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For a topic outline on this subject, see List of basic Africa topics.
Main page   African countries   Tasks, WikiProjects & related portals  
Location of Africa on the world map
Satellite map of Africa

Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent. At about 30.2 million km2 (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers six percent of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4 percent of the total land area. With 1.1 billion people as of 2013, it accounts for about 15% of the world's 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 includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It has 54 fully recognized sovereign states ("countries"), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition.

Africa's population is the youngest among all the continents; 50% of Africans are 19 years old or younger.

Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is the largest by population. Africa, particularly central Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of 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.

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Featured article

Flag of the Central African Republic

The Saint-Sylvestre coup d’état was a coup d’état staged by Jean-Bédel Bokassa, leader of the Central African Republic (CAR) army, and his military officers against the government of President David Dacko on 31 December 1965 and 1 January 1966. Dacko, Bokassa's cousin, took over the country in 1960, and Bokassa, a military officer in the French army, joined the CAR army in 1962. By 1965, the country was in turmoil—plagued by corruption and slow economic growth, while its borders were breached by rebels from neighboring countries. Dacko obtained financial aid from the communist People's Republic of China, but despite this support, the country's problems persisted. Bokassa made plans to take over the government; Dacko was made aware of this, and countered by forming the gendarmerie headed by Jean Izamo, who quickly became Dacko's closest adviser.

With the aid of Captain Alexandre Banza, Bokassa started the coup New Year's Eve night in 1965. First, Bokassa and his men captured Izamo, locking him in a cellar at Camp de Roux. Bokassa's men then occupied the capital, Bangui, and overpowered the gendarmerie and other resistance. (Read more...)

Featured picture

Snake charmers
Credit: Tancrède Dumas

Snake charming is the practice of apparently hypnotising a snake by simply playing an instrument. A typical performance may also include handling the snakes or performing other seemingly dangerous acts. The practice is most common in India, though it is also practiced in the North African countries of Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. This photo depicts snake charmers in late 19th-century Morocco.

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Akan drum

Featured biography

Sir Roy Welensky

Sir Raphael (Roy) Welensky, KCMG, (January 20, 1907 – December 5, 1991) was a white African politician and the second and final prime minister of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) to parents of Jewish and Afrikaner ancestry, he moved to Northern Rhodesia, became involved with the trade unions, and entered the colonial legislative council in 1938. There, he campaigned for the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Rhodesia (the latter under white self-government, the former under the colonial office). Although unsuccessful, he succeeded in the formation of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, a state within the British Empire that reflected aspects of the newly independent black nations to the north and Apartheid South Africa to the south.

Becoming Prime Minister of the Federation in 1957, Welensky opposed British moves towards African majority rule, and used force to suppress politically motivated violence in the territories. After the advent of African rule in two of the Federation's three territories, it collapsed in 1963. Welensky retired to Salisbury, where he re-entered politics and attempted to stop Rhodesia (formerly Southern Rhodesia) from declaring itself unilaterally independent. With the end of white rule in 1979, and the independence of Rhodesia as Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe in 1980, Welensky moved to England, where he died in 1991. (Read more...)


Topics in Africa

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1000000 videos foundNext > 

Toto - Africa

Music video by Toto performing Africa. (C) 1982 Sony Music Entertainment Inc.

Who Controls Africa? (part 1/5)

We begin the chapter by one of the great powers in Africa, women. They are the ones who educate children, which remain when they leave, the guardians of the ...

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1000000 videos foundNext > 

135258172 news items


Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:26:15 -0800

Ebola has killed more than 5,450 people in West Africa since March in the disease's worst outbreak on record, striking hardest in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, which are among the world's least developed countries. "By far and away what is needed ...

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal
Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:24:51 -0800

The medical moon suit—which has come to symbolize the Ebola epidemic—is in short supply. Only a handful of manufacturers make the medical garb that doctors and ordinary people in West Africa need to protect themselves from the bodily fluids that ...

BBC News

BBC News
Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:33:45 -0800

The male grooming and beauty industry is booming in South Africa, with products now targeting a new audience - black men, as the BBC's Milton Nkosi finds out. I have never had a facial before. For me, it sounds like something a woman might do.

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal
Tue, 25 Nov 2014 03:06:21 -0800

JOHANNESBURG—South Africa's economy expanded less than expected in the third quarter, putting the continent's most developed economy among other big emerging-market peers that are failing to bring about a hoped-for global recovery. Gross domestic ...

Independent Online

Financial Times
Wed, 26 Nov 2014 03:26:15 -0800

Carlyle, one of the world's largest private equity groups, has made its first investment in South Africa just days after announcing its maiden deal in Nigeria. The buyout house has acquired TiAuto, a vehicle tyre and parts retailer in Johannesburg ...

BBC Sport

BBC Sport
Wed, 26 Nov 2014 01:50:59 -0800

Full-back Willie le Roux and wings Cornal Hendricks and Lwazi Mvovo return to the South Africa side to face Wales on Saturday. Coach Heyneke Meyer makes five changes to his starting XV with prop Tendai Mtawarira and hooker Bismarck du Plessis also ...


New York Times
Tue, 25 Nov 2014 02:19:52 -0800

Pepkor, which was founded in 1965, operates retail stores in Africa, Australia and Eastern Europe, with about 63 percent of its revenue coming from South Africa. The retailer posted revenue of 38.2 billion rand in the 2014 fiscal year, which ended in June.


Tue, 25 Nov 2014 05:41:15 -0800

Ebola would have been a chance to start differentiating Africa. Yet, we're doing quite the opposite. We continue to look at Africa as one country. We act as if the whole continent is contaminated. And most sadly, outside Africa we stigmatize Africans ...

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