Gouled Aptidon, Hassan (Djibouti)

Reference work entry


Hassan Gouled Aptidon was Djibouti’s first president, ruling the country from independence in 1977 until 1999. He was credited with reconciling rival clans to achieve regional stability.

Early Life

Hassan Gouled Aptidon was born on 15 Oct. 1916 to a family of Issa nomads in Garissa, in the Lughaya district of French Somaliland (now Djibouti). At the age of 14 he left home and worked as a street trader. He went on to serve in the French national assembly and the French senate, before returning home to become minister of education, a post he held from 1963–67. He served as prime minister from May–June 1977.

Gouled was a leading figurehead in the independence movement. After a split with France was rejected in a referendum in 1967, the result was reversed in a further referendum 10 years later and the independent Republic of Djibouti was inaugurated on 27 June 1977, with Gouled as president.

Career Peak

In 1981 Gouled made the Issa-dominated People’s Rally for Progress (RPP)...

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