Africa is the second largest continent in the world. It makes up about a fifth of the world's land. It is surrounded by large areas of water. There are 61 countries in Africa, and 14.7% (about a billion) of the world's population lives there. It is thought to be the continent where the first humans evolved.
From north to south, Africa has most types of climate. In sequence from the north:
- Alpine and mediterranean climate
- Dry sandy desert
- Fairly dry savannah (grassland)
- Rain forest
- More grassland
- More deserts
- Table Mountain
In fact Africa has examples of most of the Earth's climate types.
Much of North Africa is dry and hot: it is dominated by the Sahara Desert and does not receive much rain. In Saharan Africa there are few rivers or other water sources. Underground water sources, such as springs are very important in the desert. These often form oases. An oasis is an area of vegetation (plant life) surrounded by desert.
In that part of the world the wind comes mostly from the east. That does bring rain, but the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau blocks the monsoon rain and prevents it getting to North Africa. Also, the Atlas Mountains near the north coast of Africa prevent rain from coming in from the north. That is another rain shadow.
These two rain shadows are mainly responsible for the Sahara desert.
Conditions and winds are different further south, where huge amounts of rain falls near the equator. The equator runs across the middle of Africa (see red line drawn on map). That means much of Africa is between the two tropics:
In the late nineteenth century, the European powers occupied much of the continent, creating many colonial and dependent territories. They left only two fully independent states: Ethiopia (known to Europeans as "Abyssinia"), and Liberia.
The African Union, not to be confused with the AU Commission, 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 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.
A civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) began in 1998. Neighbouring African countries have become involved. Since the conflict began, the estimated death toll has reached 5 million.
Political associations such as the 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 Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Côte d'Ivoire.
These are the countries of Africa:
North Africa [change]
East Africa [change]
West Africa [change]
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Côte d'Ivoire
- Sierra Leone
Central Africa [change]
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- São Tomé and Príncipe
South Africa [change]
African diaspora [change]
Countries with significant African descendents outside Africa:
- Haiti: 98%
- Saint Kitts and Nevis: 96.9%
- Anguilla: 91.4%
- Bahamas: 86.1%
- Barbados: 81.1%
- Jamaica: 76.3%
- Dominican Republic: 71.1%
- Cayman Islands: 60.0%
- Trinidad and Tobago: 39.5%
- Cuba: 34.9%
- Turks and Caicos: 34.0%
- Belize: 29.8%
- Venezuela: 24.0%
- Panama: 22.0%
- Colombia: 21.0%
- Brazil: 13-19%
- United States: 12.9%
- Puerto Rico: 6.9%
- Argentina: less than 2%
Africa has a lot of wildlife. There are many types of animals there. In particular, it is now the only continent that has many native species of large mammals. Some of them occur in very large numbers. There are antelope, buffalo, zebra, cheetah, elephant, lion, giraffe, rhinoceros, apes, hyaena, and a lot more. Over 2,000 types of fish live in African lakes and rivers.
Other websites [change]
|The Simple English Wiktionary has a definition for: Africa.|
- Sayre, April Pulley 1999. Africa. Twenty-First Century Books. ISBN 0-7613-1367-2.
- Historical survey > Slave societies, Encyclopædia Britannica
- Swahili Coast, National Geographic
- Welcome to Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to Black History, Encyclopædia Britannica
- Focus on the slave trade, BBC
- Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa p 25 by Paul E. Lovejoy
- Sailing against slavery. By Jo Loosemore BBC
- J.Hofman and S.Colbert 2009. The ultimate guide to African mammals. Libeal House, New Jersey.
- J.Dorst and P.Dandelot 1983. A field guide to the larger mammals of Africa. Collins, London.
- N.Myers 1997. The rich diversity of biodiversity issues. (In:Biodiversity II, ed. E.O. Wilson et al, National Academy Press.