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Africa is the second-largest continent on earth, after Asia, in both size and population. Covering more than twenty percent of the world's land area, Africa accounts for about sixteen percent of the world's population. Africa is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the northeast, the India Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Included within the continent are Madagascar and several island chains.

Geographically, Africa can be divided into a highland and a lowland zone through a line from the mouth of the Congo River in the west to the Ethiopian-Sudan border in the east. South of this line, the continent is made up mostly of an interior plateau of various heights, an area that is rich in mineral wealth. Above this line, Africa is composed largely of plains and basins.

In the depressions on the African plateaus are shallow lakes and swamps that once hosted a large supply of fish and large populations of hippopotamuses. Its rivers begin in the higher mountain ranges, descending to the valleys through a series of rapids and waterfalls, sometimes through narrow gorges, so they are not navigable for great distances. East Africa is split by a large trough or fault that runs most of the way across the continent. This is known as the Great Rift Valley which, in Kenya and Uganda, splits into the Eastern Rift and the Western Rift. The Great Rift is an area where compression and tension of the earth's crust have pushed the land up to form high ridges and mountains, while the deeper portions have filled with water, to become deep lakes. Today, Africa is home to several ethnicities, cultures, and languages.

Colonized by European countries in the late 1800s, the continent is now made up of several sovereign countries, territories and independent states, originating from an often bloody process of decolonization that began in the 1900s. France, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom still have interests in some portions of Africa.

The continent's fifty-four sovereign nations have borders that were largely drawn during the era of European colonization, and are mostly republics operating through a presidential system of government, although instability has been common and military dictatorships are not unheard of. Africa's largest country is Algeria, while its smallest is Seychelles, an island group off the east coast of the continent. The Gambia is its smallest country on the mainland.

The African nations have attempted to cooperate with the African Union, a 55-member federation consisting of all of Africa's states. Regions and territories in North Africa include Algeria, Canary Islands, Ceuta, Egypt, Libya, Madeira, Melilla, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara. East Africa has Burundi, British Ocean Territory, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In Central Africa are Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland are in South Africa, and West Africa includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo are in West Africa.

More than a thousand languages are spoken in Africa, most of African origin.

Categories

Algeria

Angola

Benin

Botswana

Burkina Faso

Burundi

Cameroon

Cape Verde

Central African Republic

Chad

Comoros

Cote d'Ivoire

Democratic Republic of Congo

Djibouti

Egypt

Equatorial Guinea

Eritrea

Ethiopia

Gabon

Gambia

Ghana

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Kenya

Lesotho

Liberia

Libya

Madagascar

Malawi

Mali

Mauritania

Mauritius

Morocco

Mozambique

Namibia

Niger

Nigeria

Republic of the Congo

Rwanda

Sao Tome & Principe

Senegal

Seychelles

Sierra Leone

Somalia

South Africa

Sudan

Swaziland

Tanzania

Togo

Tunisia

Uganda

Zambia

Zimbabwe

 

 

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