le commerce de la region (1893) 1894, Gallica
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Items on Djibouti
License Plates, from Francoplaque, from License Plates around the World
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Treaties List of Ratifications of International Labour Conventions by Djibouti, from ILO, 62 docs. since 1978
Consular Reports
Document Collections Information by Country : Djibouti, from U.S. Committee forRefugees, 2 Reports 1999-2000
Djiboutian Sightings by Pierre Soulard
Individual Documents
Historical Maps responsible institutions Division topographique de la Republique de Djibouti, National Mapping Agencies in Africa
Direction nationale des statistiques et des etudes demographiques, National Mapping Agencies in Africa
Service de Travaux Publiques, Sous-Division Topographique, National Mapping Agencies in Africa
collections Djibouti Maps, PCL, UTexas
Atlas of Djibouti, Wikimedia Commons
David Rumsey Map Collection : Djibouti
Africa, Modern Africa 1905, 1912, 1938, 1959, 1967, 1993, J. de Salas Vara del Rey
Africa, Contemporary Historical Map of Africa 1885, Nations Online Project
Africa 1885, PCL, UTexas
Africa 1909, World Maps Online
Africa 1910, Emerson Kent
Africa 1913, Zonu
Djibouti, Modern
Djibouti, Contemporary R. de Lannoy de Bissy, Carte de l'Afrique ?l'echelle de 1:2 000 000 29 Gondar 1891, 29 Gondar 1897, Gallica
Africa 1:2.000.000, U.S. Army Map Service, sheet 21 Djibouti (1968), PCL, UTexas
U.S. Army Map Service, East Africa 1:250.000, 38.1 Djibouti, 38.13 Raheita (map series published 1958-)
P.H. Barrere, Carte geologique de la cote française des Somalis 1931, Gallica
Carta dei possedimenti e zona d'influenza dell'Italia in Africa 1896, Gallica
Encyclopedia Entries
Secular Articles Jibuti, Somaliland, EB 1911, Classic Encyclopedia, Internet Archive Wayback Machine
Article Somal, Obok, from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, in German
Article Dschibuti, from Brockhaus Konversationslexikon 1894-1896, in German
Religious Article Somaliland, from Catholic Encyclopedia 1907
Parliamentary Debates
Travelogues L.A. Bremond, D'Obock au Choa : expedition scientifique et commerciale d'Obock,... au royaume du Choa 1883, Gallica
L. Faurot, Voyage au golfe de Tadjoura (Obock, Tadjoura, Goubbet-Kharab), 1886, Gallica
G. Poydenot, Voyage d'étude à Obock, mars-mai 1889 : rapport présenté à M. Etienne, sous-secrétaire d'Etat aux colonies (1889) 1890, Gallica
L. de Salma, Obock, exploration du golfe de Tadjoura, du Gubbet-Kharab et de Bahr-Assal 1893, Gallica
B.C. Nalty, Diplomatic Mission To Abyssinia, 1903 1961 (U.S. mission; went through Djibouti)
Tour Guides Madrolle, De Marseille a Canton. Guide du voyageur: Indo-Chine, Canal de Suez, Djibouti et Harar .. 1902, IA; also at Gallica
Madrolle, Indochine du Sud. De Marseille à Saïgon ; Djibouti, Ethiopie, Ceylan, Malaisie, Cochinchine, Cambodge, Bas-Laos, Sud-Annam, Siam. Cartes et plans 1926, Gallica
Residence Memoirs
Exhibition Catalogues Exposition nationale coloniale de Marseille en 1922. Notice illustree sur la Cote française des Somalis 1922, Gallica
Institutions Archives
Official Symbols Flags, Coats of Arms Flag, from FOTW; Coat of Arms, from International Civic Heraldry
National Anthem, posted by David's National Anthem Reference Page
Coins, Banknotes Banknotes of Djibouti, from World Currency Museum, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money
Djibouti coins from World Coin Gallery
Stamps Stamps Obock, Djibouti, Fr. Somali Coast 1892-1894, from Stamps Catalogue 1840-1920 by Evert Klaseboer

Bibliographies . Online Libraries . Thesis Servers . Online Journals . General Accounts . Specific Topics . Historical Dictionaries . Statistical Data . Yearbooks
Bibliographies general Search ISBN Database
on Djibouti survey of bibliographies
bibliographic database AfricaBib : Africana Periodical Literature, African Women, Women Travelers, Explorers and Missionaries to Africa
African Borderlands Research Network : Bibliography
general bibliographies
annual bibliographies
specialist bibliographies
serial publications
general bibliographies
Djibouti entries
J. Gay, Bibliographie des ouvrages relatifs a l'Afrique et a l'Arabie : catalogue methodique de tous les ouvrages français et des principaux en langues etrangeres traitant de la geographie, de l'histoire, du commerce, des lettres et des arts de l'Afrique et de l'Arabie 1875, in French, Gallica
Roots Institute, Bibliography of Published Primary Sources in African History (English Language)
Djibouti-Bibliographie, from Afrika-Handbuch, at Univ. of Vienna
Online Libraries general Google Books; Internet Archives; Gutenberg Library Online; HathiTrust; Gallica
International Boundary Studies
on Djibouti Aluka, African Online Digital Library (AODL), African Digital Library (ADL)
Thesis Server Open Access Theses and Dissertations
Online Journals Directory of Open Access Journals
General Accounts Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia, Vol.17, pp.817-818 Article Eastern Africa : Djibouti. KMLA Lib.Sign. R 032 B862h v.17
Specific Topics Hans Meyer, Die Eisenbahnen im Tropischen Afrika (The Railroads in Tropical Africa), Leipzig : Duncker & Humblot 1902, in German, posted by DTBSWS, chapter Französisch-Somaliland und Abessinien, pp.156-159
Historical Dictionaries Articles : Adal pp.7-9, in : James Minahan, Nations without States, A Historical Dictionary of Contemporary National Movements, Westport CT : Greenwood 1996 [G]
Statistical Data IHS : B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics. The Americas 1750-2000, London : Palgrave 2003 [G]
Yearbook Entries Britannica Book of the Year French Colonial Empire, 1946 pp.329-330, 1949 pp.287-290, 1951 pp.640-641, 1952 p.643, 1953 p.651, 1954 p.655, 1955 p.702, 1956 p.640, 1957 pp.702-703, 1958 pp.644-645, 1959 pp.636-637, 1960 p.638, 1961 p.640, 1962 p.631, 1963 p.738, 1964 pp.381-382, 1965 pp.376 [G]
Colonies and Other Dependencies : Somaliland, French, 1966 p.205, 1967 p.220 [G]
Colonies and Other Dependencies : French Territory of Afars and Issas, 1968 pp.217-218 [G]
Dependent States : Afars and Issas, 1969 p.279 [G]
Dependent States : French Territory of Afars and Issas, 1970 p.279, 1971 p.269 [G]
Dependent States : Afars and Issas, 1972 p.241, 1973 p.232, 1974 p.248, 1975 pp.228-229, 1976 p.250, 1977 p.250 [G]
Djibouti, 1978 p.309, 1979 p.311, 1980 p.307, 1981 p.307, 1982 p.303, 1983 p.302, 1984 p.297, 1985 pp.463-464, 667, 1986 pp.458, 663, 1988 pp.388, 585, 1989 pp.387, 585, 1990 pp.404-405, 600, 1993 pp.359, 596, 1994 pp.357, 596, 1995 pp.400, 596 [G]
Statesman's Yearbook Obock, 1895 p.521, 1898 p.519 [G]
Somali Coast, 1901 pp.597-598, 1905 pp.659-660, 1910 pp.803-804 [G]
French Somaliland, 1919 p.868, 1924 pp.917-918, 1925 p.929, 1926 p.902, 1928 pp.917-918, 1929 p.905, 1932 pp.907-908, 1937 pp.948-949, 1943 p.933 [G]
France : Territory of Afars and Issas, 1970-1971 pp.928-929, 1975-1976 pp.943-944 [G]
Djibouti, 1978-1979 pp.403-404 [G]
Jibouti, 1980-1981 pp.746-747 [G]
Djibouti, 1983-1984 pp.414-416, 1984-1985 pp.413-415, 1985-1986 pp.415-417, 1987-1988 pp.426-428, 1988-1989 pp.428-430, 1989-1990 pp.431-433, 1990-1991 pp.430-432, 1991-1992 pp.430-432, 1992-1993 pp.497-499, 1993-1994 pp.504-507, 1994-1995 pp.490-493, 1995-1996 pp.485-488, 1996-1997 pp.425-428, 1997-1998 pp.434-437, 1998-1999 pp.477-480, 2000 pp.550-553, 2001 pp.534-537, 2002 pp.556-559, 2003 pp.556-559, 2004 pp.556-559, 2005 pp.556-559 [G]
Americana Annual French Somaliland, 1927 pp.364-365, 1928 p.324, 1930 p.341, 1931 p.338, 1932 p.308, 1933 p.336, 1934 p.265, 1935 p.307, 1936 pp.312-313, 1937 p.306, 1938 p.298, 1939 p.322, 1940 p.323, 1943 p.309, 1944 p.296, 1945 p.306, 1946 pp.308-309, 1947 p.276, 1957 p.304, 1961 pp.288-289, 1962 p.290, 1963 p.266, 1964 p.261 [G]
Other French Somaliland p.157, in : Year Book and Guide to East Africa 1963 [G]

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