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Other symbols of Somalia are the five-pointed white star on the Somali flag and the crescent, which represents the new moon and is a universal symbol of the Islamic faith.

Each point of the star represents a land that is home to Somali people: the portion within the national boundaries, once divided into two territories, Italian and British; the Ogaden region of Ethiopia; the Northern Frontier District of Kenya; and Djibouti.

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.

Somalia was known to the ancient Egyptians as the Land of Punt.

They valued its trees which produced the aromatic gum resins frankincense and myrrh.

Vegetation is generally sparse, except in the area between the Jubba and the Shabeelle Rivers in south-central Somalia.

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

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 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.

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