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...)
Selected article –
Ruins of the Great Mosque at Gedi
The ruins of Gedi are a historical and archaeological site near the Indian Ocean coast of eastern Kenya. The site is adjacent to the town of Gedi (also known as Gede) in the Kilifi District and within the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest.
Gedi is one of many medieval Swahili
coastal settlements that stretch from Mogadishu
to the Zambezi River
. There are 116 known Swahili sites stretching from southern Somalia to Vumba Kuu at the Kenya-Tanzania
border. Since the rediscovery of the Gedi ruins by colonialists in the 1920s, Gedi has been one of the most intensely excavated and studied of those sites, along with Shanga
, Manda, Ungwana, Kilwa
, and the Comoros
. (Full article...
Featured pictures –
Credit: Luca Galuzzi
: تدرارت أكاكوس) is a desert
area in western Libya
and is part of the Sahara
. It is situated close to the Libyan city of Ghat
. Tadrart means 'mountain' in the native language of the area (Tamahaq language
). The Acacus has a large variation of landscapes, from differently coloured sanddunes to arches, gorges, rocks and mountains. Major landmarks are the arches of Afzejare and Tin Khlega. Although this area is one of the most arid of the Sahara, there is vegetation, such as the callotropis plant. The area is known for its rock-art and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 because of the importance of these paintings and carvings.
Photo credit: Cody Pope
) is a mammal
of the family Felidae
and one of four "big cats
" in the genus Panthera
. The lion is the second largest feline species, after the tiger
. The male lion, easily recognized by his mane
, weighs between 150 and 250 kg (330–500 lb). Females range 120–150 kg (260–330 lb). In the wild, lions live for around 10–14 years, while in captivity they can live over 20 years. Though they were once found throughout much of Africa
, lions presently exist in the wild only in Africa and India
. They enjoy hot climates, and hunt in groups.
Did you know –
Selected biography –
Andriantsimitoviaminiandriana Andriandrazaka (also Andriantsimitoviaminandriandrazaka) was King of Avaradrano in the central highlands of Madagascar from 1710 to 1730, and King of neighboring Ambohidrabiby after defeating his brother, Andrianavalonimerina. He was a son of Andriamasinavalona, sovereign of the former Kingdom of Imerina, and his wife Ratompoindraoandriana. Sometime during his life Andriantsimitoviaminiandriana adopted Rakotomavo, who would later succeed him as King Andriambelomasina.
As a child, Andriantsimitoviaminiandriana was sent to live in a village that his father named Ambohimanga
. As a young man, his father granted him the region of Avaradrano surrounding the village, and while his father still lived he managed the daily affairs of state in Avaradrano without taking the title of king. He declared Ambohimanga the capital of the region, building numerous structures on the site and adding its first set of defensive walls, ditches and gates. The site's historic and cultural significance was recognized in 2001 when UNESCO
declared it a World Heritage Site
, the only one in the cultural category in Madagascar. He became an independent king upon his father's death and the resulting partition of the Kingdom of Imerina
in 1710, from which he received Avaradrano, the easternmost and largest territory. He died around 1730 and was buried at Ambohimanga. (Full article...
Selected country –
South Sudan (), officially known as the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa. It is bordered to the east by Ethiopia, to the north by Sudan, to the west by the Central African Republic, to the southwest by Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south by Uganda and to the southeast by Kenya.
It gained independence from the Republic of the Sudan in 2011, making it the most recent sovereign state or country with widespread recognition. Its capital and largest city is Juba. It includes the vast swamp region of the Sudd, formed by the White Nile and known locally as the Bahr al Jabal meaning "Mountain River". Sudan was occupied by Egypt under the Muhammad Ali dynasty and was governed as an Anglo-Egyptian condominium until Sudanese independence in 1956. Following the First Sudanese Civil War, the Southern Sudan Autonomous Region was formed in 1972 and lasted until 1983. A second Sudanese civil war soon broke out, ending in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Later that year, southern autonomy was restored when an Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan was formed. South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011, following 98.83% support for independence in a January 2011 referendum.
Selected city –
City Hall, Market Square.
Gqeberha, formerly known as Port Elizabeth or by its initials PE, or as iBhayi in Xhosa (officially renamed Gqeberha [ᶢǃʱɛ̀ɓéːxà] on 23 February 2021), is a major seaport city and the most populous city in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
It is nicknamed "The Friendly City" or "The Windy City", and is the seat of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality
, South Africa's second largest metropolitan district by area. It is the most-populous city of the Eastern Cape, the sixth most-populous city in South Africa and the cultural, economic and financial centre of the Eastern Cape. The city is among the top five cities in the world for pleasant weather, according to a 2014 scientific climate study
of 600 global cities. The city is known for many blue-flag beaches
along the city's urban coastline; its popularity as an international and local holiday destination; and its rich and diverse cultural heritage. It is a tourism gateway city for Eastern Cape's adventure, outdoor and African big five game
, malaria-free safari tourism, all in close proximity. (Full article...
In the news
- 6 March 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
- COVID-19 pandemic in Malawi
- Malawi receives the first shipment of 360,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative. (Voice of America)
- 6 March 2021 –
- China confirms an outbreak of the African swine fever in key pork-producing provinces of Sichuan, where it killed 38 pigs, and Hebei, where it killed five piglets and infected 10 out of 165 piglets (~6.0̅6̅%). (The Straits Times)
- 5 March 2021 – Somali Civil War
- At least seven soldiers are killed after al-Shabaab militants storm a jail Bosaso, Puntland, Somalia. More than 400 prisoners are freed during the assault, the majority of whom are Al-Shabaab fighters. (Reuters)
- 5 March 2021 –
- A minibus and a trailer-truck collide on a highway near Atfih, Middle Egypt, killing 18 people and injuring five others. The truck driver has been arrested. (AP)
- 5 March 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
- Tennessee reports its first case of the 501.V2 variant first detected in South Africa. (WSMV-TV)
Updated: 19:33, 6 March 2021
The following are images from various Africa-related articles on Wikipedia.
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
Contemporary political map of Africa (Includes Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa)
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
Oyo Empire and surrounding states, c. 1625
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.
Political map of Southern Africa in 1885
A terra-cotta head sculpture (1100-1500) of the Yoruba, showing extraordinary naturalism. This head represents the oni, or king of Ife.
Map of Ancient Egypt and nomes
Reconstruction of the Oikumene (inhabited world) as described by Herodotus in the 5th century BC.
The Songhai Empire, c. 1500
1916 political map of Africa
Abéché, capital of Wadai, in 1918 after the French had taken over
Herero and Nama territories
Sudan basket-tray, tabar of weaved natural plant fiber, in different colors
The Almohad minaret in Safi
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)
Nok sculpture, terracotta, Louvre
African biface artifact (spear point) dated in Late Stone Age period
South African ethnic groups
Dates of independence of African countries
Pre-colonial African states from different time periods
9th-century bronze staff head in form of a coiled snake, Igbo-Ukwu, Nigeria
1895 .303 tripod mounted Maxim machine gun
Comparison of Africa in the years 1880 and 1913
The Kanem and Bornu Empires in 1810
Maasai wearing traditional clothes named Matavuvale while performing Adumu, a traditional dance
Major states of Middle Africa in 1750
Northern Africa under Roman rule
Mali Empire at its greatest extent
Almnara Tower, Mogadishu.