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The Somali people share a common language, Somali, and most are Muslims of the Sunni sect.
Somalis also live in northern Kenya; in the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia; and in Djibouti, to the northwest of Somalia.
The Shabeelle (Leopard) River does not enter the Indian Ocean but instead turns parallel to the coast and runs southward for 170 miles (274 kilometers) before drying up in marshes and sand flats. The port city of Mogadishu, in southeastern Somalia on the Indian Ocean, is the largest city and the traditional capital of Somalia.
Mogadishu was largely destroyed in the fighting between clans during the civil war of the 1990s.
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.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.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.