- For a topic outline on this subject, see List of basic Africa topics.
Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent. At about 30.2 million km2 (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers six percent of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4 percent of the total land area. With 1.1 billion people as of 2013, it accounts for about 15% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It has 54 fully recognized sovereign states ("countries"), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition.
Africa's population is the youngest among all the continents; 50% of Africans are 19 years old or younger.
Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is the 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, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster – with the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) found in Ethiopia being dated to circa 200,000 years ago. Africa straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones.
Laal is a still-unclassified language spoken by 749 people (as of 2000) in three villages in the Moyen-Chari prefecture of Chad on opposite banks of the Chari River, called Gori (lá), Damtar (ɓual), and Mailao. It may be a language isolate, in which case it would represent an isolated survival of an earlier language group of central Africa. It is unwritten (except in transcription by linguists). According to SIL-Chad member David Faris, it is in danger of extinction, with most people under 25 shifting to the locally more widespread Baguirmi language.
This language first came to the attention of academic linguists in 1977, through Pascal Boyeldieu's fieldwork in 1975 and 1978. His fieldwork was based for the most part on a single speaker, M. Djouam Kadi of Damtar. (Read more...)
Photo credit: NASA
The Sahara (Arabic: الصحراء الكبرى, aṣ-ṣaḥrā´, "The Great Desert") is the world's largest hot desert at over 9,000,000 square kilometres (3,500,000 sq mi). The Sahara defines the borders of North Africa and has an intermittent history that may go back as much as 2.5 million years.
Sir Raphael (Roy) Welensky, KCMG, (January 20, 1907 – December 5, 1991) was a white African politician and the second and final prime minister of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) to parents of Jewish and Afrikaner ancestry, he moved to Northern Rhodesia, became involved with the trade unions, and entered the colonial legislative council in 1938. There, he campaigned for the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Rhodesia (the latter under white self-government, the former under the colonial office). Although unsuccessful, he succeeded in the formation of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, a state within the British Empire that reflected aspects of the newly independent black nations to the north and Apartheid South Africa to the south.
Becoming Prime Minister of the Federation in 1957, Welensky opposed British moves towards African majority rule, and used force to suppress politically motivated violence in the territories. After the advent of African rule in two of the Federation's three territories, it collapsed in 1963. Welensky retired to Salisbury, where he re-entered politics and attempted to stop Rhodesia (formerly Southern Rhodesia) from declaring itself unilaterally independent. With the end of white rule in 1979, and the independence of Rhodesia as Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe in 1980, Welensky moved to England, where he died in 1991. (Read more...)