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Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous
continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of th ...

continent
, after
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
's total surface area and 20% of its land area.Sayre, April Pulley (1999), ''Africa'', Twenty-First Century Books. . With billion people as of , it accounts for about 16% of the world's
human population Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedality, bipedalism and large, complex brains. This has enabled the development of advanced tools, culture, and language. Humans are highl ...
. Africa's population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the
median In statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin wi ...

median
age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Despite a wide range of natural resources, Africa is the least wealthy continent per capita, in part due to geographic impediments, legacies of European colonization in Africa and the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
, undemocratic rule and deleterious policies. Despite this low concentration of wealth, recent economic expansion and the large and young population make Africa an important economic market in the broader global context. The continent is surrounded by the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
to the north, the
Isthmus of Suez The Isthmus of Suez is the 75-mile-wide (125-km) strip of land
and the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northe ...

Red Sea
to the northeast, the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
to the southeast and the to the west. The continent includes
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mala ...

Madagascar
and various
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
s. It contains 54 fully recognised
sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relatio ...
s (
countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social ...

countries
), eight
territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the jurisdiction of a sovereign state. In most country, countries, a ''territory'' is an organized division of an area that is controlled by a country but is not formally d ...

territories
and two ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' independent states with limited or no recognition.
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
is Africa's largest country by area, and
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and as we ...

Nigeria
is its largest by population. African nations cooperate through the establishment of the
African Union The African Union (AU) is a continental union A continental union is a regional organization which facilitates pan-continental integration. Continental unions vary from collaborative intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organiza ...

African Union
, which is headquartered in
Addis Ababa Addis Ababa ( am, አዲስ አበባ ' , "new flower"), also known as Finfinne ( om, Finfinne "natural spring") and Sheger ( ', ), is the and largest city of . According to the 2007 census, the city has a population of 2,739,551 inhabitants. ...

Addis Ababa
. Africa straddles the
Equator The Equator is a , about in circumference, that divides into the and hemispheres. It is an located at 0 degrees , halfway between the and poles. In , as applied in , the equator of a rotating (such as a ) is the parallel (circle of l ...

Equator
and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern
temperate In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use ...
to southern temperate zones. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the
Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remain ...

Northern Hemisphere
, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the
Southern Hemisphere The Southern Hemisphere is the half (hemisphere Hemisphere may refer to: * A half of a sphere As half of the Earth * A hemispheres of Earth, hemisphere of Earth ** Northern Hemisphere ** Southern Hemisphere ** Eastern Hemisphere ** Western He ...

Southern Hemisphere
. Africa is home to much biodiversity; it is the continent with the largest number of
megafauna In terrestrial zoology Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is typically regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, including the anatomy, structure, embryology, evolutio ...

megafauna
species, as it was least affected by the extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna. However, Africa also is heavily affected by a wide range of environmental issues, including desertification, deforestation,
water scarcity Water scarcity (water stress or water crisis) is the lack of fresh water resources to meet the standard water demand. Humanity is facing a water crisis, due to unequal distribution (exacerbated by climate change Climate change inclu ...

water scarcity
, and other issues. These entrenched environmental concerns are expected to worsen as climate change impacts Africa. The UN
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, s ...
has identified Africa as the continent most vulnerable to climate change.Niang, I., O.C. Ruppel, M.A. Abdrabo, A. Essel, C. Lennard, J. Padgham, and P. Urquhart, 2014: Africa. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part B: Regional Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change arros, V.R., C.B. Field, D.J. Dokken et al. (eds.) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 1199–1265. https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/WGIIAR5-Chap22_FINAL.pdf Africa, particularly
Eastern Africa East Africa, Eastern Africa, or East of Africa is the eastern sub-region A subregion is a part of a larger region or continent and is usually based on location. Cardinal directions, such as south or southern, are commonly used to define a subr ...
, is widely accepted as the place of origin of
human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes ...

human
s and the
Hominidae The Hominidae (), whose members are known as great apes or hominids (), are a taxonomic family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose ...
clade A clade (), also known as a monophyletic group or natural group, is a group of organisms that are monophyly, monophyletic – that is, composed of a common ancestor and all its lineage (evolution), lineal descendants - on a phylogenetic tree. R ...

clade
(
great ape The Hominidae (), whose members are known as great apes or hominids (), are a taxonomic Family (biology), family of primates that includes eight Neontology#Extant taxa versus extinct taxa, extant species in four Genus, genera: ''Orangutan, Pongo ...
s), meaning that Africa has a . The earliest
hominids The Hominidae (), whose members are known as great apes or hominids (), are a taxonomic family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marri ...
and their ancestors have been dated to around 7 million years ago, including ''
Sahelanthropus tchadensis ''Sahelanthropus tchadensis'' is an extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embod ...

Sahelanthropus tchadensis
'', ''
Australopithecus africanus ''Australopithecus africanus'' is an extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism or of a group of kinds (taxon), usually a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the endling, last individ ...

Australopithecus africanus
'', '''', ''
Homo erectus ''Homo erectus'' (meaning "upright Body relative directions (also known as egocentric coordinates) are geometrical orientations relative to a body such as a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread spec ...

Homo erectus
'', '''' and ''''— the earliest ''
Homo sapiens Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread of , characterized by and large, complex brains. This has enabled the development of advanced , , and . Humans are highly social and tend to live in complex s composed of many ...

Homo sapiens
'' (modern human) remains, found in
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the sout ...
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 60 million people, it is the world's List of countries by population, 23rd-most ...
, and
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...
, date to circa 200,000, 259,000, and 300,000 years ago respectively, and ''Homo sapiens'' is believed to have originated in Africa around 350,000–260,000 years ago. Early human civilizations, such as
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
and
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
emerged in
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...
. Following a subsequent long and complex history of civilizations, migration and trade, Africa hosts a large diversity of
ethnicities An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousne ...
,
cultures Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differ ...
and
languages A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communicatio ...
. The last 400 years have witnessed an increasing European influence on the continent. Starting in the 16th century, this was driven by trade, including the
Trans-Atlantic slave trade The Atlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, or Euro-American slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of various enslaved List of ethnic groups of Africa, African people, mainly to the Americas. The slave trade regularl ...
, which created large
African diaspora The African diaspora is the worldwide collection of communities descended from native Africans or people from Africa, predominantly in the Americas. The term is most commonly refers to the descendants of the West and Central Africans who were ...

African diaspora
populations in the Americas. In the late 19th century, European countries colonized almost all of Africa, extracting resources from the continent and exploiting local communities; most present states in Africa emerged from a process of
decolonisation Decolonization (American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States ( ...
in the 20th century.


Etymology

''
Afri ''Afri'' (singular ''Afer'') was a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the ...
'' was a
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
name used to refer to the inhabitants of then-known northern Africa to the west of the
Nile The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nub ...

Nile
river, and in its widest sense referred to all lands south of the Mediterranean (
Ancient Libya The Latin name ''Libya'' (from Greek :wikt:Λιβύη, Λιβύη: ''Libyē'', which came from Berber language, Berber: ''Libu'') referred to the region west of the Nile generally corresponding to the Atlantic Mountains according to Diodorus. Its ...
). This name seems to have originally referred to a native Libyan tribe, an ancestor of modern
Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, the Canary Islands, and to a lesser ...

Berbers
; see
Terence Publius Terentius Afer (; – ), better known in English as Terence (), was a Roman African playwright A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes play Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * P ...

Terence
for discussion. The name had usually been connected with the
Phoenician Phoenician may refer to: * Phoenicia, an ancient civilization * Phoenician alphabet * Phoenician language * List of Phoenician cities * Phoenix, Arizona See also

* Phoenix (mythology) * Phoenicia (disambiguation) {{disambiguation Language an ...
word ' meaning "dust", but a 1981 hypothesis has asserted that it stems from the
Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco ) , ...

Berber
word ''ifri'' (plural ''ifran'') meaning "cave", in reference to cave dwellers. The same word may be found in the name of the
Banu Ifran The Ifranids, also called Banu Ifran, Ifran, or the children of the Ifran ( ar, بنو يفرن, ''Banu Yifran''), were a Zenata Berber people, Berber tribe prominent in the history of pre-Islamic and early Islamic North Africa. In the 8th centur ...
from
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
and
Tripolitania Tripolitania ( ar, طرابلس '; Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated ...

Tripolitania
, a Berber tribe originally from
Yafran Yafran (Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically ...
(also known as ''Ifrane'') in northwestern Libya, as well as the city of
Ifrane Ifrane (Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically M ...

Ifrane
in
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
. Under
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...

Roman
rule,
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the . The city developed from a n colony ...

Carthage
became the capital of the province it then named ''
Africa Proconsularis Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are co ...
'', following its defeat of the
Carthaginians The Punics, Carthaginians or Western Phoenicians, were a group of peoples in the Western Mediterranean who traced their origins to the Phoenicians. In modern scholarship, the term 'Punic' – the Latin equivalent of the Greek-derived term 'Phoen ...
in the
Third Punic War The Third Punic War (149–146 BC) was the third and last of the Punic Wars The Punic Wars were a series of wars (taking place between 264 and 146BC) that were fought between the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūbli ...
in 146 BC, which also included the coastal part of modern
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
. The Latin suffix '''' can sometimes be used to denote a land (e.g., in '' Celtica'' from '''', as used by
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
). The later Muslim region of
Ifriqiya Ifriqiya ( '), also known as al-Maghrib al-Adna ( ar, المغرب الأدنى), was a medieval historical region comprising today's Tunisia and eastern Algeria, and Tripolitania (today's western Libya). It included all of what had previously ...
, following its conquest of the Empire's '''', also preserved a form of the name. According to the Romans, Africa lies to the west of Egypt, while "Asia" was used to refer to
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
and lands to the east. A definite line was drawn between the two continents by the geographer
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-koi, Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, , ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes ...
(85–165 AD), indicating
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asia ...

Alexandria
along the
Prime Meridian #REDIRECT Prime meridian#REDIRECT Prime meridian A prime meridian is the meridian (geography), meridian (a line of longitude) in a geographic coordinate system at which longitude is defined to be 0°. Together, a prime meridian and its anti-meri ...

Prime Meridian
and making the isthmus of Suez and the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northe ...

Red Sea
the boundary between Asia and Africa. As Europeans came to understand the real extent of the continent, the idea of "Africa" expanded with their knowledge. Other etymological hypotheses have been postulated for the ancient name "Africa": * The 1st-century Jewish historian
Flavius Josephus Titus Flavius Josephus (; ; 37 – 100), born Yosef ben Matityahu ( he, יוסף בן מתתיהו ''Yōsef ben Matiṯyāhu''; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος Ματθίου παῖς ''Iṓsēpos Matthíou paîs''), was a first-century Romano-Jewish ...
(''Ant. 1.15'') asserted that it was named for
EpherEpher ( ''‘Êp̄er'') was a grandson of Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to col ...
, grandson of
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenan ...

Abraham
according to Gen. 25:4, whose descendants, he claimed, had invaded Libya. *
Isidore of Seville Isidore of Seville (; la, Isidorus Hispalensis; c. 560 – 4 April 636) was a Spanish scholar and cleric. For over three decades, he was Archbishop In many Christian denomination, Christian Denominations, an archbishop (, via Latin ...
in his 7th-century ''
Etymologiae ''Etymologiae'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Ro ...
'' XIV.5.2. suggests "Africa comes from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
''aprica'', meaning "sunny". * Massey, in 1881, stated that Africa is derived from the Egyptian ''af-rui-ka'', meaning "to turn toward the opening of the Ka." The is the energetic double of every person and the "opening of the Ka" refers to a womb or birthplace. Africa would be, for the Egyptians, "the birthplace." * Michèle Fruyt in 1976 proposed linking the Latin word with ''africus'' "south wind", which would be of Umbrian origin and mean originally "rainy wind". * Robert R. Stieglitz of
Rutgers University Rutgers University (RU; ), officially known as Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an orga ...
in 1984 proposed: "The name Africa, derived from the Latin *Aphir-ic-a, is cognate to Hebrew
Ophir Ophir (; ) is a port or region mentioned in the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was ...
." *
Ibn Khallikan Aḥmad bin Muḥammad bin Ibrāhīm Abu ’l-ʿAbbās S̲h̲ams al-Dīn al-Barmakī al-Irbilī al-S̲h̲āfiʿī, ibn Khallikān (1211 – 1282) was a 13th century Shafi'i Islamic scholar who compiled the celebrated biographical encyclopedia of ...
and some other historians claim that the name of Africa came from a
Himyarite The Himyarite Kingdom ( ar, مملكة حِمْيَر, Mamlakat Ḥimyar, he, ממלכת חִמְיָר), or Himyar ( ar, حِمْيَر, ''Ḥimyar'', xsa, 𐩢𐩣𐩺𐩧𐩣, Ḥmyrm) (fl. ''Floruit'' (), abbreviated fl. (or occasionally ...

Himyarite
king called Afrikin ibn Kais ibn Saifi also called "Afrikus son of Abrahah" who subdued Ifriqiya.


History


Prehistory

Africa is considered by most
paleoanthropologists Paleoanthropology or paleo-anthropology is a branch of paleontology Paleontology, also spelled palaeontology or palæontology (), is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene Epoch (r ...
to be the on
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
, with the
human species Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They are the only Extant taxon, ...

human species
originating from the continent. During the mid-20th century,
anthropologistsAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposab ...
discovered many
fossil A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, inc ...

fossil
s and evidence of human occupation perhaps as early as 7 million years ago (BP=before present). Fossil remains of several species of early apelike humans thought to have
evolved Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolved
into modern man, such as ''
Australopithecus afarensis ''Australopithecus afarensis'' is an extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism or of a group of kinds (taxon), usually a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the endling, last individua ...

Australopithecus afarensis
'' ( radiometrically dated to approximately 3.9–3.0 million years BP, ''
Paranthropus boisei ''Paranthropus boisei'' is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest gro ...

Paranthropus boisei
'' (c. 2.3–1.4 million years BP) and ''
Homo ergaster ''Homo ergaster'' is an extinct species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular int ...

Homo ergaster
'' (c. 1.9 million–600,000 years BP) have been discovered. After the evolution of ''
Homo sapiens Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread of , characterized by and large, complex brains. This has enabled the development of advanced , , and . Humans are highly social and tend to live in complex s composed of many ...

Homo sapiens
'' approximately 350,000 to 260,000 years BP in Africa, the continent was mainly populated by groups of
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
s. These first modern humans left Africa and populated the rest of the globe during the
Out of Africa II upright=1.5, Expansion of early modern humans from Africa through the Near East In paleoanthropology Paleoanthropology or paleo-anthropology is a branch of paleontology and biological anthropology, anthropology which seeks to understand t ...
migration dated to approximately 50,000 years BP, exiting the continent either across
Bab-el-Mandeb The Bab-el-Mandeb (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countr ...

Bab-el-Mandeb
over the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northe ...

Red Sea
, the
Strait of Gibraltar The Strait of Gibraltar ( ar, مضيق جبل طارق, Maḍīq Jabal Ṭāriq; es, Estrecho de Gibraltar, : ), also known as the Straits of Gibraltar, is a narrow that connects the to the and separates the in from in . The two continen ...

Strait of Gibraltar
in Morocco, or the
Isthmus of Suez The Isthmus of Suez is the 75-mile-wide (125-km) strip of land
in Egypt. Other migrations of modern humans within the African continent have been dated to that time, with evidence of early human settlement found in
Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pr ...
,
Southeast Africa Southeast Africa or Southeastern Africa is an African region that is intermediate between East Africa and Southern Africa. It comprises the countries Botswana, Burundi, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Z ...
,
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
, and the
Sahara The Sahara (, ; ar, الصحراء الكبرى, ', 'the Greatest Desert') is a desert on the African continent Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landma ...

Sahara
.


Emergence of civilization

The size of the Sahara has historically been extremely variable, with its area rapidly fluctuating and at times disappearing depending on global climatic conditions. At the end of the
Ice age An ice age is a long period of reduction in the temperature of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents an ...

Ice age
s, estimated to have been around 10,500 BC, the Sahara had again become a green fertile valley, and its African populations returned from the interior and coastal highlands in
Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa (commonly called Black Africa) is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all list of sovereign states and dependent territories i ...

Sub-Saharan Africa
, with depicting a fertile Sahara and large populations discovered in
Tassili n'Ajjer Tassili n'Ajjer ( Berber: ''Tassili n Ajjer'', ar, طاسيلي ناجر; "Plateau of rivers") is a national park in the Sahara The Sahara (, ; ar, الصحراء الكبرى, ', 'the Greatest Desert') is a desert on the African continen ...
dating back perhaps 10 millennia. However, the warming and drying climate meant that by 5000 BC, the Sahara region was becoming increasingly dry and hostile. Around 3500 BC, due to a tilt in the earth's orbit, the Sahara experienced a period of rapid desertification. The population trekked out of the Sahara region towards the Nile Valley below the
Second Cataract The Cataracts of the Nile are shallow lengths (or whitewater ( French Alps) , Central Finland between Sweden and Finland. Whitewater forms in a rapid context, in particular, when a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, ...
where they made permanent or semi-permanent settlements. A major climatic recession occurred, lessening the heavy and persistent rains in Central and
Eastern Africa East Africa, Eastern Africa, or East of Africa is the eastern sub-region A subregion is a part of a larger region or continent and is usually based on location. Cardinal directions, such as south or southern, are commonly used to define a subr ...
. Since this time, dry conditions have prevailed in Eastern Africa and, increasingly during the last 200 years, in
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the sout ...

Ethiopia
. The domestication of
cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large domestication, domesticated Cloven hoof, cloven-hooved herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae ...

cattle
in Africa preceded
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agriculture
and seems to have existed alongside hunter-gatherer cultures. It is speculated that by 6000 BC, cattle were domesticated in North Africa. In the Sahara-Nile complex, people domesticated many animals, including the
donkey The donkey or ass is a domestic animal This page gives a list of domestic animals, also including a list of domestication of animals, animals which are or may be currently undergoing the process of domestication and animals that have an exten ...
and a small screw-horned goat which was common from
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
to
Nubia Nubia () (Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubian") and literally means "(lan ...

Nubia
. Between the 10,000–9,000 BC, pottery was independently invented in the region of Mali in the savannah of West Africa. Simon Bradley, ''A Swiss-led team of archaeologists has discovered pieces of the oldest African pottery in central Mali, dating back to at least 9,400BC''
, SWI swissinfo.ch – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), 18 January 2007
In the
steppe In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe biomes may include: * the montane grasslands and shrublands biome * the temperate grassland ...

steppe
s and
savanna A savanna or savannah is a mixed woodland A woodland () is, in the broad sense, land covered with trees, or in a narrow sense, synonymous with wood (or in the U.S., the ' woods), a low-density forming open s with plenty of sunlight and li ...

savanna
hs of the
Sahara The Sahara (, ; ar, الصحراء الكبرى, ', 'the Greatest Desert') is a desert on the African continent Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landma ...

Sahara
and
Sahel The Sahel (; ar, ساحل ' , "coast, shore") is the ecoclimatic and of in between the to the north and the to the south. Having a , it stretches across the south-central latitudes of between the Atlantic Ocean and the . The Sahel part o ...

Sahel
in Northern West Africa, the Nilo-Saharan speakers and
Mandé peoples Mandé peoples are speakers of Mande languagesMande may refer to: * Mandé peoplesMandé is a family of languages in West Africa. Various Mandé groups are found in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, ...
started to collect and domesticate wild millet,
African rice ''Oryza glaberrima'', commonly known as African rice, is one of the two domesticated rice species. It was first domesticated and grown in West Africa around 3,000 years ago. It is now rarely sold in West African markets, having been replaced by As ...
and
sorghum ''Sorghum'' is a genus of about 25 species of flowering plants in the grass family ( Poaceae). Some of these species are grown as cereals for human consumption and some in pastures for animals. One species, '' Sorghum bicolor'', was originally ...

sorghum
between 8,000 and 6,000 BC. Later,
gourd Gourds include the fruits of some flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Gre ...

gourd
s,
watermelon Watermelon (''Citrullus lanatus'') is a flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Any ...

watermelon
s,
castor bean ''Ricinus communis'', the castor bean or castor oil plant, is a species of perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives more than two years. The term ('' per-'' + '' -ennial'', "through the years") is often used ...
s, and cotton were also collected and domesticated. They also started making pottery and built stone settlements (e.g., Tichitt, Oualata). Fishing, using bone-tipped harpoons, became a major activity in the numerous streams and lakes formed from the increased rains. Mande peoples have been credited with the independent development of agriculture by about 3,000–4,000 BC. In West Africa, the wet phase ushered in an expanding rainforest and wooded savanna from Senegal to Cameroon. Between 9,000 and 5,000 BC, Niger–Congo languages, Niger–Congo speakers domesticated the Elaeis guineensis, oil palm and raffia palm. Black-eyed peas and voandzeia (African groundnuts), were domesticated, followed by okra and kola nuts. Since most of the plants grew in the forest, the Niger–Congo speakers invented polished stone axes for clearing forest. Around 4000 BC, the Saharan climate started to become drier at an exceedingly fast pace.O'Brien, Patrick K. ed. (2005) ''Oxford Atlas of World History''. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 22–23. This climate change caused lakes and rivers to shrink significantly and caused increasing desertification. This, in turn, decreased the amount of land conducive to settlements and helped to cause migrations of farming communities to the more tropical climate of West Africa. By the first millennium BC, Ferrous metallurgy, ironworking had been introduced in Northern Africa. Around that time it also became established in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, either through independent invention there or diffusion from the northBreunig, Peter. 2014. Nok: African Sculpture in Archaeological Context: p. 21. and vanished under unknown circumstances around 500 AD, having lasted approximately 2,000 years.Fagg, Bernard. 1969. Recent work in west Africa: New light on the Nok culture. World Archaeology 1(1): 41–50. and by 500 BC, metalworking began to become commonplace in West Africa. Ironworking was fully established by roughly 500 BC in many areas of East and West Africa, although other regions didn't begin ironworking until the early centuries AD. Copper objects from Egypt, North Africa, Nubia, and Ethiopia dating from around 500 BC have been excavated in West Africa, suggesting that Trans-Saharan trade networks had been established by this date.


Early civilizations

At about 3300 BC, the historical record opens in Northern Africa with the rise of literacy in the Pharaoh, Pharaonic civilization of
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
. One of the world's earliest and longest-lasting civilizations, the Egyptian state continued, with varying levels of influence over other areas, until 343 BC. Egyptian influence reached deep into modern-day Ancient Libya, Libya and
Nubia Nubia () (Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubian") and literally means "(lan ...

Nubia
, and, according to Martin Bernal, as far north as Crete. An independent centre of civilization with trading links to
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
was established by
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
ns from Tyre, Lebanon, Tyre on the north-west African coast at
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the . The city developed from a n colony ...

Carthage
. European exploration of Africa began with Ancient Greeks and Ancient Rome, Romans. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great was welcomed as a liberator in History of Ptolemaic Egypt, Persian-occupied Egypt. He founded
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asia ...

Alexandria
in Egypt, which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic dynasty after his death. Following the conquest of North Africa's Mediterranean coastline by the Roman Empire, the area was integrated economically and culturally into the Roman system. Africa Province, Roman settlement occurred in modern Tunisia and elsewhere along the coast. The first Roman emperor native to North Africa was Septimius Severus, born in Leptis Magna in present-day Libya—his mother was Italian Roman and his father was Punics, Punic. Christianity spread across these areas at an early date, from Judaea via Egypt and beyond the borders of the Roman world into Nubia; by AD 340 at the latest, it had become the state religion of the Aksumite Empire. Frumentius, Syro-Greek missionaries, who arrived by way of the Red Sea, were responsible for this theological development. In the early 7th century, the newly formed Arabian Islamic Caliphate expanded into Egypt, and then into North Africa. In a short while, the local Berber elite had been integrated into Muslim Arab tribes. When the Umayyad capital Damascus fell in the 8th century, the Islamic centre of the Mediterranean shifted from Syria to Qayrawan in North Africa. Islamic North Africa had become diverse, and a hub for mystics, scholars, jurists, and philosophers. During the above-mentioned period, Islam spread to sub-Saharan Africa, mainly through trade routes and migration. In West Africa, Dhar Tichitt and Oualata in present-day Mauritania figure prominently among the early urban centers, dated to 2,000 BC. About 500 stone settlements litter the region in the former savannah of the Sahara. Its inhabitants fished and grew millet. It has been found by Augustin Holl that the Soninke people, Soninke of the
Mandé peoples Mandé peoples are speakers of Mande languagesMande may refer to: * Mandé peoplesMandé is a family of languages in West Africa. Various Mandé groups are found in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, ...
were likely responsible for constructing such settlements. Around 300 BC the region became more desiccated and the settlements began to decline, most likely relocating to Koumbi Saleh. Architectural evidence and the comparison of pottery styles suggest that Dhar Tichitt was related to the subsequent Ghana Empire. Djenné-Djenno (in present-day Mali) was settled around 300 BC, and the town grew to house a sizable Iron Age population, as evidenced by crowded cemeteries. Living structures were made of sun-dried mud. By 250 BC Djenné-Djenno had become a large, thriving market town. Farther south, in central
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and as we ...

Nigeria
, around 1,500 BC, the Nok culture developed on the Jos Plateau. It was a highly centralized community. The Nok people produced lifelike representations in terracotta, including human heads and human figures, elephants, and other animals. By 500 BC, and possibly earlier, they were smelting iron. By 200 AD the Nok culture had vanished. and vanished under unknown circumstances around 500 AD, having lasted approximately 2,000 years. Based on stylistic similarities with the Nok terracottas, the bronze figurines of the Yoruba people, Yoruba kingdom of Ife and those of the Bini people, Bini kingdom of Benin are suggested to be continuations of the traditions of the earlier Nok culture.


Ninth to eighteenth centuries

Pre-colonial Africa possessed perhaps as many as 10,000 different states and polities characterized by many different sorts of political organization and rule. These included small family groups of hunter-gatherers such as the San people of southern Africa; larger, more structured groups such as the family clan groupings of the Bantu languages, Bantu-speaking Bantu peoples, peoples of central, southern, and eastern Africa; heavily structured clan groups in the Horn of Africa; the large Sahelian kingdoms; and autonomous city-states and kingdoms such as those of the Akan people, Akan; Kingdom of Benin, Edo, Yoruba people, Yoruba, and Igbo people in West Africa; and the Swahili people, Swahili coastal trading towns of
Southeast Africa Southeast Africa or Southeastern Africa is an African region that is intermediate between East Africa and Southern Africa. It comprises the countries Botswana, Burundi, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Z ...
. By the ninth century AD, a string of dynastic states, including the earliest Hausa Kingdoms, Hausa states, stretched across the sub-Saharan savannah from the western regions to central Sudan. The most powerful of these states were Ghana Empire, Ghana, Gao Region, Gao, and the Kanem Empire, Kanem-Bornu Empire. Ghana declined in the eleventh century, but was succeeded by the Mali Empire which consolidated much of western Sudan in the thirteenth century. Kanem accepted Islam in the eleventh century. In the forested regions of the West African coast, independent kingdoms grew with little influence from the Islam, Muslim north. The Kingdom of Nri was established around the ninth century and was one of the first. It is also one of the oldest kingdoms in present-day
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and as we ...

Nigeria
and was ruled by the Eze Nri. The Nri kingdom is famous for its elaborate Igbo-Ukwu#Bronzes, bronzes, found at the town of Igbo-Ukwu. The bronzes have been dated from as far back as the ninth century. The Ifẹ, Kingdom of Ife, historically the first of these Yoruba city-states or kingdoms, established government under a priestly oba (ruler), oba ('king' or 'ruler' in the Yoruba language), called the ''Ooni of Ife''. Ife was noted as a major religious and cultural centre in West Africa, and for its unique naturalistic tradition of bronze sculpture. The Ife model of government was adapted at the Oyo Empire, where its obas or kings, called the ''Alaafins of Oyo'', once controlled a large number of other Yoruba and non-Yoruba city-states and kingdoms; the Fon people, Fon ''Kingdom of Dahomey'' was one of the non-Yoruba domains under Oyo control. The Almoravid dynasty, Almoravids were a Berber people, Berber dynasty from the
Sahara The Sahara (, ; ar, الصحراء الكبرى, ', 'the Greatest Desert') is a desert on the African continent Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landma ...

Sahara
that spread over a wide area of northwestern Africa and the Iberian peninsula during the eleventh century. The Banu Hilal and Maqil, Banu Ma'qil were a collection of Arab Bedouin tribes from the Arabian Peninsula who migrated westwards via Egypt between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. Their Human migration, migration resulted in the fusion of the Arabs and Berbers, where the locals were Arabization, Arabized, and Arab culture absorbed elements of the local culture, under the unifying framework of Islam. Following the breakup of Mali, a local leader named Sonni Ali (1464–1492) founded the Songhai Empire in the region of middle Niger and the western Sudan (region), Sudan and took control of the trans-Saharan trade. Sonni Ali seized Timbuktu in 1468 and Djenné, Jenne in 1473, building his regime on trade revenues and the cooperation of Muslim merchants. His successor Askia Mohammad I (1493–1528) made Islam the official religion, built mosques, and brought to Gao Muslim scholars, including al-Maghili (d.1504), the founder of an important tradition of Sudanic African Muslim scholarship.Lapidus, Ira M. (1988) ''A History of Islamic Societies'', Cambridge. By the eleventh century, some Hausa Kingdoms, Hausa states – such as Kano, jigawa, Katsina, and Gobir – had developed into walled towns engaging in trade, servicing camel train, caravans, and the manufacture of goods. Until the fifteenth century, these small states were on the periphery of the major Sudanic empires of the era, paying tribute to Songhai to the west and Kanem-Borno to the east.


Height of the slave trade

Slavery had long been practiced in Africa. Between the 15th and the 19th centuries, the Atlantic slave trade took an estimated 7–12 million slaves to the New World. In addition, more than 1 million Europeans were captured by Barbary pirates and sold as slaves in North Africa between the 16th and 19th centuries. In West Africa, the decline of the Atlantic slave trade in the 1820s caused dramatic economic shifts in local polities. The gradual decline of slave-trading, prompted by a lack of demand for slaves in the New World, increasing abolitionism, anti-slavery legislation in Europe and America, and the Royal Navy, British Royal Navy's increasing presence off the West African coast, obliged African states to adopt new economies. Between 1808 and 1860, the British West Africa Squadron seized approximately 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans who were aboard. Action was also taken against African leaders who refused to agree to British treaties to outlaw the trade, for example against "the usurping King of Lagos", deposed in 1851. Anti-slavery treaties were signed with over 50 African rulers. The largest powers of West Africa (the Asante Confederacy, the Dahomey, Kingdom of Dahomey, and the Oyo Empire) adopted different ways of adapting to the shift. Asante and Dahomey concentrated on the development of "legitimate commerce" in the form of palm oil, Cocoa bean, cocoa, timber and gold, forming the bedrock of West Africa's modern export trade. The Oyo Empire, unable to adapt, collapsed into civil wars.


Colonialism


Independence struggles

Imperial rule by Europeans would continue until after the conclusion of World War II, when almost all remaining colonial territories gradually obtained formal independence. African independence movements, Independence movements in Africa gained momentum following World War II, which left the major European powers weakened. In 1951,
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
, a former Italian colony, gained independence. In 1956, Tunisia and
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
won their independence from France. Ghana followed suit the next year (March 1957), becoming the first of the sub-Saharan colonies to be granted independence. Most of the rest of the continent became independent over the next decade. Portugal's overseas presence in
Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa (commonly called Black Africa) is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all list of sovereign states and dependent territories i ...

Sub-Saharan Africa
(most notably in Portuguese Angola, Angola, Cape Verde, Portuguese Mozambique, Mozambique, Portuguese Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe) lasted from the 16th century to 1975, after the Estado Novo (Portugal), Estado Novo regime was overthrown in Carnation Revolution, a military coup in Lisbon. Rhodesia Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence, unilaterally declared independence from the United Kingdom in 1965, under the White minority rule, white minority government of Ian Smith, but was not internationally recognized as an independent state (as Zimbabwe) until 1980, when black nationalists gained power after a Rhodesian Bush War, bitter guerrilla war. Although South Africa was one of the first African countries to gain independence, the state remained under the control of the country's white minority through a system of racial segregation known as South Africa under apartheid, apartheid until 1994.


Post-colonial Africa

Today, Africa contains 54 sovereign countries, most of which have borders that were drawn during the era of European colonialism. Since colonialism, African states have frequently been hampered by instability, corruption, violence, and authoritarianism. The vast majority of African states are republics that operate under some form of the presidential system of rule. However, few of them have been able to sustain Democracy, democratic governments on a permanent basis, and many have instead cycled through a series of Coup d'état, coups, producing military dictatorships. Great instability was mainly the result of marginalization of ethnic groups, and Political corruption, graft under these leaders. For Divide and rule, political gain, many leaders fanned ethnic conflicts, some of which had been exacerbated, or even created, by colonial rule. In many countries, the military was perceived as being the only group that could effectively maintain order, and it ruled many nations in Africa during the 1970s and early 1980s. During the period from the early 1960s to the late 1980s, Africa had more than 70 coups and 13 presidential assassinations. Border and territorial disputes were also common, with the European-imposed borders of many nations being widely contested through armed conflicts.
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
conflicts between the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as the policies of the International Monetary Fund, also played a role in instability. When a country became independent for the first time, it was often expected to align with one of the two superpowers. Many countries in Northern Africa received Soviet military aid, while others in Central and Southern Africa were supported by the United States, France or both. The 1970s saw an escalation of Cold War intrigues, as newly independent Angola and Mozambique aligned themselves with the Soviet Union, and the West and South Africa sought to contain Soviet influence by supporting friendly regimes or insurgency movements. In Rhodesia, Soviet and Chinese-backed leftist guerrillas of the Patriotic Front (Zimbabwe), Zimbabwe Patriotic Front waged a brutal Rhodesian Bush War, guerrilla war against the country's white government. There was a 1983–85 famine in Ethiopia, major famine in Ethiopia, when hundreds of thousands of people starved. Some claimed that Marxist economic policies made the situation worse. The most devastating military conflict in modern independent Africa has been the Second Congo War; this conflict and its aftermath has killed an estimated 5.5 million people. Since 2003 there has been an ongoing War in Darfur, conflict in Darfur which has become a humanitarian disaster. Another notable tragic event is the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which an estimated 800,000 people were murdered. In the 21st century, however, the number of armed conflicts in Africa has steadily declined. For instance, the Angolan Civil War, civil war in Angola came to an end in 2002 after nearly 30 years. This coincided with many countries abandoning communist-style command economies and opening up for market reforms. The improved stability and economic reforms have led to a great increase in foreign investment into many African nations, mainly from China, which has spurred quick economic growth in many countries, seemingly ending decades of stagnation and decline. Several African economies are among the world's fastest growing . A significant part of this growth, which is sometimes referred to as Africa Rising, can also be attributed to the facilitated diffusion of information technologies and specifically the mobile telephone. Human migration, Migration from African nations has increased dramatically in the last decade.


Geology, geography, ecology and environment

Africa is the largest of the three great southward projections from the largest landmass of the Earth. Separated from Europe by the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
, it is joined to Asia at its northeast extremity by the Suez Canal, Isthmus of Suez (transected by the Suez Canal), wide. (Geopolitics, Geopolitically, Egypt's Sinai Peninsula east of the Suez Canal is often considered part of Africa, as well.) The coastline is long, and the absence of deep indentations of the shore is illustrated by the fact that Europe, which covers only – about a third of the surface of Africa – has a coastline of . From the most northerly point, Ras ben Sakka in Tunisia (37°21' N), to the most southerly point, Cape Agulhas in South Africa (34°51'15" S), is a distance of approximately . Cap-Vert, Cape Verde, 17°33'22" W, the westernmost point, is a distance of approximately to Ras Hafun, 51°27'52" E, the most easterly projection that neighbours Cape Guardafui, the tip of the Horn of Africa.(1998) ''Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary (Index)'', Merriam-Webster, pp. 10–11. Africa's largest country is
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
, and its smallest country is Seychelles, an
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
off the east coast.Hoare, Ben. (2002) ''The Kingfisher A–Z Encyclopedia'', Kingfisher Publications. p. 11. The smallest nation on the continental mainland is The Gambia.


African plate

The African Plate is a major tectonic plate straddling the equator as well as the prime meridian. It includes much of the
continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of th ...

continent
of Africa, as well as oceanic crust which lies between the continent and various surrounding ocean ridges. Between and , the Somali Plate began rifting from the African Plate along the East African Rift. Since the continent of Africa consists of crust from both the African and the Somali plates, some literature refers to the African Plate as the ''Nubian Plate'' to distinguish it from the continent as a whole. Geologically, Africa includes the Arabian Peninsula; the Zagros Mountains of Iran and the Anatolian Plateau of Turkey mark where the African Plate collided with Eurasia. The Afrotropical realm and the Saharo-Arabian Region, Saharo-Arabian desert to its north unite the region biogeographically, and the Afroasiatic languages, Afro-Asiatic language family unites the north linguistically.


Climate

The climate of Africa ranges from tropical climate, tropical to Subarctic climate, subarctic on its highest peaks. Its northern half is primarily desert, or arid, while its central and southern areas contain both
savanna A savanna or savannah is a mixed woodland A woodland () is, in the broad sense, land covered with trees, or in a narrow sense, synonymous with wood (or in the U.S., the ' woods), a low-density forming open s with plenty of sunlight and li ...

savanna
plains and dense jungle (rainforest) regions. In between, there is a convergence, where vegetation patterns such as sahel and
steppe In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe biomes may include: * the montane grasslands and shrublands biome * the temperate grassland ...

steppe
dominate. Africa is the hottest continent on Earth and 60% of the entire land surface consists of drylands and deserts."Africa: Environmental Atlas, 06/17/08."African Studies Center
, University of Pennsylvania. Accessed June 2011.
The record for the highest-ever recorded temperature, in
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
in 1922 (), was discredited in 2013. (The 136 °F (57.8 °C), claimed by 'Aziziya,
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
, on 13 September 1922, has been officially deemed invalid by the World Meteorological Organization.)


Ecology and biodiversity

Africa has over 3,000 protected areas, with 198 marine protected areas, 50 biosphere reserves, and 80 wetlands reserves. Significant habitat destruction, increases in human population and poaching are reducing Africa's biological diversity and arable land. Human encroachment, civil unrest and the introduction of non-native species threaten biodiversity in Africa. This has been exacerbated by administrative problems, inadequate personnel and funding problems. Deforestation is affecting Africa at twice the world rate, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). According to the University of Pennsylvania African Studies Center, 31% of Africa's pasture lands and 19% of its forests and woodlands are classified as degraded, and Africa is losing over four million hectares of forest per year, which is twice the average deforestation rate for the rest of the world. Some sources claim that approximately 90% of the original, virgin forests in West Africa have been destroyed. Over 90% of
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mala ...

Madagascar
's original forests have been destroyed since the arrival of humans 2000 years ago. About 65% of Africa's agricultural land suffers from soil degradation.


Environmental issues


Water


Climate change


Fauna

Africa boasts perhaps the world's largest combination of density and "range of freedom" of wild animal populations and diversity, with wild populations of large carnivores (such as lions, hyenas, and cheetahs) and herbivores (such as African buffalo, buffalo, elephants, camels, and giraffes) ranging freely on primarily open non-private plains. It is also home to a variety of "jungle" animals including snakes and primates and aquatic ecosystem, aquatic life such as crocodiles and amphibians. In addition, Africa has the largest number of
megafauna In terrestrial zoology Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is typically regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, including the anatomy, structure, embryology, evolutio ...

megafauna
species, as it was least affected by the extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna.


Politics


African Union

The
African Union The African Union (AU) is a continental union A continental union is a regional organization which facilitates pan-continental integration. Continental unions vary from collaborative intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organiza ...

African Union
(AU) is a continental union consisting of 55 Member states of the African Union, member states. The union was formed, with
Addis Ababa Addis Ababa ( am, አዲስ አበባ ' , "new flower"), also known as Finfinne ( om, Finfinne "natural spring") and Sheger ( ', ), is the and largest city of . According to the 2007 census, the city has a population of 2,739,551 inhabitants. ...

Addis Ababa
,
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the sout ...

Ethiopia
, as its headquarters, on 26 June 2001. The union was officially established on 9 July 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). In July 2004, the African Union's Pan-African Parliament (PAP) was relocated to Midrand, in South Africa, but the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights remained in Addis Ababa. The African Union, not to be confused with the African Union Commission, AU Commission, is formed by the Constitutive Act of the African Union, which aims to transform the African Economic Community, a federated commonwealth, into a state under established international conventions. The African Union has a parliamentary government, known as the Assembly of the African Union, African Union Government, consisting of legislative, judicial and executive organs. It is led by the African Union President and Head of State, who is also the President of the Pan-African Parliament. A person becomes AU President by being elected to the PAP, and subsequently gaining majority support in the PAP. The powers and authority of the President of the African Parliament derive from the Constitutive Act and the Pan-African Parliament, Protocol of the Pan-African Parliament, as well as the inheritance of presidential authority stipulated by African treaties and by international treaties, including those subordinating the Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity, OAU Secretariat (AU Commission) to the PAP. The government of the AU consists of all-union, regional, state, and municipal authorities, as well as hundreds of institutions, that together manage the day-to-day affairs of the institution. Extensive human rights abuses still occur in several parts of Africa, often under the oversight of the state. Most of such violations occur for political reasons, often as a side effect of civil war. Countries where major human rights violations have been reported in recent times include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Côte d'Ivoire.


Boundary conflicts


Economy

Although it has abundant natural resources, Africa remains the world's poorest and Human Development Index, least-developed continent, the result of a variety of causes that may include Corruption Perceptions Index, corrupt governments that have often committed serious human rights violations, failed central planning, high levels of illiteracy, lack of access to foreign capital, and frequent tribal and military conflict (ranging from guerrilla warfare to genocide). Its total nominal GDP remains behind that of the United States, China, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, India and France. According to the United Nations' Human Development Report in 2003, the bottom 24 ranked nations (151st to 175th) were all African. Poverty in Africa, Poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and inadequate water supply and sanitation, as well as poor health, affect a large proportion of the people who reside in the African continent. In August 2008, the World Bank announced revised global poverty estimates based on a new international poverty line of $1.25 per day (versus the previous measure of $1.00). 81% of the
Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa (commonly called Black Africa) is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all list of sovereign states and dependent territories i ...

Sub-Saharan Africa
population was living on less than $2.50 (PPP) per day in 2005, compared with 86% for India. Sub-Saharan Africa is the least successful region of the world in reducing poverty ($1.25 per day); some 50% of Poverty in Africa, the population living in poverty in 1981 (200 million people), a figure that rose to 58% in 1996 before dropping to 50% in 2005 (380 million people). The average poor person in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to live on only 70 cents per day, and was poorer in 2003 than in 1973, indicating increasing poverty in some areas. Some of it is attributed to unsuccessful economic liberalization programmes spearheaded by foreign companies and governments, but other studies have cited bad domestic government policies more than external factors. Africa is now at risk of being in debt once again, particularly in Sub-Saharan African countries. The last debt crisis in 2005 was resolved with help from the heavily indebted poor countries scheme (HIPC). The HIPC resulted in some positive and negative effects on the economy in Africa. About ten years after the 2005 debt crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa was resolved, Zambia fell back into debt. A small reason was due to the fall in copper prices in 2011, but the bigger reason was that a large amount of the money Zambia borrowed was wasted or pocketed by the elite. From 1995 to 2005, Africa's rate of economic growth increased, averaging 5% in 2005. Some countries experienced still higher growth rates, notably Angola, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea, all of which had recently begun extracting their petroleum reserves or had expanded their oil extraction capacity. In a recently published analysis based on World Values Survey data, the Austrian political scientist Arno Tausch maintained that several African countries, most notably Ghana, perform quite well on scales of mass support for democracy and the market economy. Tausch's global value comparison based on the World Values Survey derived the following factor analytical scales: 1. The non-violent and law-abiding society 2. Democracy movement 3. Climate of personal non-violence 4. Trust in institutions 5. Happiness, good health 6. No redistributive religious fundamentalism 7. Accepting the market 8. Feminism 9. Involvement in politics 10. Optimism and engagement 11. No welfare mentality, acceptancy of the Calvinist work ethics. The spread in the performance of African countries with complete data, Tausch concluded "is really amazing". While one should be especially hopeful about the development of future democracy and the market economy in Ghana, the article suggests pessimistic tendencies for Egypt and
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
, and especially for Africa's leading economy, South Africa. High Human Inequality, as measured by the UNDP's Human Development Report's Index of Human Inequality, further impairs the development of Human Security. Tausch also maintains that the certain recent optimism, corresponding to economic and human rights data, emerging from Africa, is reflected in the development of a civil society. The continent is believed to hold 90% of the world's cobalt, 90% of its platinum, 50% of its gold, 98% of its chromium, 70% of its tantalite, 64% of its manganese and one-third of its uranium. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has 70% of the world's coltan, a mineral used in the production of tantalum capacitors for electronic devices such as cell phones. The DRC also has more than 30% of the world's diamond reserves. Guinea is the world's largest exporter of bauxite. As the growth in Africa has been driven mainly by services and not manufacturing or agriculture, it has been growth without jobs and without reduction in Poverty in Africa, poverty levels. In fact, the 2007–08 world food price crisis, food security crisis of 2008 which took place on the heels of the global financial crisis pushed 100 million people into food insecurity. In recent years, the People's Republic of China has built increasingly stronger ties with African nations and is Africa's largest trading partner. In 2007, Chinese companies invested a total of US$1 billion in Africa.Malia Politzer, "China and Africa: Stronger Economic Ties Mean More Migration"
, ''Migration Information Source''. August 2008
A Harvard University study led by professor Calestous Juma showed that Africa could feed itself by making the transition from importer to self-sufficiency. "African agriculture is at the crossroads; we have come to the end of a century of policies that favoured Africa's export of raw materials and importation of food. Africa is starting to focus on agricultural innovation as its new engine for regional trade and prosperity."


Demographics

Africa's population has rapidly increased over the last 40 years, and is consequently relatively young. In some African states, more than half the population is under 25 years of age. The total number of people in Africa increased from 229 million in 1950 to 630 million in 1990. As of , the population of Africa is estimated at billion . Africa's total population surpassing other continents is fairly recent; African population surpassed Europe in the 1990s, while the Americas was overtaken sometime around the year 2000; Africa's rapid population growth is expected to overtake the only two nations currently larger than its population, at roughly the same time – India and China's 1.4 billion people each will swap ranking around the year 2022. This increase in number of babies born in Africa compared to the rest of the world is expected to reach approximately 37% in the year 2050, an increase of 21% since 1990 alone. Speakers of Bantu languages (part of the Niger–Congo languages, Niger–Congo family) are the majority in southern, central and southeast Africa. The Bantu-speaking peoples from the Sahel progressively expanded over most of Sub-Saharan Africa. But there are also several Nilotic groups in South Sudan and East Africa, the mixed Swahili people on the Swahili Coast, and a few remaining Indigenous peoples of Africa, indigenous Khoisan ("Bushmen, San" or "Bushmen") and Pygmy peoples in southern and central Africa, respectively. Bantu-speaking Africans also predominate in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, and are found in parts of southern Cameroon. In the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa, the distinct people known as the Bushmen (also "San", closely related to, but distinct from "Khoikhoi, Hottentots") have long been present. The San are physically distinct from other Africans and are the indigenous people of southern Africa. Pygmies are the pre-Bantu indigenous peoples of central Africa. The peoples of West Africa primarily speak Niger–Congo languages, belonging mostly to its non-Bantu branches, though some Nilo-Saharan and Afro-Asiatic speaking groups are also found. The Niger–Congo-speaking Yoruba language, Yoruba, Igbo language, Igbo, Fulani, Akan language, Akan and Wolof people, Wolof ethnic groups are the largest and most influential. In the central Sahara, Mandinka people, Mandinka or Mande languages, Mande groups are most significant. Chadic-speaking groups, including the Hausa language, Hausa, are found in more northerly parts of the region nearest to the Sahara, and Nilo-Saharan communities, such as the Songhai people, Songhai, Kanuri people, Kanuri and Zarma people, Zarma, are found in the eastern parts of West Africa bordering Central Africa. The peoples of North Africa consist of three main indigenous groups: Berbers in the northwest, Egyptians in the northeast, and Nilo-Saharan-speaking peoples in the east. The Arabs who arrived in the 7th century AD introduced the Arabic language and Islam to North Africa. The Semitic
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
ns (who founded
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the . The city developed from a n colony ...

Carthage
) and Hyksos, the Indo-Iranian Alans, the Indo- European Ancient Greece, Greeks, Ancient Rome, Romans, and Vandals settled in North Africa as well. Significant Berber communities remain within
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
and
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
in the 21st century, while, to a lesser extent, Berber speakers are also present in some regions of Tunisia and Libya. The Berber-speaking Tuareg people, Tuareg and other often-nomadic peoples are the principal inhabitants of the Saharan interior of North Africa. In Mauritania, there is a small but near-extinct Berber community in the north and Niger–Congo-speaking peoples in the south, though in both regions Arabic and Arab culture predominates. In Sudan, although Arabic and Arab culture predominate, it is mostly inhabited by groups that originally spoke Nilo-Saharan, such as the Nubians, Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa, who, over the centuries, have variously intermixed with migrants from the Arabian peninsula. Small communities of Afro-Asiatic-speaking Beja nomads can also be found in Egypt and Sudan. In the Horn of Africa, some Ethiopian and Eritrean groups (like the Amhara people, Amhara and Tigray-Tigrinya people, Tigrayans, collectively known as Habesha people, Habesha) speak languages from the Semitic languages, Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages, Afro-Asiatic language family, while the Oromo people, Oromo and Somalis, Somali speak languages from the Cushitic branch of Afro-Asiatic. Prior to the decolonization movements of the post-World War II era, Ethnic groups in Europe, Europeans were represented in every part of Africa. Decolonization during the 1960s and 1970s often resulted in the mass emigration of white settlers – especially from Algeria and Morocco (1.6 million ''pieds-noirs'' in North Africa), Kenya, Congo, Rhodesia, Mozambique and Angola. Between 1975 and 1977, over a million colonials returned to Portugal alone. Nevertheless, White Africans of European ancestry, white Africans remain an important minority in many African states, particularly Zimbabwe, Namibia, Réunion, and the Republic of South Africa. The country with the largest white African population is South Africa. Dutch people, Dutch and British diaspora in Africa, British diasporas represent the largest communities of European ancestry on the continent today. European colonization also brought sizable groups of Asian people, Asians, particularly from the Indian subcontinent, to British colonies. Large Non-resident Indian and person of Indian origin, Indian communities are found in South Africa, and smaller ones are present in Kenya, Tanzania, and some other southern and southeast African countries. The large Indians in Uganda, Indian community in Uganda was expulsion of Asians from Uganda, expelled by the dictator Idi Amin in 1972, though many have since returned. The islands in the Indian Ocean are also populated primarily by people of Asian origin, often mixed with Africans and Europeans. The Malagasy people of
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mala ...

Madagascar
are an Austronesian people, but those along the coast are generally mixed with Bantu, Arab, Indian and European origins. Malay and Indian ancestries are also important components in the group of people known in South Africa as Cape Coloureds (people with origins in two or more races and continents). During the 20th century, small but economically important communities of Demographics of Lebanon#The Lebanese Diaspora, Lebanese and Overseas Chinese, Chinese have also developed in the larger coastal cities of West Africa, West and East Africa, respectively.


Religion

While Africans profess a wide variety of religious beliefs, the majority of the people respect African religions or parts of them. However, in formal surveys or census, most people will identify with major religions that came from outside the continent, mainly through colonisation. There are several reasons for this, the main one being the colonial idea that African religious beliefs and practices are not good enough. Religious beliefs and statistics on religious affiliation are difficult to come by since they are often a sensitive topic for governments with mixed religious populations. According to the ''World Book Encyclopedia'', Islam in Africa, Islam and Christianity in Africa, Christianity are the two largest religions in Africa. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, 45% of the population are Christians, 40% are Muslims, and 10% follow Traditional African religions, traditional religions. A small number of Africans are Hindu, Buddhist, Confucianist, Baháʼí Faith, Baháʼí, or Judaism in Africa, Jewish. There is also a minority of people in Africa who are Irreligion in Africa, irreligious.


Languages

By most estimates, well over a thousand languages (UNESCO has estimated around two thousand) are spoken in Africa. Most are of African origin, though some are of European or Asian origin. Africa is the most Multilingualism, multilingual continent in the world, and it is not rare for individuals to fluently speak not only multiple African languages, but one or more European ones as well. There are four major language family, language families indigenous to Africa: * The Afroasiatic languages, ''Afroasiatic'' languages are a language family of about 240 languages and 285 million people widespread throughout the Horn of Africa,
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
, the
Sahel The Sahel (; ar, ساحل ' , "coast, shore") is the ecoclimatic and of in between the to the north and the to the south. Having a , it stretches across the south-central latitudes of between the Atlantic Ocean and the . The Sahel part o ...

Sahel
, and Southwest Asia. * The Nilo-Saharan languages, ''Nilo-Saharan'' language family consists of more than a hundred languages spoken by 30 million people. Nilo-Saharan languages are spoken by ethnic groups in Chad,
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the sout ...

Ethiopia
, Kenya,
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and as we ...

Nigeria
, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and northern Tanzania. * The Niger–Congo languages, ''Niger-Congo'' language family covers much of Sub-Saharan Africa. In terms of number of languages, it is the largest language family in Africa and perhaps one of the largest in the world. * The Khoisan languages, ''Khoisan'' languages number about fifty and are spoken in
Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pr ...
by approximately 400,000 people. Many of the Khoisan languages are endangered language, endangered. The Khoikhoi, Khoi and Bushmen, San peoples are considered the original inhabitants of this part of Africa. Following the end of colonialism, nearly all African countries adopted official languages that originated outside the continent, although several countries also granted legal recognition to indigenous languages (such as Swahili language, Swahili, Yoruba language, Yoruba, Igbo language, Igbo and Hausa language, Hausa). In numerous countries, English and French (''see African French'') are used for communication in the public sphere such as government, commerce, education and the media. Arabic language, Arabic, Portuguese language, Portuguese, Afrikaans and Spanish are examples of languages that trace their origin to outside of Africa, and that are used by millions of Africans today, both in the public and private spheres. Italian is spoken by some in former Italian Colonial Empire, Italian colonies in Africa. German is spoken in Namibia, as it was a former German protectorate.


Health

More than 85% of individuals in Africa use traditional medicine as an alternative to often expensive allopathic medical health care and costly pharmaceutical products. The Organisation of African Unity, Organization of African Unity (OAU) Heads of State and Government declared the 2000s decade as the African Decade on African traditional medicine, African Traditional Medicine in an effort to promote The WHO African Region's adopted resolution for institutionalizing traditional medicine in health care systems across the continent. Public policy makers in the region are challenged with consideration of the importance of traditional/indigenous health systems and whether their coexistence with the modern medical and health sub-sector would improve the equitability and accessibility of health care distribution, the health status of populations, and the social-economic development of nations within sub-Saharan Africa. HIV/AIDS in Africa, AIDS in post-colonial Africa is a prevalent issue. Although the continent is home to about 15.2 percent of the world's population, more than two-thirds of the total infected worldwide – some 35 million people – were Africans, of whom 15 million have already died.
Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa (commonly called Black Africa) is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all list of sovereign states and dependent territories i ...

Sub-Saharan Africa
alone accounted for an estimated 69 percent of all people living with HIV and 70 percent of all AIDS deaths in 2011. In the countries of sub-Saharan Africa most affected, AIDS has raised death rates and lowered life expectancy among adults between the ages of 20 and 49 by about twenty years. Furthermore, the life expectancy in many parts of Africa is declining, largely as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic with life-expectancy in some countries reaching as low as thirty-four years.


Culture

Some aspects of traditional African cultures have become less practised in recent years as a result of neglect and suppression by colonial and post-colonial regimes. For example, African customs were discouraged, and African languages were prohibited in mission schools. Leopold II of Belgium attempted to "civilize" Africans by discouraging polygamy and witchcraft. Obidoh Freeborn posits that colonialism is one element that has created the character of modern African art. According to authors Douglas Fraser and Herbert M. Cole, "The precipitous alterations in the power structure wrought by colonialism were quickly followed by drastic iconographic changes in the art." Fraser and Cole assert that, in Igboland, some art objects "lack the vigor and careful craftsmanship of the earlier art objects that served traditional functions. Author Chika Okeke-Agulu states that "the racist infrastructure of British imperial enterprise forced upon the political and cultural guardians of empire a denial and suppression of an emergent sovereign Africa and modernist art." Editors F. Abiola Irele and Simon Gikandi comment that the current identity of African literature had its genesis in the "traumatic encounter between Africa and Europe." On the other hand, Mhoze Chikowero believes that Africans deployed music, dance, spirituality, and other performative cultures to (re)asset themselves as active agents and indigenous intellectuals, to unmake their colonial marginalization and reshape their own destinies." There is now a resurgence in the attempts to rediscover and revalue African traditional cultures, under such movements as the African Renaissance, led by Thabo Mbeki, Afrocentrism, led by a group of scholars, including Molefi Asante, as well as the increasing recognition of traditional spiritualism through decriminalization of West African Vodun, Vodou and other forms of spirituality.


Visual art


Architecture


Music


Dance


Sports

Fifty-four African countries have Association football, football teams in the Confederation of African Football. Egypt has won the African Cup seven times, and a record-making three times in a row. Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, and Algeria have advanced to the knockout stage of recent FIFA World Cups. South Africa hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup, 2010 World Cup tournament, becoming the first African country to do so. In recent years, the continent has made major progress in terms of state of the art basketball facilities which have been built in cites as diverse as Cairo, Dakar, Johannesburg, Kigali, Luanda and Rades. The number of African basketball players who got drafted into the world's strongest and most popular professional league National Basketball Association, NBA has experienced major growth in the 2010s. Cricket is popular in some African nations. South Africa national cricket team, South Africa and Zimbabwe national cricket team, Zimbabwe have Test cricket, Test status, while Kenya national cricket team, Kenya is the leading non-test team and previously had One Day International, One-Day International cricket (ODI) status (from President's Cup 1997-98, 10 October 1997, until 2014 Cricket World Cup Qualifier#Super Six, 30 January 2014). The three countries jointly hosted the 2003 Cricket World Cup. Namibia national cricket team, Namibia is the other African country to have played in a World Cup.
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
in northern Africa has also hosted the 2002 Morocco Cup, but the national team has never qualified for a major tournament. Rugby union, Rugby is a popular sport in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia.


Territories and regions

The countries in this table are categorized according to the United Nations geoscheme for Africa, scheme for geographic subregions used by the United Nations, and data included are per sources in cross-referenced articles. Where they differ, provisos are clearly indicated. {, class="wikitable sortable" style="margin-left:auto; margin-right:auto; border:1px solid #aaa;" , - style="background:#ececec;" ! class="unsortable" style="width:20px" , Coat of arms, Arms ! class="unsortable" style="width:20px" , Flag ! Name of region and
territory, with flag ! data-sort-type="number" , List of countries and dependencies by area, Area
(km2) ! data-sort-type="number" , List of countries and dependencies by population, Population{{cite web, url=https://www.census.gov\/cgi-bin/ipc/idbrank.pl, title=IDB: Countries Ranked by Population, date=28 November 1999, url-status=bot: unknown, archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/19991128111024/http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ipc/idbrank.pl, archive-date=28 November 1999 ! Year ! data-sort-type="number" , List of countries and dependencies by population density, Density
(per km2) ! Capital city, Capital , - style="background:#eee;" , colspan="8" style="text-align:center;",
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
, - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Algeria ,
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
, style="text-align:right;", 2,381,740 , style="text-align:right;", 34,178,188 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 14 , Algiers , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Canary Islands , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Canary Islands , Canary Islands (Spain) , style="text-align:right;", 7,492 , style="text-align:right;", 2,154,905 , style="text-align:right;", 2017 , style="text-align:right;", 226 , Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,
Santa Cruz de Tenerife , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Ceuta , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Ceuta , Ceuta (Spain) , style="text-align:right;", 20 , style="text-align:right;", 85,107 , style="text-align:right;", 2017 , style="text-align:right;", 3,575 , — , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Egypt , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Egypt , Egypt , style="text-align:right;", 1,001,450 , style="text-align:right;", 82,868,000 , style="text-align:right;", 2012 , style="text-align:right;", 83 , Cairo , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Libya ,
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
, style="text-align:right;", 1,759,540 , style="text-align:right;", 6,310,434 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 4 , Tripoli , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Madeira , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Madeira , Madeira (Portugal) , style="text-align:right;", 797 , style="text-align:right;", 245,000 , style="text-align:right;", 2001 , style="text-align:right;", 307 , Funchal , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Melilla , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Melilla , Melilla (Spain) , style="text-align:right;", 12 , style="text-align:right;", 85,116 , style="text-align:right;", 2017 , style="text-align:right;", 5,534 , — , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Morocco , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Morocco ,
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
, style="text-align:right;", 446,550 , style="text-align:right;", 35,740,000 , style="text-align:right;", 2017 , style="text-align:right;", 78 , Rabat , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Tunisia , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Tunisia , Tunisia , style="text-align:right;", 163,610 , style="text-align:right;", 10,486,339 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 64 , Tunis , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Western Sahara , Western SaharaThe territory of Western Sahara is claimed by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
. The SADR is recognized as a sovereign state by the
African Union The African Union (AU) is a continental union A continental union is a regional organization which facilitates pan-continental integration. Continental unions vary from collaborative intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organiza ...

African Union
.
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
claims the entirety of the country as its Southern Provinces. Morocco administers 4/5 of the territory while the SADR controls 1/5. Morocco's annexation of this territory has not been recognized internationally.
, style="text-align:right;", 266,000 , style="text-align:right;", 405,210 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 2 , El Aaiún , - style="background:#eee;" , colspan="8" style="text-align:center;", East Africa , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Burundi , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Burundi , Burundi , style="text-align:right;", 27,830 , style="text-align:right;", 8,988,091 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 323 , Gitega , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Comoros , Comoros , style="text-align:right;", 2,170 , style="text-align:right;", 752,438 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 347 , Moroni, Comoros, Moroni , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Djibouti , Djibouti , style="text-align:right;", 23,000 , style="text-align:right;", 828,324 , style="text-align:right;", 2015 , style="text-align:right;", 22 , Djibouti (city), Djibouti , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Eritrea , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Eritrea , Eritrea , style="text-align:right;", 121,320 , style="text-align:right;", 5,647,168 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 47 , Asmara , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Ethiopia , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Ethiopia ,
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the sout ...

Ethiopia
, style="text-align:right;", 1,127,127 , style="text-align:right;", 84,320,987 , style="text-align:right;", 2012 , style="text-align:right;", 75 ,
Addis Ababa Addis Ababa ( am, አዲስ አበባ ' , "new flower"), also known as Finfinne ( om, Finfinne "natural spring") and Sheger ( ', ), is the and largest city of . According to the 2007 census, the city has a population of 2,739,551 inhabitants. ...

Addis Ababa
, - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, French Southern and Antarctic Lands , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, French Southern and Antarctic Lands , French Southern and Antarctic Lands, French Southern Territories (France) , style="text-align:right;", 439,781 , style="text-align:right;", 100 , style="text-align:right;", 2019 , style="text-align:right;", — , Saint-Pierre, Réunion, Saint Pierre , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Kenya , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Kenya , Kenya , style="text-align:right;", 582,650 , style="text-align:right;", 39,002,772 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 66 , Nairobi , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Madagascar ,
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mala ...

Madagascar
, style="text-align:right;", 587,040 , style="text-align:right;", 20,653,556 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 35 , Antananarivo , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Malawi , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Malawi , Malawi , style="text-align:right;", 118,480 , style="text-align:right;", 14,268,711 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 120 , Lilongwe , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Mauritius , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Mauritius , Mauritius , style="text-align:right;", 2,040 , style="text-align:right;", 1,284,264 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 630 , Port Louis , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Mayotte , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Mayotte, local , Mayotte (France) , style="text-align:right;", 374 , style="text-align:right;", 223,765 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 490 , Mamoudzou , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Mozambique , Mozambique , style="text-align:right;", 801,590 , style="text-align:right;", 21,669,278 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 27 , Maputo , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Réunion , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Réunion , Réunion (France) , style="text-align:right;", 2,512 , style="text-align:right;", 743,981 , style="text-align:right;", 2002 , style="text-align:right;", 296 , Saint-Denis, Réunion, Saint Denis , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Rwanda , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Rwanda , Rwanda , style="text-align:right;", 26,338 , style="text-align:right;", 10,473,282 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 398 , Kigali , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Seychelles , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Seychelles , Seychelles , style="text-align:right;", 455 , style="text-align:right;", 87,476 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 192 , Victoria, Seychelles, Victoria , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Somalia , Somalia , style="text-align:right;", 637,657 , style="text-align:right;", 9,832,017 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 15 , Mogadishu , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Somaliland , Somaliland , style="text-align:right;", 176,120 , style="text-align:right;", 3,508,180 , style="text-align:right;", 2012 , style="text-align:right;", 25 , Hargeisa , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, South Sudan , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, South Sudan , South Sudan , style="text-align:right;", 619,745 , style="text-align:right;", 8,260,490 , style="text-align:right;", 2008 , style="text-align:right;", 13 , Juba , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Sudan , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Sudan , Sudan , style="text-align:right;", 1,861,484 , style="text-align:right;", 30,894,000 , style="text-align:right;", 2008 , style="text-align:right;", 17 , Khartoum , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Tanzania , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Tanzania , Tanzania , style="text-align:right;", 945,087 , style="text-align:right;", 44,929,002 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 43 , Dodoma , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Uganda , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Uganda , Uganda , style="text-align:right;", 236,040 , style="text-align:right;", 32,369,558 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 137 , Kampala , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Zambia , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Zambia , Zambia , style="text-align:right;", 752,614 , style="text-align:right;", 11,862,740 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 16 , Lusaka , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Zimbabwe , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Zimbabwe , Zimbabwe , style="text-align:right;", 390,580 , style="text-align:right;", 11,392,629 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 29 , Harare , - , colspan="8" style="background:#eee; text-align:center;", Central Africa , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Angola , Angola , style="text-align:right;", 1,246,700 , style="text-align:right;", 12,799,293 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 10 , Luanda , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Cameroon , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Cameroon , Cameroon , style="text-align:right;", 475,440 , style="text-align:right;", 18,879,301 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 40 , Yaoundé , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Central African Republic , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Central African Republic , Central African Republic , style="text-align:right;", 622,984 , style="text-align:right;", 4,511,488 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 7 , Bangui , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Chad , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Chad , Chad , style="text-align:right;", 1,284,000 , style="text-align:right;", 10,329,208 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 8 , N'Djamena , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Republic of the Congo , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Republic of the Congo , Republic of the Congo , style="text-align:right;", 342,000 , style="text-align:right;", 4,012,809 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 12 , Brazzaville , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Democratic Republic of the Congo , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Democratic Republic of the Congo , Democratic Republic of the Congo , style="text-align:right;", 2,345,410 , style="text-align:right;", 69,575,000 , style="text-align:right;", 2012 , style="text-align:right;", 30 , Kinshasa , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Equatorial Guinea , Equatorial Guinea , style="text-align:right;", 28,051 , style="text-align:right;", 633,441 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 23 , Malabo , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Gabon , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Gabon , Gabon , style="text-align:right;", 267,667 , style="text-align:right;", 1,514,993 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 6 , Libreville , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, São Tomé and Príncipe , São Tomé and Príncipe , style="text-align:right;", 1,001 , style="text-align:right;", 212,679 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 212 , São Tomé , - style="background:#eee;" , colspan="8" style="text-align:center;",
Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pr ...
, - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Botswana , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Botswana , Botswana , style="text-align:right;", 600,370 , style="text-align:right;", 1,990,876 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 3 , Gaborone , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Eswatini , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Eswatini , Eswatini , style="text-align:right;", 17,363 , style="text-align:right;", 1,123,913 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 65 , Mbabane , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Lesotho , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Lesotho , Lesotho , style="text-align:right;", 30,355 , style="text-align:right;", 2,130,819 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 70 , Maseru , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Namibia , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Namibia , Namibia , style="text-align:right;", 825,418 , style="text-align:right;", 2,108,665 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 3 , Windhoek , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, South Africa , South Africa , style="text-align:right;", 1,219,912 , style="text-align:right;", 51,770,560 , style="text-align:right;", 2011 , style="text-align:right;", 42 , Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Pretoria , - style="background:#eee;" , colspan="8" style="text-align:center;", West Africa , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Benin , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Benin , Benin , style="text-align:right;", 112,620 , style="text-align:right;", 8,791,832 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 78 , Porto-Novo , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Burkina Faso , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Burkina Faso , Burkina Faso , style="text-align:right;", 274,200 , style="text-align:right;", 15,746,232 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 57 , Ouagadougou , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Cape Verde , Cape Verde , style="text-align:right;", 4,033 , style="text-align:right;", 429,474 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 107 , Praia , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, The Gambia , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, The Gambia , The Gambia , style="text-align:right;", 11,300 , style="text-align:right;", 1,782,893 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 158 , Banjul , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Ghana , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Ghana , Ghana , style="text-align:right;", 239,460 , style="text-align:right;", 23,832,495 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 100 , Accra , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Guinea , Guinea , style="text-align:right;", 245,857 , style="text-align:right;", 10,057,975 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 41 , Conakry , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Guinea-Bissau , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Guinea-Bissau , Guinea-Bissau , style="text-align:right;", 36,120 , style="text-align:right;", 1,533,964 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 43 , Bissau , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Ivory Coast , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Ivory Coast , Ivory Coast , style="text-align:right;", 322,460 , style="text-align:right;", 20,617,068 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 64 , Abidjan,Yamoussoukro is the official capital of Côte d'Ivoire, while Abidjan is the ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' seat.
Yamoussoukro , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Liberia , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Liberia , Liberia , style="text-align:right;", 111,370 , style="text-align:right;", 3,441,790 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 31 , Monrovia , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Mali , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Mali , Mali , style="text-align:right;", 1,240,000 , style="text-align:right;", 12,666,987 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 10 , Bamako , - , style="text-align:center" , , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Mauritania , Mauritania , style="text-align:right;", 1,030,700 , style="text-align:right;", 3,129,486 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 3 , Nouakchott , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Niger , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Niger , Niger , style="text-align:right;", 1,267,000 , style="text-align:right;", 15,306,252 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 12 , Niamey , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Nigeria , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Nigeria ,
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and as we ...

Nigeria
, style="text-align:right;", 923,768 , style="text-align:right;", 166,629,000 , style="text-align:right;", 2012 , style="text-align:right;", 180 , Abuja , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, United Kingdom , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha , Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (United Kingdom) , style="text-align:right;", 420 , style="text-align:right;", 7,728 , style="text-align:right;", 2012 , style="text-align:right;", 13 , Jamestown, Saint Helena, Jamestown , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Senegal , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Senegal , Senegal , style="text-align:right;", 196,190 , style="text-align:right;", 13,711,597 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 70 , Dakar , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Sierra Leone , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Sierra Leone , Sierra Leone , style="text-align:right;", 71,740 , style="text-align:right;", 6,440,053 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 90 , Freetown , - , style="text-align:center" , {{Coat of arms, text=none, Togo , style="text-align:center" , {{flagicon, Togo , Togo , style="text-align:right;", 56,785 , style="text-align:right;", 6,019,877 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 106 , Lomé , - style="font-weight:bold; background:#eee;" , colspan="3" , Africa Total , style="text-align:right;", 30,368,609 , style="text-align:right;", 1,001,320,281 , style="text-align:right;", 2009 , style="text-align:right;", 33 , style="background:#eee;",


See also

{{Portal, Africa * Index of Africa-related articles * African historiography * Outline of Africa


References

{{reflist, colwidth=30em


Further reading

{{see also, Africa Bibliography {{refbegin * {{cite book, last=Asante, first=Molefi, author-link=Molefi Asante, title=The History of Africa, publisher=Routledge, location=US, date=2007, isbn=978-0-415-77139-9 * {{cite book, last=Clark, first=J. Desmond, author-link=J. Desmond Clark, title=The Prehistory of Africa, publisher=Thames and Hudson, location=London, date=1970, isbn=978-0-500-02069-2 * {{cite book, last=Crowder, first=Michael, title=The Story of Nigeria, publisher=Faber, location=London, date=1978, isbn=978-0-571-04947-9 * {{cite book, last=Davidson, first=Basil, author-link=Basil Davidson, title=The African Past: Chronicles from Antiquity to Modern Times, publisher=Penguin, location=Harmondsworth, date=1966, oclc=2016817 * {{cite book, last=Gordon, first=April A., author2=Donald L. Gordon, title=Understanding Contemporary Africa, publisher=Lynne Rienner Publishers, location=Boulder, date=1996, isbn=978-1-55587-547-3 * {{cite book, last=Khapoya, first=Vincent B., title=The African experience: an introduction, publisher=Prentice Hall, location=Upper Saddle River, NJ, date=1998, isbn=978-0-13-745852-3, url=https://archive.org/details/africanexperienc00khap * Moore, Clark D., and Ann Dunbar (1968). ''Africa Yesterday and Today'', in series, ''The George School Readings on Developing Lands''. New York: Praeger Publishers. * V. S. Naipaul, Naipaul, V.S.. ''The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief''. Picador, 2010. {{ISBN, 978-0-330-47205-0 * {{cite journal, last1=Wade, first1=Lizzie, title=Drones and satellites spot lost civilizations in unlikely places, journal=Science, doi=10.1126/science.aaa7864, year=2015, doi-access=free {{refend


External links

{{Sister project links, n=Africa, voy=Africa ;General information * {{curlie, Regional/Africa
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from the United States Library of Congress
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from Stanford University
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from ''The Norwegian Council for Africa''
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Digital library of scholarly resources from and about Africa
Africa Interactive Map
from the United States Army Africa ;History
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The Story of Africa
from BBC World Service
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current news, events and statistics
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