Portal:Africa
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Portal:Africa
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Satellite map of Africa
Location of Africa on the world map

Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.3 billion people as of 2018, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. Africa's population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Despite a wide range of natural resources, Africa is the least wealthy continent per capita, in part due to geographic impediments, legacies of European colonization in Africa and the Cold War, undemocratic rule and deleterious policies. Despite this low concentration of wealth, recent economic expansion and the large and young population make Africa an important economic market in the broader global context.

Africa straddles the Equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Africa is home to much biodiversity; it is the continent with the largest number of megafauna species, as it was least affected by the extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna. However, Africa also is heavily affected by a wide range of environmental issues, including desertification, deforestation, water scarcity, and other issues. These entrenched environmental concerns are expected to worsen as climate change impacts Africa. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified Africa as the continent most vulnerable to climate change.

Africa, particularly Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), meaning that Africa has a long and complex history. The earliest hominids and their ancestors have been dated to around 7 million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster-- the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) remains, found in Ethiopia, South Africa, and Morocco, date to circa 200,000, 259,000, and 300,000 years ago respectively, and Homo sapiens is believed to have originated in Africa around 350,000-260,000 years ago.

Early human civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Phoenicia emerged in North Africa. Following a subsequent long and complex history of civilizations, migration and trade, Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. The last 400 years have witnessed an increasing European influence on the continent. Starting in the 16th century, this was driven by trade, including the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, which created large African diaspora populations in the Americas. In the late 19th century, European countries colonized almost all of Africa, extracting resources from the continent and exploiting local communities; most present states in Africa emerged from a process of decolonisation in the 20th century. (Full article...)


For a topic outline on this subject, see List of basic Africa topics.

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The Church of Saint George, one of many churches hewn into the rocky hills of Lalibela

Lalibela (Amharic: ?) is a town in Lasta Amhara Region, Ethiopia famous for its rock-cut monolithic churches. The whole of Lalibela is a large antiquity of the medieval and post-medieval civilization of Ethiopia. To Christians, Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities, second only to Axum, and a center of pilgrimage. Unlike Axum, the population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian.

Ethiopia was one of the earliest nations to adopt Christianity in the first half of the 4th century, and its historical roots date to the time of the Apostles. The churches themselves date from the 7th to 13th centuries, and are traditionally dated to the reign of the Zagwe king Gebre Mesqel Lalibela (r. ca. 1181-1221). (Full article...)
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Boy with fodder on bicycle
Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

A Tanzanian boy transports fodder on his bicycle, to feed cattle. In agriculture, fodder or animal feed is any foodstuff that is used specifically to feed domesticated livestock, such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. Most animal feed is from plants but some is of animal origin. "Fodder" refers particularly to food given to the animals (including plants cut and carried to them), rather than that which they forage for themselves (see forage). It includes hay, straw, silage, compressed and pelleted feeds, oils and mixed rations, and also sprouted grains and legumes.

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Wole Soyinka in 2018

Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka (Yoruba: Akínwándé Olúwo?lé Babátúndé S?óyíinká; born 13 July 1934), known as Wole Soyinka (pronounced [w?lé ?ój?nká]), is a Nigerian playwright, poet and essayist in the English language. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first sub-Saharan African to be honoured in that category. Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta. In 1954, he attended Government College in Ibadan, and subsequently University College Ibadan and the University of Leeds in England. After studying in Nigeria and the UK, he worked with the Royal Court Theatre in London. He went on to write plays that were produced in both countries, in theatres and on radio. He took an active role in Nigeria's political history and its struggle for independence from Great Britain. In 1965, he seized the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service studio and broadcast a demand for the cancellation of the Western Nigeria Regional Elections. In 1967, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was arrested by the federal government of General Yakubu Gowon and put in solitary confinement for two years.

Soyinka has been a strong critic of successive Nigerian (and African at large) governments, especially the country's many military dictators, as well as other political tyrannies, including the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. Much of his writing has been concerned with "the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it". During the regime of General Sani Abacha (1993-98), Soyinka escaped from Nigeria on a motorcycle via the "NADECO Route." Abacha later proclaimed a death sentence against him "in absentia." With civilian rule restored to Nigeria in 1999, Soyinka returned to his nation. (Full article...)
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Flag of the Republic of Benin
Coat of arms of Benin
Location of Benin

Benin, officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in Western Africa, formerly known as Dahomey (until 1975). It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north; its short coastline to the south leads to the Bight of Benin. Its capital is Porto Novo, but the seat of government is Cotonou. Its politics takes place in the framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Benin is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system.

The name "Benin" has no proper connection to Kingdom of Benin (or Benin City). The name Dahomey was changed in 1975 to The People's Republic of Benin, named after the body of water on which the country lies, the Bight of Benin. This name was picked due to its neutrality, since the current political boundaries of Benin encompass over fifty distinct linguistic groups and nearly as many individual ethnic groups. The name Dahomey was the name of the ancient Fon Kingdom, and was determined to be an inappropriate name. (Read more...)

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Street scenes in Bangui

Bangui (French pronunciation: ​[bi]) (or Bangî in Sango, formerly written Bangi in English) is the capital and largest city of the Central African Republic. it had an estimated population of 734,350. It was established as a French outpost in 1889 and named after its location on the northern bank of the Ubangi River (French: Oubangui); the Ubangi itself was named from the Bobangi word for the "rapids" located beside the settlement, which marked the end of navigable water north from Brazzaville. The majority of the population of the Central African Republic lives in the western parts of the country, in Bangui and the surrounding area.

The city forms an autonomous commune (commune autonome) of the Central African Republic which is surrounded by the Ombella-M'Poko prefecture. With an area of 67 square kilometres (26 sq mi), the commune is the smallest high-level administrative division in the country, but the highest in terms of population. The city consists of eight urban districts (arrondissements), 16 groups (groupements) and 205 neighbourhoods (quartiers). As the capital of the Central African Republic, Bangui acts as an administrative, trade, and commercial centre. It is served by the Bangui M'Poko International Airport. The National Assembly, government buildings, banks, foreign enterprises and embassies, hospitals, hotels, main markets and the Ngaragba Central Prison are all located here. Bangui manufactures textiles, food products, beer, shoes and soap. Its Notre-Dame Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bangui. The city is also home to the University of Bangui, inaugurated in 1970. (Full article...)

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