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28 Feb

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.

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.

Educated young adults from well-to-do urban families may speak five or more languages. The most widely recognized symbol is the camel, because it provides transportation, milk, meat, income, and status to a majority of Somalis.

In spite of national boundaries, all Somalis consider themselves one people.

This unity makes them one of Africa's largest ethnic groups. Somalia is on the outer edge of the Somali Peninsula, also called the Horn of Africa, on the East African coast.

Somalis frequently use wordplay and humor in everyday communication.

Arabic, the language of the Qur'an, is spoken and read for religious purposes.