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 large part due to the 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.
Selected article -
Three Horses Beer (better known locally as THB) is a pale lager that has been brewed by Star Breweries of Madagascar since 1958. It is the highest selling beer in Madagascar and has been described as emblematic of the country. THB is sold nationwide and since 2005 has been exported to such markets as France, Reunion Island, Comoros and Mayotte. The Malagasy beer is produced at two breweries in Madagascar, the first centrally located in Antsirabe and the other in the northern city of Antsiranana. THB Pilsener, the most common variant of THB, has a light taste and is produced from mostly local barley, corn and hops. Star Breweries also produces THB Fresh (a shandy with less than 1% alcohol), THB Special (6.2% alcohol), and THB Lite (1% alcohol). Recent investments in Star Brewery infrastructure have allowed a 20% increase in production since 2011.
After advertising alcohol in the media was banned under former President Marc Ravalomanana
, Star Breweries has increasingly promoted THB through unconventional means. These have included sponsoring the THB Champions League
, Madagascar's national football
championship, and holding annual beer festivals. In addition, THB is a regular sponsor of local musicians through major annual festivals and tours. Star Breweries has also hired musicians to perform in music videos specifically created to promote the beer. In 2014 the THB label was significantly redesigned, and in 2015 a new slogan, "THB eo foana e!" ("THB always!") was promoted alongside the beer's longstanding trademark Soa Ny Fiarahantsika
("The Pleasure of Being Together"). The beer is regularly promoted by Malagasy musical stars and other public figures. Read more...
Featured picture -
Photo credit: schani
The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is an endangered member of the cat family (Felidae), a poor climber that hunts by speed and stealth. It is the fastest of all land animals and can reach speeds of more than 105 kilometres per hour (65 mph) in short bursts up to 460 metres (500 yd), as well as being able to accelerate from 0 to 110 kilometres per hour (68 mph) in three seconds. The word "cheetah" is derived from the Sanskrit word citrakāyaḥ चित्रकायः meaning "variegated body", via the Hindi cītā चीता.
Did you know -
- ...that Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, a Nigerian Senator from the People's Democratic Party, is the daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo?
- ...that the 2007 South Africa miners' strike, which impacted over 240,000 workers, was the first ever industry-wide miners' strike in the history of South Africa?
- ...that Seleh Leha, a town in Tigray Region in northern Ethiopia, was the site of a leprosarium built during the Italian occupation of East Africa and abandoned in 1941?
- ...that Sarir field, an oil field in Cyrenaica operated by the Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO), is considered to be the largest in Libya, with estimated oil reserves of 12 Gbbl (1.9×109 m3)?
Selected biography -
Charles Atangana (c. 1880 – 1 September 1943), also known by his birth name, Ntsama, and his German name, Karl, was the paramount chief of the Ewondo and Bane ethnic groups during much of the colonial period in Cameroon. Although from an unremarkable background, Atangana's loyalty and friendship with colonial priests and administrators secured him successively more prominent posts in the colonial government. He proved himself an intelligent and diplomatic administrator and an eager collaborator, and he was eventually named paramount chief of two Beti-Pahuin subgroups, the Ewondo and Bane peoples. His loyalty and acquiescence to the German Empire was unquestioning, and he even accompanied the Germans on their escape from Africa in World War I.
After a brief stay in Europe, Atangana returned to his homeland in Cameroon, which by then was a League of Nations mandate
territory under the administration of the French Third Republic
. The French doubted his loyalties at first, but Atangana served them with the same ardour he had shown the Germans and regained his post as paramount chief. During the remainder of his life, he oversaw the Westernisation
of his subjects and the improvement of his domains despite the erosion of his powers due to French policies and unrest among his people. He never advocated resistance to the European powers, preferring to embrace the Europeans as a means of personal enrichment and in the service of African interests. After his death in 1943, Atangana was largely forgotten. However, since Cameroon's independence in 1960, Cameroonian scholars have rediscovered his story. Read more...
Selected country -
Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country in North Africa that includes the Sinai Peninsula, a land bridge to Asia. Covering an area of about 1,001,450 square kilometers (386,560 sq mi), Egypt borders Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, and the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east. The northern coast borders the Mediterranean Sea and the eastern coast borders the Red Sea.
Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa. The vast majority of its estimated 78 million people live near the banks of the Nile River in an area of about 40,000 km² (15,000 sq mi) where the only arable agricultural land is found. Large areas of land form part of the Sahara Desert and are sparsely inhabited.
Egypt is famous for its ancient civilization and some of the world's most famous monuments, including the Giza pyramids and the Great Sphinx; the southern city of Luxor contains a particularly large number of ancient artifacts such as the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings.
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Alexandria ( or ; Arabic: الإسكندرية al-ʾIskandariyya; Egyptian Arabic: اسكندرية Eskendereyya; Coptic: ⲣⲁⲕⲟϯ Rakodī; Greek: Αλεξάνδρεια Alexandria) is the second-largest city in Egypt and a major economic centre. With a population of 5,200,000, Alexandria is the largest city on the Mediterranean - also called the Bride of the Mediterranean by locals - the sixth-largest city in the Arab world and the ninth-largest in Africa. The city extends about 40 km (25 mi) at the northern coast of Egypt along the Mediterranean Sea. Alexandria is a popular tourist destination, and also an important industrial centre because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez.
Alexandria was founded in c. 331 BC
by Alexander the Great
and leader of the Greek League of Corinth
, during his conquest
of the Achaemenid Empire
. An Egyptian village named Rhacotis
existed at the location and grew into the Egyptian quarter of Alexandria. Alexandria grew rapidly to become an important centre of Hellenistic civilization
and remained the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt
and Roman and Byzantine Egypt
for almost 1,000 years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt
in AD 641, when a new capital was founded at Fustat
(later absorbed into Cairo
). Hellenistic Alexandria was best known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria
), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
; its Great Library
(the largest in the ancient world); and the Necropolis
, one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages
. Alexandria was the intellectual and cultural centre of the ancient Mediterranean world for much of the Hellenistic age
and late antiquity
. It was at one time the largest city in the ancient world before being eventually overtaken by Rome
. Read more...
The following are images from various Africa-related articles on Wikipedia.
Comparison of Africa in the years 1880 and 1913
1895 .303 tripod mounted Maxim machine gun
Areas controlled by European colonial powers on the African continent in 1914; modern-day borders are shown
1916 political map of Africa
Political map of Southern Africa in 1885
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
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.
Ghana at its greatest extent
The Songhai Empire, c. 1500
Map of Ancient Egypt and nomes
South African ethnic groups
Kenyan boys and girls performing a traditional folklore dance
Pre-colonial African states from different time periods
Herero and Nama territories
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)
Dates of independence of African countries
Maasai wearing traditional clothes named Matavuvale while performing Adumu, a traditional dance
Mali Empire at its greatest extent
Major states of Middle Africa in 1750
Abéché, capital of Wadai, in 1918 after the French had taken over
The Kanem and Bornu Empires in 1810
9th-century bronze staff head in form of a coiled snake, Igbo-Ukwu, Nigeria
Almnara Tower, Mogadishu.
African biface artifact (spear point) dated in Late Stone Age period
Contemporary political map of Africa (Includes Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa)
Nok sculpture, terracotta, Louvre
A terra-cotta head sculpture (1100-1500) of the Yoruba, showing extraordinary naturalism. This head represents the oni, or king of Ife.
Oyo Empire and surrounding states, c. 1625
The Almohad minaret in Safi
Northern Africa under Roman rule
Sudan basket-tray, tabar of weaved natural plant fiber, in different colors
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