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 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. Despite a wide range of natural resources, the continent is the least wealthy per capita, in part due to legacies of European colonization in Africa and the Cold War. 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 most vulnerable continent 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 orignated 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.
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The African Union is a continental union consisting of 55 member states located on the continent of Africa. The AU was announced in the Sirte Declaration in Sirte, Libya, on 9 September 1999, calling for the establishment of the African Union. The bloc was founded on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and launched on 9 July 2002 in Durban, South Africa.
The intention of the AU was to replace the Organisation of African Unity
(OAU), established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa by 32 signatory governments; the OAU was disbanded on 9 July 2002. The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union
, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states. The AU's secretariat, the African Union Commission
, is based in Addis Ababa. The largest city in the AU is Lagos
, while the largest urban agglomeration
. Read more...
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Did you know -
Selected biography -
Gaddafi, pictured shortly after his seizure of power on a visit to Yugoslavia
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (c. 1942 – 20 October 2011), commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi, was a Libyan revolutionary, politician and political theorist. He governed Libya as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then as the "Brotherly Leader" of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011. He was initially ideologically committed to Arab nationalism and Arab socialism but later ruled according to his own Third International Theory.
Born near Sirte
, Italian Libya
, to a poor Bedouin
family, Gaddafi became an Arab nationalist while at school in Sabha
, later enrolling in the Royal Military Academy, Benghazi
. Within the military, he founded a revolutionary group which deposed the Western-backed Senussi
monarchy of Idris
in a 1969 coup
. Having taken power, Gaddafi converted Libya into a republic governed by his Revolutionary Command Council
. Ruling by decree
, he deported Libya's Italian
population and ejected Libya's Western military bases. Strengthening ties to Arab nationalist governments—particularly Gamal Abdel Nasser
's Egypt—he unsuccessfully advocated pan-Arab political union
. An Islamic modernist
, he introduced sharia
as the basis for the legal system and promoted "Islamic socialism
". He nationalized the oil industry and used the increasing state revenues to bolster the military, fund foreign revolutionaries, and implement social programs emphasizing house-building, healthcare and education projects. In 1973, he initiated a "Popular Revolution
" with the formation of Basic People's Congresses
, presented as a system of direct democracy
, but retained personal control over major decisions. He outlined his Third International Theory that year in The Green Book
. Read more...
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Uganda, formally the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa, bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, within which it shares borders with Kenya and Tanzania. The country is located on the East African plateau, averaging about 900 metres (2,950 ft) above sea level. Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a portion of the south of the country including the capital Kampala.
The President of Uganda, currently Yoweri Museveni, is both head of state and head of government. The president appoints a prime minister who aids him in his tasks. The current prime minister is Apolo Nsibambi. The parliament is formed by the National Assembly, which has 303 members. Eighty-six of these members are nominated by interest groups, including women and the army. The remaining members are elected for five-year terms during general elections.
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The following are images from various Africa-related articles on Wikipedia.
Oyo Empire and surrounding states, c. 1625
Ghana at its greatest extent
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
Map of Ancient Egypt and nomes
1916 political map of Africa
African biface artifact (spear point) dated in Late Stone Age period
Pre-colonial African states from different time periods
The Almohad minaret in Safi
Almnara Tower, Mogadishu.
Kenyan boys and girls performing a traditional folklore dance
9th-century bronze staff head in form of a coiled snake, Igbo-Ukwu, Nigeria
Maasai wearing traditional clothes named Matavuvale while performing Adumu, a traditional dance
Sudan basket-tray, tabar of weaved natural plant fiber, in different colors
Mali Empire at its greatest extent
Abéché, capital of Wadai, in 1918 after the French had taken over
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.
Comparison of Africa in the years 1880 and 1913
Northern Africa under Roman rule
Major states of Middle Africa in 1750
Political map of Southern Africa in 1885
1895 .303 tripod mounted Maxim machine gun
Nok sculpture, terracotta, Louvre
Contemporary political map of Africa (Includes Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa)
A terra-cotta head sculpture (1100-1500) of the Yoruba, showing extraordinary naturalism. This head represents the oni, or king of Ife.
Areas controlled by European colonial powers on the African continent in 1914; modern-day borders are shown
A Yombe sculpture (Louvre, Paris)
Dates of independence of African countries
Herero and Nama territories
The Kanem and Bornu Empires in 1810
The Songhai Empire, c. 1500
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
South African ethnic groups
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