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Djibouti History Timeline

300 - 1700

  • (300s) Afar people migrated from Arabian Peninsula across Red Sea to Djibouti
  • (825) Islam was introduced
  • (1300) Sultanate of Adal was in control of area
  • (1415) Ethiopian Christians attacked city of Zeila, killed Muslim ruler
  • (1500s) Portuguese took over trading ports in the south
  • (1527) Adal General Ahmad Gran invaded Ethiopia
  • (1527) General Gran died during battle between his forces and Ethiopian-Portuguese army
  • (1600s) Following end of Adal Sultanate, military expansion by Oromo from (present-day) Ethiopia took place
  • (1700s) Issa peoples migrated into northern part of region from (present-day) Somalia
1800s
  • (1862) French purchased port of Obock from Sultan of Obock, set up settlement
  • (1869) Suez Canal opened, increased dominance for ports of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden
  • (1881) French established coaling station for steamships at Obock
  • (1884) Agreements signed between French and Sultans of Obock and Tadjoura for establishment of a Protectorate
  • (1888) Colony of Cote Francaise des Somalis (French Somaliland) was established, construction of a town and port facilities began
  • (1892) Djibouti became capital of French Somaliland
  • (1897) New treaty between Ethiopia and France named Djibouti as "official trading channel for the commerce of Ethiopia"
  • (1897) Borders of French Somaliland were established after Ethiopia acquired parts of the territory
1900s
  • (1909 - 1917) Railway from Addis Ababa to the coast built by the Franco-Ethiopian Railway Company
  • (1924 - 1934) Road development plan invested in by the French
  • (1930s) French forces clashed with Italians on border between French Somaliland and Italian Somaliland following invasion by Italy of Ethiopia
  • (1942) Blockade imposed on Djibouti port by Germany and Vichy France was broken by Free French forces
  • (1945) Borders of Ethiopian-French Somaliland borders were acknowledged
  • (1946) Djibouti became overseas territory within French Union; had own legislature and representation within the French Parliament
  • (1947) Issa nationalists began campaign for independence
  • (1956) France enacted new law providing for universal adult suffrage for all African subjects in French colonies
  • (1956) French Somaliland became an Overseas Territory of France with a representative council and deputy seat on the National Assembly
  • (1957) First territory assembly held, gave colony effective internal self-government
  • (1958) Majority of people voted to remain Overseas Territory in referendum
  • (1958) Many Issas were arrested and expelled from the country after demonstrations for liberation
  • (1966) France rejected UN recommendation that French Somaliland be given independence
  • (1967) Afar people and Europeans of French Somaliland voted by 60% to remain French Overseas Territory, Issas voted for independence
  • (1967) 11 Issas were killed by French troops during protests on vote for independence
  • (1967) French Somaliland renamed French Territory of Afars and Issas; Louis Saget named High Commissioner; Executive Council renamed Council for Government with nine members
  • (1977) French Territory of Afars and Issas became independent; country's name changed to Republic of Djibouti; Hassan Gouled Aptidon became president; Ahmed Dini became prime minister
  • (1978) Prime Minister Ahmed Dini resigned; Abdallah Mohamed Kamil became prime minister
  • (1978) President Hassan Gouled Aptidon dismissed the government; Barkat Gourad Hamadou appointed prime minister
  • (1979) People's Progress Assembly Party formed with goal of uniting Afar and Issa peoples
  • (1981) Hassan Gouled Aptidon reelected as president
  • (1981) Former Prime Minister Ahmed Dini formed new opposition party, Djibouti People's Party (PPD)
  • (1981) Leadership of PPD was arrested, party was banned
  • (1981) President Aptidon introduced legislation for one-party state with People's Progress Assembly (RPP) as sole party; PPD leaders were released
  • (1986) RPP headquarters were bombed, two killed; police arrested 1,000 opposition supporters
  • (1986) Former minister, Aden Robleh Awaleh, charged with campaigning against RPP, fled the country, formed the Djibouti National Movement for the Establishment of Democracy (MNDID); given life sentence for "attempting to destabilize the government and murder senior officials"
  • (1987) President Hassan Gouled Aptidon reelected
  • (1988) Ethiopia and Somalia officially recognized Djibouti's borders
  • (1989) Conflict rose in Djibouti City between Afars and Issas
  • (1989) Conflicts between Afars and Issas spread to Tadjourah region
  • (1991) Afar nationalists, the Front for Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD), launched violent uprising against Issa-dominated government
  • (1992) FRUD gained control of most of northern Djibouti
  • (1992) Former Prime Minister Ahmed Dini took control of FRUD, hostilities continued
  • (1992) New constitution allowing for multiparty system adopted, also gave the president more executive power
  • (1993) Ceasefire agreement signed by government and FRUD
  • (1993) Hassan Gouled Aptidon reelected president
  • (1994) RPP and FRUD signed peace agreement
  • (1994) FRUD and RPP signed power-sharing agreement
  • (1995) Two members of FRUD appointed to cabinet; radical faction of FRUD continued fighting
  • (1995) Body of French Judge Bernard Borrel, who was conducting an investigation into arms smuggling, found near town of Djibouti
  • (1999) President Aptidon announced he would not run again for president
  • (1999) President Aptidon's nephew, Ismael Omar Guelleh, elected president

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This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.