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About Africa

Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earths total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area. With 1.0 billion people (as of 2009) in 61 territories, it accounts for about 14.72% of the worlds 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 has 55 (now including Southern Sudan) sovereign states, including Madagascar and various island groups.

Africa, particularly central Eastern Africa, is widely regarded within the scientific community to be the 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. The African expected economic growth rate is at about 5.0% for 2010 and 5.5% in 2011.

What to Know About Africa

Africa is said to be the second largest and most populous continent in the world next to Asia. It covers about 30.2M km² which includes adjacent islands. The total surface of the Earth’s area is covered by 6% while the total area of the land is covered by 20.4%. By the year 2009, a Africa fact is that an estimate of one billion people in Africa accounts the human population of the world by 14.72% which is thrice as much of that US population.

Africa is surrounded by Mediterranean Sea up the north, the Red Sea and Suez Canal along Sinai Peninsula up the northeast, Indian Ocean down the southeast and Atlantic Ocean via west. Africa includes Madagascar as well as various archipelagos. A total of 54 sovereign states, 3 de facto states and 9 territories recognize the continent.

The continent bestrides the equator and embraces various climate areas. Africa is the only continent stretching from northern to southern moderate zones. African’s estimated rate of economic growth is about 5% last 2010 and 5.5% last year.

Scientists believed that Africa once joined the other continent of Earth in super-continent called the Pangaea. Although South America and Asia split after Africa during the previous Cretaceous epoch which was roughly 80M years ago, African continent stayed fairly stable and hasn’t moved much all throughout the time. Some geologists have believed that the huge island of Madagascar split after the African continent way back 160M years ago.

The Central of Eastern Africa was believed by many scientists as the place of origin of both the great apes and human. The previous remains of some modern human creatures called the Homo sapiens were discovered in Ethiopia which dated to approximately 200,000 years in the past.

Charles Darwin states that human being’s ancestors may have developed in Africa. But, the prejudicial attitudes against the continent have made several people across the Western world to be highly resistant into the idea up to the 12th century.

While there were several theories about the origin of Africa’s name, most of the etymologists believed that the name was derived from the word “Afri” which came from a title for such people’s group dwelling in North Africa which is near Carthage during the 3rd century Before Christ. On the other hand, “Ca” is a country or land’s Roman suffix.

Ancient Romans and Greeks originally used Africa in applying to the continent’s northern region only. In Latin, Africa has a meaning of sunny while the Aphrike word in Greek has a meaning of without cold.

Islam then became to be North Africa’s prominent influence during the 7th century A.D. They have spread throughout the sub-Saharan Africa by migration and trade routes. The North Africa’s population is still considered today as widely Muslim.

Before the African continent’s colonization, some historians believed that the continent was made up of 1,000 various states as well as autonomous groups that range in size of a group of small family hunter-gatherers to big kingdoms.

While slavery was practiced in African continent throughout the recorded history, it is the one and only continent which has a big percentage of inhabitants being transported elsewhere to serve as slaves. The historians estimated that about 7 to 12M slaves were transported from Africa to America between 15th to 19th centuries.

In the African continent, the equator is running along for a nearly 2,500 miles which passes through the countries Congo, Gabon, Uganda, Somalia and Kenya. Africa is the home of the world’s most diverse wildlife species. From elephants up to giraffes, cheetahs, monkeys and snakes live in this continent. As everybody knows, elephant is the world’s largest animal in the land and they can be found many parts of the continent. Also, the fastest land animal can be in Africa, the cheetah. The continent’s wildlife is amazingly beautiful. There is no country all over the world is identified to inhabit many species’ type, but Africa alone.

If one is looking for Africa facts regarding its geography, the continent has something to be proud of.  Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa is said to be the highest mountain the continent standing at an about 19,340 feet. The mountain is sitting close to the equator and this is accounted to be very tall. Since the mountain has a proud height, glaciers are forming at the peak of the mountain. Numbers of people have already tried climbing it, yet two-thirds of them only succeeded.

Also, Africa is where the largest desert of the world is located, the Sahara Desert. Over 3.5M square miles spans it and that is almost equal the size of US. If it was not for Hawaii, Sahara Desert will be one which is bigger compared to US. Hence, Cairo is said to be Africa’s largest city which is Egypt’s capital with 76 million estimated residents who live along the metropolitan area. While the continent’s capital city which is least populated is Maseru, Lesotho’s Kingdom capital which has an estimated population of 14,000. On the other hand, Africa’s country that is most populated is Nigeria covering an estimated 125 to 145 million population followed by Egypt. Hence, the country with least population is Seychelles with a population around 80,000 residents. The country Namibia has the least dense population in Africa.

Likewise, Africa is the place where the very popular river can be seen, the Nile River. The world’s longest river measures 4,132 miles running from Uganda to Egypt. The continent’s largest lake is also said to be the second largest lake in the world which is the Lake Victoria located at the East of Africa and borders Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It has a total of 26,560sq miles which is Nile River’s main source.

Africa’s largest island is Madagascar which is off the continent’s East coast in Indian Ocean. Madagascar is fourth as the world’s largest island which is over 1,580km long and 570km wide. While the continent’s largest waterfall is the Victoria Falls which is located along the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. Victoria falls over 1.7km wide and 108m high. On wet seasons, 500M liters of water plummets can be seen over its edge up to the Zambezi River. Spray may be observed from more than 30 miles away.

Africa is a great place if you want to see some of the world’s amazing and remarkable spots.