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AFRICA is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent (the first being Asia
Asia
). At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth\'s total surface area and 20.4% of its total land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population . The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
to the west. The continent includes Madagascar
Madagascar
and various archipelagos . It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries ), nine territories and two _de facto _ independent states with limited or no recognition .

Africa's average population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Algeria
Algeria
is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria
Nigeria
is its largest by population. Africa, particularly central Eastern Africa , is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes ), as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors, as well as later ones that have been dated to around seven million years ago, including _ Sahelanthropus tchadensis _, _ Australopithecus africanus
Australopithecus africanus
_, _A. afarensis _, _ Homo erectus _, _H. habilis _ and _H. ergaster _—with the earliest _ Homo sapiens
Homo sapiens
_ (modern human) found in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
being dated to circa 200,000 years ago. Africa
Africa
straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones.

Africa
Africa
hosts a large diversity of ethnicities , cultures and languages . In the late 19th century European countries colonised almost all of Africa
Africa
. Africa
Africa
also varies greatly with regard to environments, economics, historical ties and government systems. However, most present states in Africa
Africa
originate from a process of decolonisation in the 20th century. African nations have attempted to cooperate through the establishment of the African Union
African Union
, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa
.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 History

* 2.1 Prehistory * 2.2 Early civilizations * 2.3 Ninth to eighteenth centuries * 2.4 Height of slave trade * 2.5 Colonialism and the "Scramble for Africa" * 2.6 Berlin Conference * 2.7 Independence struggles * 2.8 Post-colonial Africa
Africa

* 3 Geography

* 3.1 Climate * 3.2 Fauna * 3.3 Ecology and biodiversity

* 4 Politics

* 4.1 The African Union
African Union

* 5 Economy * 6 Demographics * 7 Languages

* 8 Culture

* 8.1 Visual art and architecture * 8.2 Music and dance * 8.3 Sports

* 9 Religion * 10 Territories and regions * 11 See also * 12 References * 13 Further reading * 14 External links

ETYMOLOGY

Statue representing Africa
Africa
at Palazzo Ferreria , in Valletta
Valletta
, Malta
Malta

_ Afri _ was a Latin
Latin
name used to refer to the inhabitants of Africa, which in its widest sense referred to all lands south of the Mediterranean ( Ancient Libya ). This name seems to have originally referred to a native Libyan tribe; see Terence for discussion. The name is usually connected with Hebrew or Phoenician _ʿafar_ 'dust', but a 1981 hypothesis has asserted that it stems from the Berber _ifri_ (plural _ifran_) "cave", in reference to cave dwellers. The same word may be found in the name of the Banu Ifran from Algeria
Algeria
and Tripolitania , a Berber tribe originally from Yafran (also known as _Ifrane_) in northwestern Libya.

Under Roman rule, Carthage
Carthage
became the capital of the province of Africa Proconsularis , which also included the coastal part of modern Libya
Libya
. The Latin
Latin
suffix _-ica_ can sometimes be used to denote a land (e.g., in _Celtica _ from _Celtae _, as used by Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
). The later Muslim
Muslim
kingdom of Ifriqiya , located in modern-day Tunisia, also preserved a form of the name.

According to the Romans, Africa
Africa
lay to the west of Egypt, while "Asia" was used to refer to Anatolia
Anatolia
and lands to the east. A definite line was drawn between the two continents by the geographer Ptolemy (85–165 AD), indicating Alexandria
Alexandria
along the Prime Meridian
Prime Meridian
and making the isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea
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 (_Ant. 1.15_) asserted that it was named for Epher , grandson of Abraham
Abraham
according to Gen. 25:4, whose descendants, he claimed, had invaded Libya. * Isidore of Seville in _ Etymologiae _ XIV.5.2. suggests "Africa comes from the Latin
Latin
_aprica_, meaning "sunny". * Massey, in 1881, stated that Africa
Africa
is derived from the Egyptian _af-rui-ka_, meaning "to turn toward the opening of the Ka." The Ka is the energetic double of every person and the "opening of the Ka" refers to a womb or birthplace. Africa
Africa
would be, for the Egyptians, "the birthplace." * Michèle Fruyt proposed linking the Latin
Latin
word with _africus_ "south wind", which would be of Umbrian origin and mean originally "rainy wind". * Robert R. Stieglitz of Rutgers University proposed: "The name Africa, derived from the Latin
Latin
*Aphir-ic-a, is cognate to Hebrew Ophir ."

HISTORY

Main article: History of Africa Further information: History of North Africa
North Africa
, History of West Africa , History of Central Africa , History of East Africa , and History of Southern Africa

PREHISTORY

Main article: Recent African origin of modern humans _ Lucy , an Australopithecus afarensis _ skeleton discovered 24 November 1974 in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
's Afar Depression

Africa
Africa
is considered by most paleoanthropologists to be the oldest inhabited territory on Earth
Earth
, with the human species originating from the continent. During the mid-20th century, anthropologists discovered many fossils and evidence of human occupation perhaps as early as 7 million years ago (BP=before present). Fossil
Fossil
remains of several species of early apelike humans thought to have evolved into modern man, such as _ Australopithecus afarensis _ (radiometrically dated to approximately 3.9–3.0 million years BP, _Paranthropus boisei _ (c. 2.3–1.4 million years BP) and _ Homo ergaster _ (c. 1.9 million–600,000 years BP) have been discovered.

After the evolution of _ Homo sapiens
Homo sapiens
sapiens _ approximately 150,000 to 100,000 years BP in Africa, the continent was mainly populated by groups of hunter-gatherers . These first modern humans left Africa and populated the rest of the globe during the Out of Africa
Africa
II migration dated to approximately 50,000 years BP, exiting the continent either across Bab-el-Mandeb over the Red Sea
Red Sea
, the Strait of Gibraltar in Morocco, or the Isthmus of Suez 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
, Southeast Africa , North Africa
North Africa
, and the Sahara .

The size of the Sahara
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 ages , estimated to have been around 10,500 BC, the Sahara
Sahara
had again become a green fertile valley, and its African populations returned from the interior and coastal highlands in Sub-Saharan Africa , with rock art paintings depicting a fertile Sahara
Sahara
and large populations discovered in Tassili n\'Ajjer dating back perhaps 10 millennia. However, the warming and drying climate meant that by 5000 BC, the Sahara
Sahara
region was becoming increasingly dry and hostile. Around 3500 BC, due to a tilt in the earth's orbit, the Sahara
Sahara
experienced a period of rapid desertification. The population trekked out of the Sahara
Sahara
region towards the Nile Valley below the Second Cataract where they made permanent or semi-permanent settlements. A major climatic recession occurred, lessening the heavy and persistent rains in Central and Eastern Africa . Since this time, dry conditions have prevailed in Eastern Africa and, increasingly during the last 200 years, in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
.

The domestication of cattle in Africa
Africa
preceded 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 and a small screw-horned goat which was common from Algeria
Algeria
to Nubia
Nubia
.

Around 4000 BC, the Saharan climate started to become drier at an exceedingly fast pace. 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
West Africa
.

By the first millennium BC, ironworking had been introduced in Northern Africa and quickly spread across the Sahara
Sahara
into the northern parts of sub-Saharan Africa, 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
Copper
objects from Egypt
Egypt
, North Africa, Nubia, and Ethiopia
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

Main article: Ancient African history Colossal statues of Ramesses II
Ramesses II
at Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel
, Egypt, date from around 1400 BC. The origins and spread of the Bantu languages c. 1000 BC to c. 500 AD

At about 3300 BC, the historical record opens in Northern Africa with the rise of literacy in the Pharaonic civilization of Ancient Egypt
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 Libya
Libya
and Nubia
Nubia
, and, according to Martin Bernal, as far north as Crete.

An independent centre of civilization with trading links to Phoenicia was established by Phoenicians from Tyre on the north-west African coast at Carthage
Carthage
.

European exploration of Africa began with Ancient Greeks and Romans . In 332 BC, Alexander the Great was welcomed as a liberator in Persian-occupied Egypt
Egypt
. He founded Alexandria
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
Roman Empire
, the area was integrated economically and culturally into the Roman system. Roman settlement occurred in modern Tunisia
Tunisia
and elsewhere along the coast. The first Roman emperor
Roman emperor
native to North Africa
Africa
was Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
, born in Leptis Magna
Leptis Magna
in present-day Libya—his mother was Italian Roman and his father was Punic .

Christianity spread across these areas at an early date, from Judaea via Egypt
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 . 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
Muslim
Arab
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
North Africa
had become diverse, and a hub for mystics, scholars, jurists, and philosophers. During the above-mentioned period, Islam
Islam
spread to sub-Saharan Africa, mainly through trade routes and migration.

NINTH TO EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES

African horseman of Baguirmi in full padded armour suit The intricate 9th-century bronzes from Igbo-Ukwu , in Nigeria displayed a level of technical accomplishment that was notably more advanced than European bronze casting of the same period.

Pre-colonial Africa
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-speaking 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 ; Edo , Yoruba , and Igbo people in West Africa
West Africa
; and the Swahili coastal trading towns of Southeast Africa .

By the ninth century AD, a string of dynastic states, including the earliest Hausa states, stretched across the sub-Saharan savannah from the western regions to central Sudan. The most powerful of these states were Ghana
Ghana
, Gao
Gao
, and the Kanem-Bornu Empire . Ghana
Ghana
declined in the eleventh century, but was succeeded by the Mali Empire which consolidated much of western Sudan
Sudan
in the thirteenth century. Kanem accepted Islam
Islam
in the eleventh century.

In the forested regions of the West African coast, independent kingdoms grew with little influence from the Muslim
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 and was ruled by the Eze Nri . The Nri kingdom is famous for its elaborate bronzes , found at the town of Igbo-Ukwu . The bronzes have been dated from as far back as the ninth century. Ashanti yam ceremony, nineteenth century by Thomas E. Bowdich

The Kingdom of Ife , historically the first of these Yoruba city-states or kingdoms, established government under a priestly 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 _Kingdom of Dahomey
Dahomey
_ was one of the non-Yoruba domains under Oyo control.

The Almoravids were a Berber dynasty from the Sahara
Sahara
that spread over a wide area of northwestern Africa
Africa
and the Iberian peninsula during the eleventh century. The Banu Hilal and Banu Ma\'qil were a collection of Arab
Arab
Bedouin tribes from the Arabian Peninsula who migrated westwards via Egypt
Egypt
between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. Their migration resulted in the fusion of the Arabs and Berbers, where the locals were Arabized , and Arab
Arab
culture absorbed elements of the local culture, under the unifying framework of Islam. Ruins of Great Zimbabwe (eleventh to fifteenth centuries)

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
Sudan
and took control of the trans-Saharan trade. Sonni Ali seized Timbuktu
Timbuktu
in 1468 and Jenne in 1473, building his regime on trade revenues and the cooperation of Muslim
Muslim
merchants. His successor Askia Mohammad I (1493–1528) made Islam
Islam
the official religion, built mosques, and brought to Gao
Gao
Muslim
Muslim
scholars, including al-Maghili (d.1504), the founder of an important tradition of Sudanic African Muslim
Muslim
scholarship. By the eleventh century, some Hausa states – such as Kano
Kano
, jigawa , Katsina , and Gobir – had developed into walled towns engaging in trade, servicing 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. 1803 Cedid Atlas , showing the Africa
Africa
from the perspective of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
. The Ottomans controlled much of Northern Africa between the 14th and 19th centuries, and had vassal arrangements with a number of Saharan states.

HEIGHT OF SLAVE TRADE

See also: Arab
Arab
slave trade and Atlantic slave trade Arab–Swahili slave traders and their captives along the Ruvuma River (in today's Tanzania
Tanzania
and Mozambique) as witnessed by David Livingstone

Slavery
Slavery
had long been practised in Africa. Between the 7th and 20th centuries, Arab
Arab
slave trade (also known as slavery in the East) took 18 million slaves from Africa
Africa
via trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean routes. Between the 15th and the 19th centuries (500 years), the Atlantic slave trade took an estimated 7–12 million slaves to the New World. More than 1 million Europeans were captured by Barbary pirates and sold as slaves in North Africa
North Africa
between the 16th and 19th centuries.

In West Africa
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 anti-slavery legislation in Europe
Europe
and America, and the 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
West Africa
Squadron seized approximately 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans who were aboard. _ Slave being inspected, from Captain Canot; or, Twenty Years of an African Slaver_

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
Lagos
", deposed in 1851. Anti-slavery treaties were signed with over 50 African rulers. The largest powers of West Africa (the Asante Confederacy , the Kingdom of Dahomey
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 , timber and gold , forming the bedrock of West Africa's modern export trade. The Oyo Empire, unable to adapt, collapsed into civil wars.

COLONIALISM AND THE "SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA"

Main article: Colonization of Africa Further information: Scramble for Africa
Africa
The Mahdist War was a colonial war fought between the Mahdist Sudanese and the British forces. Areas of Africa
Africa
under the sovereignty or influence of the colonial powers in 1913, along with modern borders. Belgium Germany
Germany
Spain
Spain
France
France
United Kingdom Italy
Italy
Portugal
Portugal
independent

In the late 19th century, the European imperial powers engaged in a major territorial scramble and occupied most of the continent, creating many colonial territories, and leaving only two fully independent states: Ethiopia
Ethiopia
(known to Europeans as "Abyssinia"), and Liberia
Liberia
. Egypt
Egypt
and Sudan
Sudan
were never formally incorporated into any European colonial empire; however, after the British occupation of 1882, Egypt
Egypt
was effectively under British administration until 1922 .

BERLIN CONFERENCE

The Berlin Conference held in 1884–85 was an important event in the political future of African ethnic groups. It was convened by King Leopold II of Belgium , and attended by the European powers that laid claim to African territories. It sought to end the European powers' Scramble for Africa, by agreeing on political division and spheres of influence. They set up the political divisions of the continent, by spheres of interest, that exist in Africa
Africa
today.

INDEPENDENCE STRUGGLES

Imperial rule by Europeans would continue until after the conclusion of World War II
World War II
, when almost all remaining colonial territories gradually obtained formal independence. Independence movements in Africa
Africa
gained momentum following World War II, which left the major European powers weakened. In 1951, Libya
Libya
, a former Italian colony, gained independence. In 1956, Tunisia
Tunisia
and Morocco
Morocco
won their independence from France. Ghana
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 (most notably in Angola
Angola
, Cape Verde, Mozambique
Mozambique
, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe) lasted from the 16th century to 1975, after the Estado Novo regime was overthrown in a military coup in Lisbon . Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
in 1965, under the white minority government of Ian Smith , but was not internationally recognized as an independent state (as Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
) until 1980, when black nationalists gained power after a bitter guerrilla war . Although South Africa
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 apartheid until 1994.

POST-COLONIAL AFRICA

Mobutu Sese Seko , Zaire 's longtime dictator, embezzled over $5 billion from his country.

Today, Africa
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 democratic governments on a permanent basis, and many have instead cycled through a series of coups , producing military dictatorships .

Great instability was mainly the result of marginalization of ethnic groups , and graft under these leaders . For 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
Africa
during the 1970s and early 1980s. During the period from the early 1960s to the late 1980s, Africa
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. South African paratroops on a raid in Angola
Angola
during the South African Border War

Cold War conflicts between the United States and the Soviet Union
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
Southern Africa
were supported by the United States, France
France
or both. The 1970s saw an escalation of Cold War intrigues, as newly independent Angola
Angola
and Mozambique
Mozambique
aligned themselves with the Soviet Union, and the West and South Africa
South Africa
sought to contain Soviet influence by supporting friendly regimes or insurgency movements. In Rhodesia , Soviet and Chinese-backed leftist guerrillas of the Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Patriotic Front waged a brutal guerrilla war against the country's white government. There was a major famine in Ethiopia
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
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 conflict in Darfur
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. AIDS in post-colonial Africa
Africa
has also been a prevalent issue.

In the 21st century, however, the number of armed conflicts in Africa has steadily declined. For instance, the civil war in Angola
Angola
came to an end in 2002 after nearly 30 years. This has 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
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 as of 2016. 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.

GEOGRAPHY

Main article: Geography of Africa Satellite photo of Africa. The Sahara
Sahara
Desert
Desert
in the north can be clearly seen. A composite satellite image of Africa
Africa
(centre) with North America
North America
(left) and Eurasia
Eurasia
(right), to scale

Africa
Africa
is the largest of the three great southward projections from the largest landmass of the Earth. Separated from Europe
Europe
by the Mediterranean Sea , it is joined to Asia
Asia
at its northeast extremity by the Isthmus of Suez (transected by the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
), 163 km (101 mi) wide. (Geopolitically , Egypt
Egypt
's Sinai Peninsula east of the Suez Canal is often considered part of Africa, as well.)

From the most northerly point, Ras ben Sakka in Tunisia
Tunisia
(37°21' N), to the most southerly point, Cape Agulhas in South Africa
South Africa
(34°51'15" S), is a distance of approximately 8,000 km (5,000 mi); from Cape Verde , 17°33'22" W, the westernmost point, to Ras Hafun in Somalia
Somalia
, 51°27'52" E, the most easterly projection, is a distance of approximately 7,400 km (4,600 mi). The coastline is 26,000 km (16,000 mi) long, and the absence of deep indentations of the shore is illustrated by the fact that Europe, which covers only 10,400,000 km2 (4,000,000 sq mi) – about a third of the surface of Africa
Africa
– has a coastline of 32,000 km (20,000 mi).

Africa's largest country is Algeria
Algeria
, and its smallest country is Seychelles
Seychelles
, an archipelago off the east coast. The smallest nation on the continental mainland is The Gambia .

Geologically, Africa
Africa
includes the Arabian Peninsula ; the Zagros Mountains of Iran and the Anatolian Plateau
Anatolian Plateau
of Turkey mark where the African Plate collided with Eurasia. The Afrotropic ecozone and the Saharo-Arabian desert to its north unite the region biogeographically, and the Afro-Asiatic language family unites the north linguistically.

CLIMATE

Main article: Climate of Africa Africa
Africa
map of Köppen climate classification

The climate of Africa
Africa
ranges from tropical to subarctic on its highest peaks. Its northern half is primarily desert , or arid , while its central and southern areas contain both savanna plains and dense jungle (rainforest ) regions. In between, there is a convergence, where vegetation patterns such as sahel and steppe dominate. Africa
Africa
is the hottest continent on earth and 60% of the entire land surface consists of drylands and deserts. The record for the highest-ever recorded temperature, in Libya
Libya
in 1922 (58 °C (136 °F)), was discredited in 2013.

FAUNA

Main article: Fauna of Africa Savanna at Ngorongoro Conservation Area , Tanzania
Tanzania

Africa
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 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 life such as crocodiles and amphibians . In addition, Africa has the largest number of megafauna species, as it was least affected by the extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna .

ECOLOGY AND BIODIVERSITY

Tropical beach in Trou-aux-Biches , Mauritius
Mauritius

Africa
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
Deforestation
is affecting Africa
Africa
at twice the world rate, according to the United Nations
United Nations
Environment Programme ( UNEP
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
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
West Africa
have been destroyed. Over 90% of Madagascar
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 . See also: Afrotropic ecozone and Palearctic ecozone

POLITICS

See also: List of political parties in Africa by country

There are clear signs of increased networking among African organizations and states. For example, in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
(former Zaire ), rather than rich, non-African countries intervening, neighbouring African countries became involved (see also Second Congo War ). Since the conflict began in 1998, the estimated death toll has reached 5 million.

THE AFRICAN UNION

Map of the African Union
African Union
with suspended states highlighted in light green Main article: African Union
African Union

The African Union
African Union
(AU) is a 55-member federation consisting of all of Africa's states. The union was formed, with Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa
, Ethiopia
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
Human
and Peoples\' Rights remained in Addis Ababa. There is a policy in effect to decentralize the African Federation's institutions so that they are shared by all the states.

The African Union, not to be confused with the AU Commission, is formed by the Constitutive Act of the African Union
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 African Union Government , consisting of legislative, judicial and executive organs. It is led by the African Union
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 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 OAU Secretariat (AU Commission) to the PAP. The government of the AU consists of all-union (federal), regional, state, and municipal authorities, as well as hundreds of institutions, that together manage the day-to-day affairs of the institution.

Political associations such as the African Union
African Union
offer hope for greater co-operation and peace between the continent's many countries. 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
Democratic Republic of the Congo
, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
, Liberia , Sudan
Sudan
, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
, and Côte d\'Ivoire . Euler diagram showing the relationships between various multinational African entities v • d • e

ECONOMY

Map of the African Economic Community . CEN-SAD COMESA EAC ECCAS ECOWAS IGAD SADC UMA Satellite image of city lights in Africa
Africa
showing the lack of modern development on the continent (1994-1995) Main article: Economy of Africa See also: Economy of the African Union
African Union
and Water in Africa

RANK COUNTRY GDP (PPP, 2014) millions of USD

1 Nigeria
Nigeria
1,052,937

2 Egypt
Egypt
946,591

3 South Africa
South Africa
707,097

4 Algeria
Algeria
551,596

5 Morocco
Morocco
259,240

6 Angola
Angola
177,264

7 Sudan
Sudan
160,189

8 Ethiopia
Ethiopia
145,100

9 Kenya
Kenya
133,015

10 Tanzania
Tanzania
128,158

RANK COUNTRY GDP (nominal, 2014) millions of USD

1 Nigeria
Nigeria
573,999

2 South Africa
South Africa
350,082

3 Egypt
Egypt
286,538

4 Algeria
Algeria
214,063

5 Angola
Angola
131,401

6 Morocco
Morocco
110,009

7 Sudan
Sudan
74,766

8 Kenya
Kenya
60,937

9 Ethiopia
Ethiopia
54,809

10 Tanzania
Tanzania
49,115

Although it has abundant natural resources , Africa
Africa
remains the world's poorest and most underdeveloped continent, the result of a variety of causes that may include 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 ). According to the United Nations
United Nations
' Human
Human
Development Report in 2003, the bottom 24 ranked nations (151st to 175th) were all African.

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). 80.5% of the Sub-Saharan Africa population was living on less than $2.50 (PPP) per day in 2005, compared with 85.7% for India
India
.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the least successful region of the world in reducing poverty ($1.25 per day); some 50% of 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
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.

From 1995 to 2005, Africa's rate of economic growth increased, averaging 5% in 2005. Some countries experienced still higher growth rates, notably Angola
Angola
, Sudan
Sudan
and Equatorial Guinea
Guinea
, all of which had recently begun extracting their petroleum reserves or had expanded their oil extraction capacity. 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
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
Guinea
is the world's largest exporter of bauxite . As the growth in Africa
Africa
has been driven mainly by services and not manufacturing or agriculture, it has been growth without jobs and without reduction in poverty levels. In fact, the food security crisis of 2008 which took place on the heels of the global financial crisis has pushed back 100 million people into food insecurity.

In recent years, the People\'s Republic
Republic
of China
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.

A Harvard University study led by professor Calestous Juma showed that Africa
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
Africa
is starting to focus on agricultural innovation as its new engine for regional trade and prosperity."

During US President Barack Obama's visit to Africa
Africa
in July 2013, he announced a US$ 7 billion plan to further develop infrastructure and work more intensively with African heads of state. He also announced a new programme named Trade Africa, designed to boost trade within the continent as well as between Africa
Africa
and the US.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Main article: Demographics of Africa Woman from Benin
Benin

Africa's population has rapidly increased over the last 40 years, and consequently, it is relatively young. In some African states, more than half the population is under 25 years of age. The total number of people in Africa
Africa
increased from 229 million in 1950 to 630 million in 1990. As of 2014, the population of Africa
Africa
is estimated at 1.2 billion. Africa's total population surpassing other continents is fairly recent; African population surpassed Europe
Europe
in the 1990s, while the Americas
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. San Bushman man from Botswana
Botswana

Speakers of Bantu languages (part of the 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
Sudan
and East Africa, the mixed Swahili people on the Swahili Coast , and a few remaining indigenous Khoisan ("San" or "Bushmen") and Pygmy peoples in southern and central Africa, respectively. Bantu-speaking Africans also predominate in Gabon
Gabon
and Equatorial Guinea, and are found in parts of southern Cameroon. In the Kalahari Desert
Desert
of Southern Africa, the distinct people known as the Bushmen (also "San", closely related to, but distinct from "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
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 , Igbo , Fulani
Fulani
, Akan and Wolof ethnic groups are the largest and most influential. In the central Sahara, Mandinka or Mande groups are most significant. Chadic-speaking groups, including the Hausa , are found in more northerly parts of the region nearest to the Sahara, and Nilo-Saharan communities, such as the Songhai , Kanuri and Zarma , are found in the eastern parts of West Africa
Africa
bordering Central Africa
Central Africa
.

The peoples of North Africa
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
Arabic language
and Islam
Islam
to North Africa. The Semitic Phoenicians (who founded Carthage
Carthage
) and Hyksos
Hyksos
, the Indo-Iranian Alans , the Indo- European Greeks , Romans , and Vandals
Vandals
settled in North Africa
North Africa
as well. Significant Berber communities remain within Morocco
Morocco
and Algeria
Algeria
in the 21st century, while, to a lesser extent, Berber speakers are also present in some regions of Tunisia
Tunisia
and Libya. The Berber-speaking 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
Arab
culture predominates. In Sudan, although Arabic and Arab
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
Egypt
and Sudan. Beja bedouins from Northeast Africa
Africa

In the Horn of Africa , some Ethiopian and Eritrean groups (like the Amhara and Tigrayans , collectively known as Habesha ) speak languages from the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family, while the Oromo and Somali speak languages from the Cushitic branch of Afro-Asiatic.

Prior to the decolonization movements of the post- World War II
World War II
era, 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
Algeria
and Morocco
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
Portugal
alone. Nevertheless, white Africans remain an important minority in many African states, particularly Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
, Namibia
Namibia
, Réunion , and the Republic
Republic
of South Africa
South Africa
. The country with the largest white African population is South Africa. Dutch and British diasporas represent the largest communities of European ancestry on the continent today.

European colonization also brought sizable groups of Asians , particularly from the Indian subcontinent , to British colonies. Large 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 Indian community in Uganda
Uganda
was expelled by the dictator Idi Amin
Idi Amin
in 1972, though many have since returned. The islands in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
are also populated primarily by people of Asian origin, often mixed with Africans and Europeans. The Malagasy people of Madagascar
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
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 Lebanese and Chinese have also developed in the larger coastal cities of West and East Africa
East Africa
, respectively.

LANGUAGES

Main article: Languages of Africa Map showing the traditional language families represented in Africa: Afroasiatic (Semitic-Hamitic) Austronesian (Malay-Polynesian) Indo-European Khoisan Niger-Congo : Bantu Central and Eastern Sudanese Central Bantoid Eastern Bantoid Guinean Mande Western Bantoid Nilo-Saharan : Kanuri Nilotic Songhai

By most estimates, well over a thousand languages ( UNESCO
UNESCO
has estimated around two thousand) are spoken in Africa. Most are of African origin, though some are of European or Asian origin. Africa
Africa
is the most 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 families indigenous to Africa:

* The _Afroasiatic_ languages are a language family of about 240 languages and 285 million people widespread throughout the Horn of Africa
Africa
, North Africa
North Africa
, the Sahel , and Southwest Asia
Asia
. * The _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
Chad
, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
, Kenya
Kenya
, Nigeria
Nigeria
, Sudan
Sudan
, South Sudan
Sudan
, Uganda
Uganda
, and northern Tanzania
Tanzania
. * The _Niger-Congo_ language family covers much of Sub-Saharan Africa. In terms of number of languages, it is the largest language family in Africa
Africa
and perhaps the largest in the world. * The _Khoisan_ languages number about fifty and are spoken in Southern Africa
Southern Africa
by approximately 400,000 people. Many of the Khoisan languages are endangered . The Khoi and 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 , Yoruba , Igbo and 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 , 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 colonies in Africa. German is spoken in Namibia
Namibia
, as it was a former German protectorate.

CULTURE

The rock-hewn Church of Saint George in Lalibela
Lalibela
, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
is a UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
. Main article: Culture of Africa

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
Africa
and modernist art." In Soweto, the West Rand Administrative Board established a Cultural Section to collect, read, and review scripts before performances could occur. Editors F. Abiola Irele and Simon Gikandi comment that the current identity of African literature had its genesis in the "traumatic encounter between Africa
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 Vodou and other forms of spirituality.

VISUAL ART AND ARCHITECTURE

African art and architecture reflect the diversity of African cultures. The region's oldest known beads were made from _ Nassarius _ shells and worn as personal ornaments 72,000 years ago. The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt
Egypt
was the world\'s tallest structure for 4,000 years, until the completion of Lincoln Cathedral around the year 1300. The stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe are also noteworthy for their architecture, as are the monolithic churches at Lalibela
Lalibela
, Ethiopia, such as the Church of Saint George . A musician from South Africa

MUSIC AND DANCE

Main article: Music of Africa The Namibia
Namibia
rugby team

Egypt
Egypt
has long been a cultural focus of the Arab
Arab
world , while remembrance of the rhythms of sub-Saharan Africa, in particular West Africa, was transmitted through the Atlantic slave trade to modern samba , blues , jazz , reggae , hip hop , and rock . The 1950s through the 1970s saw a conglomeration of these various styles with the popularization of Afrobeat and Highlife music. Modern music of the continent includes the highly complex choral singing of southern Africa
Africa
and the dance rhythms of the musical genre of soukous , dominated by the music of the Democratic Republic
Republic
of Congo . Indigenous musical and dance traditions of Africa
Africa
are maintained by oral traditions, and they are distinct from the music and dance styles of North Africa
North Africa
and Southern Africa
Southern Africa
. Arab
Arab
influences are visible in North African music and dance and, in Southern Africa, Western influences are apparent due to colonization .

SPORTS

Fifty-four African countries have football (soccer) teams in the Confederation of African Football . Egypt
Egypt
has won the African Cup seven times, and a record-making three times in a row. Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, and Algeria
Algeria
have advanced to the knockout stage of recent FIFA World Cups . South Africa
South Africa
hosted the 2010 World Cup tournament , becoming the first African country to do so.

Cricket
Cricket
is popular in some African nations. South Africa
South Africa
and Zimbabwe have Test status, while Kenya
Kenya
is the leading non-test team and previously had One-Day International cricket (ODI) status (from 10 October 1997 , until 30 January 2014 ). The three countries jointly hosted the 2003 Cricket
Cricket
World Cup . Namibia
Namibia
is the other African country to have played in a World Cup. Morocco
Morocco
in northern Africa
Africa
has also hosted the 2002 Morocco
Morocco
Cup , but the national team has never qualified for a major tournament. Rugby is a popular sport in South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

RELIGION

Main article: Religion in Africa See also: African divination

Africans profess a wide variety of religious beliefs, and statistics on religious affiliation are difficult to come by since they are often a sensitive a topic for governments with mixed religious populations. According to the World Book Encyclopedia , Islam
Islam
is the largest religion in Africa, followed by Christianity . According to Encyclopædia Britannica , 45% of the population are Christians , 40% are Muslims , and 10% follow traditional religions . A small number of Africans are Hindu
Hindu
, Buddhist
Buddhist
, Confucianist , Baha\'i , or Jewish . There is also a minority of people in Africa
Africa
who are irreligious .

The Holy Trinity Cathedral , in Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa
, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
The Great Mosque of Kairouan
Kairouan
, founded in 670, is the oldest mosque in North Africa; it is located in Kairouan
Kairouan
, Tunisia
Tunisia
Vodun altar in Abomey , Benin
Benin
National Church of Nigeria
Nigeria
, Abuja
Abuja
A map showing religious distribution in Africa
Africa

TERRITORIES AND REGIONS

Main articles: List of regions of Africa and List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Africa
Africa
Algeria
Algeria
Togo
Togo
Benin
Benin
Botswana
Botswana
Cameroon
Cameroon
Cent Afr Rep Chad
Chad
Democratic Republic
Republic
of the Congo Djibouti Egypt
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Guinea
Eritrea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Cape* Verde Libya
Libya
Mali
Mali
Ghana
Ghana
Sierra Leone Ivory Coast Burkina Faso Mauritania
Mauritania
Morocco
Morocco
São Tomé and Príncipe* Gabon
Gabon
Namibia
Namibia
Niger
Niger
Nigeria
Nigeria
Congo Somalia
Somalia
South Africa
Africa
Sudan
Sudan
South Sudan
Sudan
Tunisia
Tunisia
Western Sahara
Sahara
Senegal
Senegal
Gambia Guinea Bissau Guinea
Guinea
Kenya
Kenya
Liberia
Liberia
Madagascar
Madagascar
Malawi Mozambique
Mozambique
Burundi Rwanda
Rwanda
Uganda
Uganda
Tanzania
Tanzania
Angola
Angola
Saint Helena
Saint Helena
(UK)* Lesotho Swaziland
Swaziland
Zambia
Zambia
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Mauritius* Réunion* * Comoros Seychelles
Seychelles
Atlantic Ocean
Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
Ocean
Indian Ocean
Ocean
Strait of Gibraltar Mediterranean Sea Red Sea

The countries in this table are categorized according to the 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.

Regions of Africa: Northern Africa Western Africa Central Africa
Central Africa
Eastern Africa Southern Africa
Southern Africa

Physical map of Africa
Africa

Political map of Africa
Africa

ARMS FLAG Name of region and territory, with flag Area (km²) POPULATION YEAR Density (per km²) CAPITAL

NORTHERN AFRICA

Algeria
Algeria
2,381,740 34,178,188 2009 14 Algiers
Algiers

Canary Islands
Canary Islands
(Spain) 7,492 2,118,519 2010 226 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria , Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Ceuta
Ceuta
(Spain) 20 71,505 2001 3,575 —

Egypt
Egypt
1,001,450 82,868,000 2012 83 Cairo
Cairo

Libya
Libya
1,759,540 6,310,434 2009 4 Tripoli
Tripoli

Madeira
Madeira
(Portugal) 797 245,000 2001 307 Funchal

Melilla (Spain) 12 66,411 2001 5,534 —

Morocco
Morocco
446,550 34,859,364 2009 78 Rabat

Sudan
Sudan
1,861,484 30,894,000 2008 17 Khartoum
Khartoum

Tunisia
Tunisia
163,610 10,486,339 2009 64 Tunis
Tunis

Western Sahara
Sahara
266,000 405,210 2009 2 El Aaiún
El Aaiún

EASTERN AFRICA

Burundi 27,830 8,988,091 2009 323 Bujumbura

British Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
Territory - Chagos Archipelago
Archipelago
(United Kingdom) 56.13 3,000 2012 53.4 Diego Garcia

Comoros 2,170 752,438 2009 347 Moroni

Djibouti 23,000 828,324 2015 22 Djibouti

Eritrea
Eritrea
121,320 5,647,168 2009 47 Asmara
Asmara

Ethiopia
Ethiopia
1,127,127 84,320,987 2012 75 Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa

Kenya
Kenya
582,650 39,002,772 2009 66 Nairobi
Nairobi

Madagascar
Madagascar
587,040 20,653,556 2009 35 Antananarivo
Antananarivo

Malawi 118,480 14,268,711 2009 120 Lilongwe

Mauritius
Mauritius
2,040 1,284,264 2009 630 Port Louis
Port Louis

Mayotte (France) 374 223,765 2009 490 Mamoudzou

Mozambique
Mozambique
801,590 21,669,278 2009 27 Maputo

Réunion (France) 2,512 743,981 2002 296 Saint-Denis

Rwanda
Rwanda
26,338 10,473,282 2009 398 Kigali

Seychelles
Seychelles
455 87,476 2009 192 Victoria

Somalia
Somalia
637,657 9,832,017 2009 15 Mogadishu
Mogadishu

South Sudan
Sudan
619,745 8,260,490 2008 13 Juba
Juba

Tanzania
Tanzania
945,087 44,929,002 2009 43 Dodoma

Uganda
Uganda
236,040 32,369,558 2009 137 Kampala

Zambia
Zambia
752,614 11,862,740 2009 16 Lusaka

Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
390,580 11,392,629 2009 29 Harare

CENTRAL AFRICA

Angola
Angola
1,246,700 12,799,293 2009 10 Luanda
Luanda

Cameroon
Cameroon
475,440 18,879,301 2009 40 Yaoundé

Central African Republic
Republic
622,984 4,511,488 2009 7 Bangui

Chad
Chad
1,284,000 10,329,208 2009 8 N\'Djamena

Republic
Republic
of the Congo 342,000 4,012,809 2009 12 Brazzaville

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
2,345,410 69,575,000 2012 30 Kinshasa
Kinshasa

Equatorial Guinea
Guinea
28,051 633,441 2009 23 Malabo

Gabon
Gabon
267,667 1,514,993 2009 6 Libreville
Libreville

São Tomé and Príncipe 1,001 212,679 2009 212 São Tomé

SOUTHERN AFRICA

Botswana
Botswana
600,370 1,990,876 2009 3 Gaborone

Lesotho 30,355 2,130,819 2009 70 Maseru

Namibia
Namibia
825,418 2,108,665 2009 3 Windhoek
Windhoek

South Africa
South Africa
1,219,912 51,770,560 2011 42 Bloemfontein , Cape Town
Cape Town
, Pretoria
Pretoria

Swaziland
Swaziland
17,363 1,123,913 2009 65 Mbabane
Mbabane

WESTERN AFRICA

Benin
Benin
112,620 8,791,832 2009 78 Porto-Novo
Porto-Novo

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
274,200 15,746,232 2009 57 Ouagadougou

Cape Verde 4,033 429,474 2009 107 Praia
Praia

The Gambia 11,300 1,782,893 2009 158 Banjul

Ghana
Ghana
239,460 23,832,495 2009 100 Accra

Guinea
Guinea
245,857 10,057,975 2009 41 Conakry

Guinea-Bissau 36,120 1,533,964 2009 43 Bissau

Ivory Coast 322,460 20,617,068 2009 64 Abidjan
Abidjan
, Yamoussoukro

Liberia
Liberia
111,370 3,441,790 2009 31 Monrovia

Mali
Mali
1,240,000 12,666,987 2009 10 Bamako

Mauritania
Mauritania
1,030,700 3,129,486 2009 3 Nouakchott
Nouakchott

Niger
Niger
1,267,000 15,306,252 2009 12 Niamey

Nigeria
Nigeria
923,768 166,629,000 2012 180 Abuja
Abuja

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (United Kingdom) 420 7,728 2012 13 Jamestown

Senegal
Senegal
196,190 13,711,597 2009 70 Dakar
Dakar

Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
71,740 6,440,053 2009 90 Freetown

Togo
Togo
56,785 6,019,877 2009 106 Lomé

Africa
Africa
Total 30,368,609 1,001,320,281 2009 33

SEE ALSO

* Africa
Africa
portal * Geography portal

* Book: Africa
Africa

* African Union
African Union
* Afro-Eurasia * Index of Africa-related articles * List of African millionaires * List of highest mountain peaks of Africa * Lists of cities in Africa * Outline of Africa * Urbanization in Africa

REFERENCES

* ^ _A_ _B_ Kaneda, Toshiko; Bietsch, Kristin (2016). "2013 World Population Data Sheet" (PDF). _www.prb.org_. Population Reference Bureau . Retrieved 3 February 2017. * ^ _A_ _B_ Sayre, April Pulley (1999), _Africa_, Twenty-First Century Books. ISBN 0-7613-1367-2 . * ^ See List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Africa
Africa
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* ^ Continental regions as per UN categorizations/map . * ^ USCensusBureau:Countries and Areas Ranked by Population: 2009

* ^ The Spanish Canary Islands
Canary Islands
, of which Las Palmas de Gran Canaria are Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
are co-capitals, are often considered part of Northern Africa due to their relative proximity to Morocco
Morocco
and Western Sahara
Sahara
; population and area figures are for 2001.

* ^ The Spanish exclave of Ceuta
Ceuta
is surrounded on land by Morocco
Morocco
in Northern Africa; population and area figures are for 2001.

* ^ Egypt
Egypt
is generally considered a transcontinental country in Northern Africa (UN region) and Western Asia; population and area figures are for African portion only, west of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
.

* ^ The Portuguese Madeira
Madeira
Islands are often considered part of Northern Africa due to their relative proximity to Morocco; population and area figures are for 2001.

* ^ The Spanish exclave of Melilla is surrounded on land by Morocco in Northern Africa; population and area figures are for 2001. * ^ The territory of Western Sahara
Sahara
is claimed by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
Republic
and Morocco
Morocco
. The SADR
SADR
is recognized as a sovereign state by the African Union
African Union
. Morocco
Morocco
claims the entirety of the country as its Southern Provinces . Morocco
Morocco
administers 4/5 of the territory while the SADR
SADR
controls 1/5. Morocco's annexation of this territory has not been recognized internationally.

* ^ Bloemfontein is the judicial capital of South Africa, while Cape Town is its legislative seat, and Pretoria
Pretoria
is the country's administrative seat. * ^ Yamoussoukro is the official capital of Côte d\'Ivoire , while Abidjan
Abidjan
is the _de facto _ seat.

FURTHER READING

* Asante, Molefi (2007). _The History of Africa_. USA: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-77139-0 . * Clark, J. Desmond (1970). _The Prehistory of Africa_. London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-02069-2 . * Crowder, Michael (1978). _The Story of Nigeria_. London: Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-04947-9 . * Davidson, Basil (1966). _The African Past: Chronicles from Antiquity to Modern Times_. Harmondsworth: Penguin. OCLC 2016817 . * Gordon, April A.; Donald L. Gordon (1996). _Understanding Contemporary Africa_. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 978-1-55587-547-3 . * Khapoya, Vincent B. (1998). _The African experience: an introduction_. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-745852-3 . * Moore, Clark D., and Ann Dunbar (1968). _