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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.

It is bordered on the north by the Gulf of Aden, on the east by the Indian Ocean, on the southwest by Kenya, and on the west and northwest by Ethiopia and Djibouti.At approximately 246,200 square miles (637,658 square kilometers), Somalia is about the size of Texas.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.During the rainy seasons, from April to June and from October to November, this area provides plenty of water and grazing lands for livestock.

Somalia's two rivers, the Jubba and the Shabeelle, flow from the Ethiopian highlands into southeastern Somalia.

Punt is also mentioned in the Bible, and ancient Romans called it Cape Aromatica.

Somalia is named for the legendary father of the Somali people, Samaal (or Samale).

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.

A small percentage of Somalis also speak Italian, and a growing number speak English.