Somalia is on the Horn of Africa, and is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the north-west, and Kenya on its south-west. This is a country with a troubled past. Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa's mainland, and its terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains and highlands. Around 85% of its residents are ethnic Somalis, who have historically inhabited the northern part of the country. Ethnic minorities are largely concentrated in the southern regions. The official languages of Somalia are Somali and Arabic, both of which belong to the Afroasiatic family. Most people in the country are Muslim, with the majority being Sunni.
In antiquity, Somalia was an important commercial centre. It is among the most probable locations of the fabled ancient Land of Punt. During the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade, including the Ajuran Empire, the Adal Sultanate, the Warsangali Sultanate, and the Geledi Sultanate. In the late 19th century, through a succession of treaties with these kingdoms, the British and Italian empires gained control of parts of the coast and established the colonies of British Somalilandand Italian Somaliland.
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