Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. 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% of its land area. With 1.3 billion people as of 2018, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. Africa's population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the 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, 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.
Africa straddles the Equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Africa is home to much biodiversity; it is the continent with the largest number of 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, and other issues. These entrenched environmental concerns are expected to worsen as climate change impacts Africa. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified Africa as the continent most vulnerable to climate change.
Africa, particularly Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), meaning that Africa has a long and complex history. The earliest hominids and their ancestors have been dated to around 7 million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster— the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) remains, found in Ethiopia, South Africa, and Morocco, 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 and Phoenicia emerged in North Africa. Following a subsequent long and complex history of civilizations, migration and trade, Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. 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, which created large 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 in the 20th century. (Full article...)
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A manuscript page from Timbuktu
Timbuktu Manuscripts (or Tombouctou Manuscripts) is a blanket term for the large number of historically important manuscripts that have been preserved for centuries in private households in Timbuktu, Mali. The collections include manuscripts about art, medicine, philosophy, and science, as well as copies of the Quran. The number of manuscripts in the collections has been estimated as high as 700,000.
The manuscripts are written in Arabic
and local languages like Songhay
. The dates of the manuscripts range between the late 13th and the early 20th centuries (i.e., from the Islamisation of the Mali Empire
until the decline of traditional education in French Sudan
). Their subject matter ranges from scholarly works to short letters. (Full article...
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Credit: Tancrède Dumas
Snake charming is the practice of apparently hypnotising a snake by simply playing an instrument. A typical performance may also include handling the snakes or performing other seemingly dangerous acts. The practice is most common in India, though it is also practiced in the North African countries of Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. This photo depicts snake charmers in late 19th-century Morocco.
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Benghazi () (lit. Son of [the] Ghazi) is a city in Libya. Located on the Gulf of Sidra in the Mediterranean, Benghazi is a major seaport and the second-most populous city in the country, as well as the largest city in Cyrenaica, with an estimated population of 632,937 in 2019.
A Greek colony named Euesperides had existed in the area from around 525 BC. In the 3rd century BC, it was relocated and refounded as the Ptolemaic
city of Berenice. Berenice prospered under the Romans, and after the 3rd century AD it superseded Cyrene
as the centre of Cyrenaica. The city went into decline during the Byzantine
period and had already been reduced to a small town before its conquest by the Arabs
. In 1911, Italy
captured Benghazi and the rest of Tripolitania
from the Ottomans
. Under Italian rule, Benghazi witnessed a period of extensive development and modernization, particularly in the second half of the 1930s. The city changed hands several times during World War II
and was heavily damaged in the process. After the war Benghazi was rebuilt and became the co-capital of the newly independent Kingdom of Libya
. Following the 1969 coup d'état
by Muammar Gaddafi
, Benghazi lost its capital status and all government offices relocated to Tripoli
. (Full article...
The following are images from various Africa-related articles on Wikipedia.
Areas controlled by European powers in 1939. British (red) and Belgian (Orange) colonies fought with the Allies. Italian (green) with the Axis. French colonies (dark blue) fought alongside the Allies until the Fall of France in June 1940. Vichy was in control until the Free French prevailed in late 1942. Portuguese (brown) and Spanish (teal) colonies remained neutral.
Kenyan boys and girls performing a traditional folklore dance
Areas controlled by European colonial powers on the African continent in 1914; modern-day borders are shown
The Almohad minaret in Safi
1 = 3000 – 1500 BC origin
2 = c. 1500 BC first migrations
2.a = Eastern Bantu,
2.b = Western Bantu
3 = 1000 – 500 BC Urewe nucleus of Eastern Bantu
4 – 7 = southward advance
9 = 500 BC – 0 Congo nucleus
10 = 0 – 1000 CE last phase
Political map of Southern Africa in 1885
Mali Empire at its greatest extent
Contemporary political map of Africa (Includes Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa)
Major states of Middle Africa in 1750
9th-century bronze staff head in form of a coiled snake, Igbo-Ukwu, Nigeria
Oyo Empire and surrounding states, c. 1625
Pre-colonial African states from different time periods
Comparison of Africa in the years 1880 and 1913
African biface artifact (spear point) dated in Late Stone Age period
Dates of independence of African countries
Almnara Tower, Mogadishu.
1916 political map of Africa
The Great Mosque of Kairouan (also known as the Mosque of Uqba), first built in 670 by the Umayyad general Uqba Ibn Nafi, is the oldest and most prestigious mosque in the Maghreb and North Africa, located in the city of Kairouan, Tunisia
A Yombe sculpture (Louvre, Paris)
Abéché, capital of Wadai, in 1918 after the French had taken over
Map of Ancient Egypt and nomes
The Kanem and Bornu Empires in 1810
Nok sculpture, terracotta, Louvre
Maasai wearing traditional clothes named Matavuvale while performing Adumu, a traditional dance
Herero and Nama territories
Northern Africa under Roman rule
1895 .303 tripod mounted Maxim machine gun
Ghana at its greatest extent
A terra-cotta head sculpture (1100-1500) of the Yoruba, showing extraordinary naturalism. This head represents the oni, or king of Ife.
The Songhai Empire, c. 1500
South African ethnic groups
Sudan basket-tray, tabar of weaved natural plant fiber, in different colors
Reconstruction of the Oikumene (inhabited world) as described by Herodotus in the 5th century BC.
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