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Somalia (play /sˈmɑːliə/ soh-MAH-lee-ə; Somali: Soomaaliya; Arabic: الصومالaṣ-Ṣūmāl), officially the Republic of Somalia (Somali: Jamhuuriyadda Soomaaliya, Arabic: جمهورية الصومالJumhūriyyat aṣ-Ṣūmāl) and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under communist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Djibouti to the northwest, Kenya to the southwest, the Gulf of Aden with Yemen to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Ethiopia to the west. With the longest coastline on the continent,[5] its terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains and highlands.[2]

In antiquity, Somalia was an important centre for commerce with the rest of the ancient world. Its sailors and merchants were the main suppliers of frankincense, myrrh and spices, items which were considered valuable luxuries by the Ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians, Mycenaeans and Babylonians with whom the Somali people traded.[6][7] According to most scholars, Somalia is most likely where the ancient Kingdom of Punt was situated.[8][9] The ancient Puntites were a nation of people that had close relations with Pharaonic Egypt during the times of Pharaoh Sahure and Queen Hatshepsut. The pyramidal structures, temples and ancient houses of dressed stone littered around the country are said to date from this period.[10] During the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade, including the Ajuuraan State, the Sultanate of Adal, the Warsangali Sultanate and the Gobroon Dynasty.

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