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.The Somali people share a common language, Somali, and most are Muslims of the Sunni sect.
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The remainder are Indians, Pakistanis, other Asians, Arabs, Europeans, and groups of mixed ancestry. Somali did not become a written language until January 1973.
Common Somali is the most widely spoken dialect, but Coastal Somali and Central Somali also are spoken.
The Karkaar Mountains extend from Somalia's northwestern border to the eastern tip of the Horn of Africa, with the highest point, Shimber Berris, at 7,900 feet (2,408 meters).
South of the mountain ranges, a central plateau known as the Haud extends to the Shabeelle River and westward into the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia.
Somalis hope that one day all these territories can become a unified Somali nation.
The leopard is considered the national symbol of Somalia. Current theory suggests that the Somali originated in the southern Ethiopian highlands and migrated into northern Kenya during the first millennium 100.
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.
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