The continent of Africa has a total area of 30.3 million km ² (22% of the total land surface of the Earth) and is inhabited by just over one billion people (2009). According to the Out-of-Africa theory is Africa as the ” cradle of mankind “, where in the course of hominization the development of modern humans took place. After a very eventful history of one of the earliest civilizations of mankind in ancient Egypt about the formation of different, since the Middle Ages, Muslim empires and the subsequent colonization by European States (the ” scramble for Africa “) formed in the wake of decolonization in the 20th Century are largely valid today borders. These are rarely congruent with the areas inhabited by the numerous, often very heterogeneous peoples of Africa, which may contribute to various conflicts and wars. While the African countries in the world economy do not play a major role, are the natural resources and the arable land of the continent of growing importance and in isolated regions to new, especially economic influence of industrial and emerging economiesafrica continental
In the ancient world called the Latin name for Africa , the only area of the same Roman province in what is now Tunisia , the continent (North Africa, initially west of the Nile) was in ancient times often Libya called. The name Africa was the Roman senator and general Scipio Africanus (conqueror of Carthage ) first used and could be derived or from a native tribe on the Phoenician afar (“dust”), the Greek aphrike (“unkalt”), the Latin aprica (” sunny “) or the Latin word Afer (plural: Africa ) are based, which means “means Africans, Punic.” Less commonly used names for the continent are black continent , the cradle of life , or very rarely third continent (of Europe counted).africa desert
Africa is on the north by the Mediterranean Sea , the west by the Atlantic Ocean to the east by the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea surrounded. The coastline is 30.49 thousand km, which is compared with the large area of relatively little. The only land link to other land masses, or to Eurasia , is the Sinai , between Africa and the Arabian peninsula lies. Europe is Africa at the Straits of Gibraltar and the Strait of Sicily on the next. The southernmost point of Africa is Cape Agulhas at 34 ° 50 ‘South. The African continent is divided just slightly, he has less of peninsulas and islands than any other continent.
Due to its location on both sides of the equator , and its compact form Africa has the largest contiguous land mass of the tropics . 75% of the area of Africa lie within the tropics , which are the mathematical tropical border. The majority of Central and West Africa, from tropical rain forest covered, the Congo Basin is the second largest after the Amazon rain forest area in the world. To large deserts, the tropics have emerged, the Sahara to the north is only by the river oasis of the Nile is interrupted, in the south are the Namib as a fog desert and the Kalahari as a dry savanna . South of the Sahara ( Sahel ) and in East Africa down to South Africa there are vast areas of savannah . In the area of two annual rainfall maxima spread the dry forests and ecosystems fire from, for example, mopane , miombo or Chipya vegetation. Southeastern Africa is due to the influence of the monsoon and the great valleys of the Zambezi and Limpopo fertile. The smallest state on the mainland, Gambia , is about the size of Cyprus and the largest, Algeria , about seven times as large as Germany. The largest island of Madagascar , off the southeast coast of Africa to the Indian Ocean lies (Indian Ocean).african lion african elephant africa sunset