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Portal:Africa

Related subjects African Geography; Countries; Portals

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Africa

Location on the world map
Satellite map of Africa

Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 30,221,532 km² (11,668,599 sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers 20.4% of the Earth's total land area, and with over 900 million inhabitants in 61 territories, it accounts for about 14% of the world's human population. Modern human evolutionary theory recognizes Africa, particular the area in and around present-day Ethiopia, as the cradle of humankind.

The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas and is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones. Because of the lack of natural regular precipitation and irrigation as well as glaciers or mountain aquifer systems, there is no natural moderating effect on the climate except near the coasts.

Featured article

Coat of arms of Nigeria

The music of Nigeria includes many kinds of folk and popular music, some of which are known worldwide. Styles of folk music are related to the multitudes of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own techniques, instruments, and songs. Little is known about the country's music history prior to European contact, although bronze carvings dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries have been found depicting musicians and their instruments.

Nigeria has been called "the heart of African music" because of its role in the development of West African highlife and palm-wine music, which fuses native rhythms with techniques imported from the Congo for the development of several popular styles that were unique to Nigeria, like apala, fuji, jùjú, and Yo-pop. Subsequently, Nigerian musicians created their own styles of United States hip-hop and Jamaican reggae.

Nigeria has some of the most advanced recording studio technology in Africa, and provides robust commercial opportunities for music performers. However, political corruption and rampant music piracy in Nigeria has hampered the industry's growth.

Featured picture

A Kirby's Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) in Tsumeb, Namibia
Photo credit:

Trithemis kirbyi is a species of dragonfly in the family Libellulidae found across most of Africa. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, dry savanna, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, subtropical or tropical moist shrubland, rivers, and inland karsts.


Did you know ...

  • ... that a 20-day study reported by BirdLife International discovered 265 species of birds in Nki National Park?
  • ... that Liberia College in the country of Liberia was authorized by the legislature in 1851, but did not start classes until 1863?
  • ... that the forced removal of 700,000 people from slums in Zimbabwe in 2005 was called "a crime against humanity" by the UN?
  • ... that the supreme god of the southern African Bushmen is Cagn, a trickster who shapeshifts into a praying mantis?

Featured biography

Major Frederick Russell Burnham, DSO

Frederick Russell Burnham, DSO ( 11 May 1861 1 September 1947), was an American scout and world traveling adventurer known for his service to the British Army in colonial Africa and for teaching woodcraft to Robert Baden-Powell, thus becoming one of the inspirations for the founding of the international Scouting Movement.

Burnham had little formal education, attending but never graduating high school. He began his career at 14 in the American Southwest as a scout and tracker. Burnham then went to Africa where this background proved useful. He soon became an officer in the British Army, serving in several battles there. During this time, Burnham became friends with Baden-Powell, and passed on to him both his outdoor skills and his spirit for what would later become known as Scouting.

Burnham eventually moved on to become involved in espionage, oil, conservation, writing and business. His descendants are still active in Scouting.


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