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Its coastline extends about 1,800 miles (2,896 kilometers).Somalia is hot for much of the year, with two wet and two dry seasons.Other symbols of Somalia are the five-pointed white star on the Somali flag and the crescent, which represents the new moon and is a universal symbol of the Islamic faith.Each point of the star represents a land that is home to Somali people: the portion within the national boundaries, once divided into two territories, Italian and British; the Ogaden region of Ethiopia; the Northern Frontier District of Kenya; and Djibouti. Somalia was known to the ancient Egyptians as the Land of Punt.They valued its trees which produced the aromatic gum resins frankincense and myrrh.Two African leopards adorn the national emblem, a five-pointed white star on a light blue shield with a gold border. The Somalis are tall and wiry in stature, with aquiline features, elongated heads, and light brown to black skin. Arabs introduced the Islamic faith to Africa beginning in the seventh century.By the tenth century, Arab trading posts thrived in southern Somalia, along the Indian Ocean.

Somalis also live in northern Kenya; in the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia; and in Djibouti, to the northwest of Somalia.In 2000 a Somali assembly voted to make Mogadishu the new president's base but to move other government functions to the city of Baidoa, northwest of Mogadishu, until the capital could be rebuilt. No census was taken in Somalia until 1975, and those figures were not reported.The large number of nomads makes it difficult to get an accurate population count.Population estimates have been made based on the 1986–1987 census, which recorded a population of 7.1 million.In spite of the death toll due to famine and civil war in the 1990s, 2000 population estimates range from 9 million to 14.5 million.

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