Portal:Africa
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Portal:Africa
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Satellite map of Africa
Location of Africa on the world map

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.


For a topic outline on this subject, see List of basic Africa topics.

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Tropical Cyclone Elita 2004.jpg

Tropical Cyclone Elita was an unusual tropical cyclone that made landfall on Madagascar three times. The fifth named storm of the 2003-04 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season, Elita developed in the Mozambique Channel on January 24, 2004. It strengthened to tropical cyclone status before striking northwestern Madagascar on January 28; it was the first storm to strike western Madagascar at that intensity since Cyclone Cynthia in 1991. Elita weakened to tropical depression status while crossing the island, and after exiting into the southwest Indian Ocean, it turned to the west and moved ashore in eastern Madagascar on January 31. After once again crossing the island, the cyclone reached the Mozambique Channel and re-intensified. Elita turned to the southeast to make its final landfall on February 3 along southwestern Madagascar. Two days later, it underwent an extratropical transition; subsequently, the remnant system moved erratically before dissipating on February 13.

Elita dropped heavy rainfall of more than 200 mm (8 inches), which damaged or destroyed thousands of houses in Madagascar. Over 50,000 people were left homeless, primarily in Mahajanga and Toliara provinces. Flooding from the storm ruined more than 450 km² (170 sq mi) of agricultural land, including important crops for food. Across the island, the cyclone caused 33 deaths, with its impact further compounded by Cyclone Gafilo about two months later. Elsewhere, Elita brought rainfall and damage to Mozambique and Malawi, and its outer wind circulation produced rough seas and strong gusts in Seychelles, Mauritius, and Réunion. Read more...

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Mikumi National Park
Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

Moshi is a Tanzanian town with a population of 144,739 (2002 census) in Kilimanjaro Region. The town is situated on the lower slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, a volcanic mountain that is the highest mountain in Africa. Moshi is home to the Chagga and Maasai tribes and lies on the A 23 Arusha-Himo east-west road connecting Arusha and Mombasa, Kenya. Just to the east of Moshi is the intersection with the B 1 north-south road eventually connecting with Tanga and Dar es Salaam.

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A middle-aged, moustachioed gentleman sits with his arms folded outside a house.
A photograph reputed to show John Harrison Clark in later life in Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia

John Harrison Clark or Changa-Changa (c. 1860-1927) effectively ruled much of what is today southern Zambia from the early 1890s to 1902. He arrived alone from South Africa in about 1887, reputedly as an outlaw, and assembled and trained a private army of Senga natives that he used to drive off various bands of slave-raiders. He took control of a swathe of territory on the north bank of the Zambezi river called Mashukulumbwe, became known as Chief "Changa-Changa" and, through a series of treaties with local chiefs, gained mineral and labour concessions covering much of the region.

Starting in 1897, Clark attempted to secure protection for his holdings from the British South Africa Company. The Company took little notice of him. A local chief, Chintanda, complained to the Company in 1899 that Clark had secured his concessions while passing himself off as a Company official and had been collecting hut tax for at least two years under this pretence. The Company resolved to remove him from power, and did so in 1902. Clark then farmed for about two decades, with some success, and moved in the late 1910s to Broken Hill. There he became a prominent local figure, and a partner in the first licensed brewery in Northern Rhodesia. Remaining in Broken Hill for the rest of his life, he died there in 1927. Read more...

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Flag of the Republic of Chad
Coat of arms of Chad
Location of Chad

Chad (Arabic: ?‎; French: Tchad), officially the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in central Africa. It borders Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west.

Chad has three major geographical regions: a desert zone in the north, an arid Sahelian belt in the centre and a more fertile Sudanian savanna zone in the south. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the largest wetland in Chad and the second largest in Africa. Chad's highest peak is the Emi Koussi in the Sahara, and the largest city is N'Djamena, the capital. Chad is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups.

While many political parties are active, power lies firmly in the hands of President Idriss Déby and his Patriotic Salvation Movement. Chad remains plagued by political violence and recurrent attempted coups d'état. Recently, the Darfur conflict in Sudan has spilt over the border and destabilised the nation. (Read more...)

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Clockwise from top:
Cityscape, Sunset view over Asmara, Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Fiat Tagliero Building sign, 23d ISCOE East Africa conference in Asmara 2019
Asmara ( ?s-MAHR-?), or Asmera, is the capital and most populous city of Eritrea, in the country's Central Region. It sits at an elevation of 2,325 metres (7,628 ft), making it the sixth highest capital in the world by altitude. The city is located at the tip of an escarpment that is both the northwestern edge of the Eritrean Highlands and the Great Rift Valley in neighbouring Ethiopia. In 2017, the city was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved modernist architecture. Asmera was first settled in 800 BC with a population ranging from 100 to 1000. The city was then founded in the 12th century AD after four separate villages unified to live together peacefully after long periods of conflict. Read more...

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