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Africa

Africa is the second biggest continent and is situated along the Boreal and Austral hemispheres, as its territory is divided by the EQUATOR. Africa is washed by the Mediterranean Sea to the north; to the east side by the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The two oceans meet in Cape Agulhas. The continent is entirely surrounded by water except for the Isthmus of Suez which connects the continent to Asia. Africa is separated from Europe by the Strait of Gibraltar.

States of North Africa: Western Sahara (nowadays is occupied by Morocco), Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lybia and Egypt.

NORTH AFRICA

North Africa is crossed by the TROPIC OF CANCER. The 90% of the territory is occupied by the Sahara Desert (slightly smaller than Europe and the biggest of the world within the sandy category) and is characterized by a hot and dry climate. In the South Region of Sahara, there are the following uplands: AHAGGAR, TASSILI MOUNTAINS and the TIBESTI. The area of North Africa also includes the Libyan Desert. The only river is the NILE. The region is made up of five states (see the map above), and the main cities are: RABAT, TUNIS, CAIRO, ALGIERS and TRIPOLI.

RABAT, TUNIS, CAIRO, ALGIERS and TRIPOLI.

Morocco

Its territory is dominated by the Atlas Mountains. From this range comes the majority of the rivers of the country such as Moulouya, Sbou and Oum-er-Rbia which are not navigable. To the South the territory is occupied by the Sahara Desert. Climate is tipically Mediterranean along the coastline while arid in the center and cold on the elevations.

IN MOROCCO COHABIT TWO ETHNIC GROUPS: BERBERS AND ARABIAN SINCE THE ANCIENT TIMES (VII CENTURY).

Sahara Desert

The 90% of the population is Muslim and they all speak Arabic. Other sponken languages are French and Berber dialects.

Econimic development: the economy has recently increased, but there are still many differences among people living in the cities and in countryside. Nowadays tourism is the pillar of the Morrocan economy which gives better job opportunities to the 40% of the population.

The capital of Morocco is Rabat. The other important cities are Casablanca ( with three million of inhabitants), then Fès, Marrakech, Meknès which together with Rabat are called the IMPERIAL CITIES. Other relevant cities are Agadir and Tangier.

Egypt

Egypt physical map

Geographically the Peninsula of the Sinai belongs to Asia. It is arid and hostes Mount Sinai and Katharina Peak.

Mount Sinai

An immense desert is split by the Nile river

Egypt bordes with Israel to the north-east and with the Palestine Territory of Gaza Strip, with Sudan to the south and to the west with Lybia. It is touched by the Mediterranean Sea to the North and to the East by the Red Sea. The territory of Egypt is one of the driest of Africa: the 95% is occupied by the Sahara Desert which is called in different ways such as Lybian Desert, Wester Desert (including the Qattara Depression) to the West, Easter Desert or Arabian and the Nubian Desert to the south. The remaining 5% is extremelly fertile as is occupied by the Nile Valley and Delta and by the oasis of the Western Desert.

Kharga Oasis (Wester Desert)
Giza Pyramids, Egyptian flag, Nile River Valley, Cairo (scenic view) and Nile River

Nile river is fed by many tributaries and crosses several countries; its delta is in the Mediterranean Sea. The river turns the surrouniding soil fertile and arable creating the silt. Climate is mostly arid but turns into Mediterranean along the coast.

Red Sea (seabed)

Egypt is on of the most populated countries in Africa; however the entire population is concetrated in the territory of the Valley and Delta of the Nile river, the coast and the oasis. Main cities are Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said, Suez and Assuan. Egyptian are the major ethnic group then there are the Nubians and the Bebers. The official language is Arabic, but French and English are widespeard as well. The majority of Egyptian people is Muslim (90%) while the 10% Christian.

Luxor
The economic situation is complicated due to the unemployment, poverty and public debt.

Sub-Saharan Region

This area is indicated under the name of sub-Saharan Africa and is situated to the South of the Sahara Desert which overcomes the Equator, stretching from West to East from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea and to the Indian Ocean. The region borders with Morocco, Algeria, Lybia and Egypt to the North and to the South with Angola, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. The side located to the extreme North of the Region is called Sahel, which consistes in a wide semi-arid strip below the Sahara. The Western side of the Region is characterized by a large valley overlooking the Gulf of Guinea.

Gulf of Guinea map
Horn of Africa, Map

The Eastern side of the Region is called Horn of Africa and it is a big peninsula washed by both the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean

The Rift Valley is a deep rift of the earth's crust which goes from the Red Sea to Mozambique which hostes several big lakes.

The Great Rift Valley
Nakuru Lake in Kenya and the flamencos
The mountains of Kilimangiaro, Batu and Kenya which are the highest elevations of the Region

It is a region devastated by the wars: after the colonialism the Region was territory of several conflicts among the vary ethnies especially for the control of the natural sources. Often children have been involved into the conflicts.

child-soldiers

The majority of the people works in the primary sector: a small part of the farmers works in the plantation

Children working in a plantation
NIGERIA
Physical map of Nigeria

The territory is rich in water

Nigeria borders to the north with Niger, to the north east with Chad, to the east with Camerun and to the west with Benin. It faces the Gulf of Guinea to the south. Nigeria is rich in water and the main river is the Niger with is tributary Benue. The biggest lake is Lake Chad shared with Niger, Chad and Camerun

The territory can be divided in two different regions
  • The Northern Region characterized by the Jos Plateau and by other elevation that are natural borders with Camerun;
  • the Southern Region, mainly flat.

Along the coasts there are many lagoons, the largest is Lagos.

Slum in Lagos

Climate varies along the territory in fact it is tropical on the coast, where the territory is dominated by the rain forest, and arid in the center where there is the savanna

The savanna

Nigeria is the most populated country of Africa and its population is young; the capital city is Abuja and the second most important is Lagos.

In Nigeria there are different ethnic groups: Hausa and Fulani who are Muslim; the other groups the Yoruba and the Ibo who are Christian. In addition to these main religions there are animist beliefs
The official language is English but every ethnic group has its own dialect; the 39% of the population is illiterate.

South Africa

Map of South Africa
Pictures of South Africa

Borders, climate and rivers

South Africa is bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to the North, by the Indian Ocean to the East and by the Atlantic Ocean to the West. It is four times as big as Italy and is divided in three main natural regions: plateaus, mountains and plains. The main rivers are the Orange and the Limpopo. Climate is temperate.

Demographics, religion and language

South Africa is a unique array of ethnic groups. The 9.6% of the population is represented by white descendants from English, Dutch and French colonists. The 78.5% is formed by black Bantu tribes while the remaining 12% is made up of San, Zulu tribes and a dense Asian community. Christianity is the most widespread religion and the 20% of the population is practicing Animism.

In South Africa there are 11 official languages and the most common are English and Afrikaans.

Table Mountain, Cape Town

Apartheid

Pictures describing the Apartheid (separation)

In South Africa, a system of racial segregation called Apartheid was enforced by the government between 1948 and 1994, created by the descendants of Dutch and English colonists in South Africa. The Apartheid was a system of laws centered on separating races; black people were deprived of basic civil rights such as the right to vote, personal freedom and private property.

The system collapsed in 1994 and was condemned by the United Nations and by all countries, both Africa and all over the world. Since that date black people were allowed to create political parties and to vote; the most important party was the one led by Nelson Mandela who was an anti-apartheid peace activist for 30 years, who became the first black president of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela is today a universal symbol for PEACE, FREEDOM and BROTHERHOOD

Nelson Mandela was arrested by the system in 1963 and kept in prison for 27 years where he studied and took is law degree.

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