Africa | History, People, Countries, Map, & Facts

Africa | History, People, Countries, Map, & Facts

Africa, the second largest continent (after Asia), overlaying about one-fifth of the whole land floor of Earth. The continent is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by the Purple Sea and the Indian Ocean, and on the south by the mingling waters of the Atlantic and Indian oceans.

Afar. Ethiopia. Cattle move towards Lake Abhebad in Afar, Ethiopia.

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Vacation spot Africa: Truth or Fiction?

Is the northernmost level of Africa farther north than the southernmost level of Europe? See in case your geographic information factors north or south on this journey by way of Africa.

Africa’s complete land space is roughly 11,724,000 sq. miles (30,365,000 sq. km), and the continent measures about 5,000 miles (8,000 km) from north to south and about 4,600 miles (7,400 km) from east to west. Its northern extremity is Al-Ghīrān Level, close to Al-Abyaḍ Level (Cape Blanc), Tunisia; its southern extremity is Cape Agulhas, South Africa; its farthest level east is Xaafuun (Hafun) Level, close to Cape Gwardafuy (Guardafui), Somalia; and its western extremity is Almadi Level (Pointe des Almadies), on Cape Verde (Cap Vert), Senegal. Within the northeast, Africa was joined to Asia by the Sinai Peninsula till the development of the Suez Canal. Paradoxically, the shoreline of Africa—18,950 miles (30,500 km) in size—is shorter than that of Europe, as a result of there are few inlets and few massive bays or gulfs.

Off the coasts of Africa a variety of islands are related to the continent. Of those Madagascar, one of many largest islands on this planet, is essentially the most important. Different, smaller islands embrace the Seychelles, Socotra, and different islands to the east; the Comoros, Mauritius, Réunion, and different islands to the southeast; Ascension, St. Helena, and Tristan da Cunha to the southwest; Cape Verde, the Bijagós Islands, Bioko, and São Tomé and Príncipe to the west; and the Azores and the Madeira and Canary islands to the northwest.

The continent is reduce virtually equally in two by the Equator, so that almost all of Africa lies inside the tropical area, bounded on the north by the Tropic of Most cancers and on the south by the Tropic of Capricorn. Due to the bulge shaped by western Africa, the larger a part of Africa’s territory lies north of the Equator. Africa is crossed from north to south by the prime meridian (0° longitude), which passes a brief distance to the east of Accra, Ghana.

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In antiquity the Greeks are stated to have known as the continent Libya and the Romans to have known as it Africa, maybe from the Latin aprica (“sunny”) or the Greek aphrike (“with out chilly”). The identify Africa, nevertheless, was mainly utilized to the northern coast of the continent, which was, in impact, considered a southern extension of Europe. The Romans, who for a time dominated the North African coast, are additionally stated to have known as the realm south of their settlements Afriga, or the Land of the Afrigs—the identify of a Berber group south of Carthage.

The entire of Africa might be thought of as an enormous plateau rising steeply from slim coastal strips and consisting of historical crystalline rocks. The plateau’s floor is larger within the southeast and tilts downward towards the northeast. Basically the plateau could also be divided right into a southeastern portion and a northwestern portion. The northwestern half, which incorporates the Sahara (desert) and that a part of North Africa generally known as the Maghrib, has two mountainous areas—the Atlas Mountains in northwestern Africa, that are believed to be a part of a system that extends into southern Europe, and the Ahaggar (Hoggar) Mountains within the Sahara. The southeastern a part of the plateau consists of the Ethiopian Plateau, the East African Plateau, and—in japanese South Africa, the place the plateau edge falls downward in a scarp—the Drakensberg vary. Some of the outstanding options within the geologic construction of Africa is the East African Rift System, which lies between 30° and 40° E. The rift itself begins northeast of the continent’s limits and extends southward from the Ethiopian Purple Coastline to the Zambezi River basin.

Africa comprises an unlimited wealth of mineral assets, together with a few of the world’s largest reserves of fossil fuels, metallic ores, and gems and treasured metals. This richness is matched by an awesome range of organic assets that features the intensely lush equatorial rainforests of Central Africa and the world-famous populations of wildlife of the japanese and southern parts of the continent. Though agriculture (primarily subsistence) nonetheless dominates the economies of many African international locations, the exploitation of those assets grew to become essentially the most important financial exercise in Africa within the 20th century.

Climatic and different components have exerted appreciable affect on the patterns of human settlement in Africa. Whereas some areas seem to have been inhabited roughly constantly for the reason that daybreak of humanity, monumental areas—notably the desert areas of northern and southwestern Africa—have been largely unoccupied for extended intervals of time. Thus, though Africa is the second largest continent, it comprises solely about 10 p.c of the world’s inhabitants and might be stated to be underpopulated. The larger a part of the continent has lengthy been inhabited by Black peoples, however in historic occasions there even have occurred main immigrations from each Asia and Europe. Of all international settlements in Africa, that of the Arabs has made the best influence. The Islamic faith, which the Arabs carried with them, unfold from North Africa into many areas south of the Sahara, in order that many western African peoples are actually largely Islamized.

This text treats the bodily and human geography of Africa, adopted by dialogue of geographic options of particular curiosity. For dialogue of particular person international locations of the continent, see such articles as Egypt, Madagascar, and Sudan. African areas are handled beneath the titles Central Africa, japanese Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa, and western Africa; these articles additionally include the principal therapy of African historic and cultural growth. For dialogue of main cities of the continent, see such articles as Alexandria, Cairo, Cape City, Johannesburg, and Kinshasa. Associated matters are mentioned within the articles literature, African; literature, South African; structure, African; artwork, African; dance, African; music, African; theatre, African; artwork and structure, Egyptian; Islam; arts, Islamic; and Islamic world.

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