Did You Know That… ?
– The name Africa came into Western use through the Romans, who used the name Africa terra – “land of the Afri” (plural, or “Afer” singular) – for the northern part of the continent, as the province of Africa with its capital Carthage, corresponding to modern-day Tunisia. The Afri were a tribe – possibly Berber – who dwelt in North Africa in the Carthage area. The origin of Afer may be connected with Phoenician ‘afar‘ – dust.
– Africa is the oldest inhabited territory on earth, with the human species originating from the continent. During the middle of the twentieth century, anthropologists discovered many fossils and evidence of human occupation perhaps as early as 7 million years ago.
– Africa is the world’s second-largest continent, after Asia. At about 30,370,000 km2 (11,730,000 mi2) including adjacent islands, it covers 6.0% of the Earth’s total surface area, and 20.4% of the total land area.
– Africa is also the world’s second-most populous continent, after Asia. With more than 840,000,000 people (as of 2005) in 61 territories, it accounts for more than 12% of the world’s human population.
– Africa is home to 53 independent countries, which mostly still have the borders drawn during the era of European colonialism.
– Africa’s largest country is Sudan, and its smallest country is the Seychelles, an archipelago off the east coast. The smallest nation on the continental mainland is The Gambia.
– Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, is the most populous city in Africa. It has a metropolitan area population of approximately 15.2 million people.
– From the most northerly point, Ras ben Sakka in Tunisia, in 37°21′ N, to the most southerly point, Cape Agulhas in South Africa, 34°51’15” S, is a distance approximately of 8,000 km (5,000 miles); from Cape Verde, 17°33’22” W, the westernmost point, to Ras Hafun in Somalia, 51°27’52” E, the most easterly projection, is a distance (also approximately) of 7,400 km (4,600 miles).
– Africa’s highest point is Mount Kilimanjaro – Uhuru Peak on the volcano Kibo – (5895 m / 19,321 ft) in Tanzania.
– The Sahara is the world’s largest hot desert, over 9,000,000 km2 (3,500,000 mi2), almost as large as the United States. The Sahara is located in northern Africa and is 2.5 million years old.
– Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the is the world’s second-largest freshwater lake. It covers an area of 68,800 square kilometres (26,560 mi2).
– The Nile is accepted by most authorities as being the longest river on Earth. It is 6690 km or 4157 miles long.
– Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa is believed to be one of the oldest mountains in the world.
– Thera are over 3,000 protected areas in Africa, including 198 Marine Protected Areas, 50 Biosphere Reserves, 129 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 80 RAMSAR “Wetlands of International Importance”.
– The Serengeti (Tanzania) hosts the world’s largest wildlife migration on Earth with over 750,000 zebra marching ahead of 1.2 million wildebeest as they cross this amazing landscape.
– The climate of Africa ranges from tropical to subarctic on its highest peaks. Its northern half is primarily desert or arid, while its central and southern areas contain both savanna plains and very dense jungle (rainforest) regions. In between, there is a convergence where vegetation patterns such as sahel, and steppe dominate.
– Africa boasts perhaps the world’s largest combination of highest density and “range of freedom” of wild animal populations and diversity, with wild populations of large carnivores (such as lions, hyenas, and cheetahs) and herbivores (such as buffalo, deer, elephants, and giraffes) ranging freely on primarily open nonprivate plains, as well as jungle creatures (including snakes and primates) and aquatic life (crocodiles and amphibians, for example).
– Africa contains well over a thousand languages, some have estimated it to be over two thousand languages (most of African rather than European origin). Africa is the most polyglot continent in the world.
– Approximately 46.3% of all Africans are Christians and another 40.5% are Muslims.