South Africa

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As for Africa, scientists have formerly concluded that it is the birthplace of mankind, as large numbers of human-like fossils (discovered no where else) were found on the continent, some dating back 3.5 million years. About 1.75 million years ago, early man spread throughout parts of Africa. They became aggressive hunters, lived in caves and used fire and their ability to create stone tools just to survive. The Neanderthals arose some 200,000 years ago and inhabited regions in northern Africa and across parts of southern Europe. There is also clear evidence eviden ce that they had control of fire, lived in caves, as well as open-air structures of stone and vegetation. One of the most important developments of primitive man was the creation of stone tools. By By 5000 BC farming was somewhat common in the northern areas of Africa, as people were Sahara Desert Desert  was a fertile area. growing crops and herding livestock. During that time the theSahara In 3200 BC the Egyptian culture emerged along the lower reaches of the  the  Nile Nile River;  River; it was among the earliest civilizations and their tools and weapons were made of bronze. They also  pioneered the building of massive pyramids and temples. Egyptians also developed mathematics, an innovative innova tive system of medicine, irrigation and agricultural production techniques, writing and the first ships. In short, the Egyptians Eg yptians left a lasting legacy upon the world. Around 600 BC the use of o f metal tools spread across small population bases and farming groups in North Africa, and their use gradually spread south sou th into what is now called South Sou th Africa. Lebanon  who spread across The Phoenicians were an enterprising maritime trading culture from  from  Lebanon the  Mediterranean  the Mediterranean from 1550 BC to 300 BC. In 814 BC, they founded the city of Carthage in what is now  now Tunisia  Tunisia in north Africa; only to be destroyed de stroyed by the Romans in 146 BC. Meanwhile, the Egyptians continued to spread their thei r culture across Northern Africa, and kingdoms were created in  in Ethiopia  Ethiopia and  and Sudan.  Sudan. The then-growing Roman Empire continued to expand its influence, and in 30 BC Egypt became a province of Rome; Morocco the same in 42 AD. Before the Middle Ages began, the Roman Empire collapsed and the Arabs quickly took their   place on the continent. In 698-700 they invaded  invaded  Tunis  Tunis and Carthage and soon controlled all of  coastal North Africa. The Arabs were Muslims, and most of North Africa converted to Islam;  Ethiopia Islam; Ethiopia  was the exception. Soon kingdoms emerged in Africa; they traded with the Arabs using gold plus a valuable commodity - slaves. One of the first kingdoms was  was  Ghana, Ghana,  located in what is now southeastern


Mauritania and western Mali. The empire grew rich from the trans-Saharan trade in gold and salt, but then lost its power in the 11th century. andMali. Mali.  Both Additional kingdoms developed across the continent, continen t, including those in in  Benin  Benin and  became rich by trading in gold, horse salt, and of course, slaves. And like most kingdoms before them on any continent, they were invaded and in the end destroyed. Mogadishu, the now largest city in  in  Somalia,  Somalia, was settled by Arabs who traveled and traded on the east coast of Africa. The Arabs' reach extended ex tended to  to Zanzibar, Zanzibar,  which was used as a base for  and India.  India.  voyages between the  the Middle East  East and  As other organized kingdoms were formed in central and southern Africa, the Portuguese began to explore the western coast of Africa. By B y 1445 they reached th theeCape Verde Islands Islands  and the the River Congo Congoiin 1482. They even sailed around the  the  Cape of  coast of  Senegal,  Senegal, and the mouth of the  Good Hope.  Hope.  The continent-changing 16th Century Cen tury began with Europeans transporting African slaves to the Americas for profit. A slave purchased on the African coast for the equivalent of 14 En English glish  pounds in bartered goods could sell for 45 pounds in the American market. The best-known method of commerce at the time was called the Triangular Trading System. It involved involve dBritish  British and other European countries' manufactured goods which were shipped to Indies  and then sugar and other products back to Africa, then slaves from there to the  the  West Indies Europe. At the same time, Barbary pirates along the North African coast captured thousands of ships. From the 16th to 19th century, an estimated 800,000 to 1.25 million people were taken captive as slaves. The pirates' impact on the continent, however, peaked in the early to mid-17th century. As tales of African riches spread north, the Europeans founded their first real colonies in the early 16th century, when the  the Portuguese  Portuguese settled in what is nowAngola. now Angola.  Later, the Dutch founded a colony in what is now  now South Africa.  Africa.  Strong movements to end slavery began in the late 18th century.  century. France France   became became one of the first countries to abolish slavery in 1794. Britain banned bann ed slave trade in 1807, but it was not officially abolished for good until 1848. In some parts of Africa, slave-like practices continue to this day and have proven difficult to eliminate. Wholesale colonization of Africa by European countries began in 1814 when the theBritish British  snatched the Dutch Colony of South Africa. Carved up like a large pie, the Dutch,  French,  French, Germans  Germans and  and Portuguese  Portuguese grabbed all of the available pieces. Brits,  Dutch, Brits, to Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe,  and from from  Botswana Botswana  to Niger,   Niger, the By the end of the 19th century, from  from Algeria  Algeria to  continent was now all but controlled by European powers. In the early 20th century the land grab continued as the British took control of  Egypt. Egypt.  


By 1920, the forced occupation of African lands began to sour in  in Europe,  Europe, and change was in the wind. Africans were also driven by their passionate desire for independence indepen dence and the movement movemen t for same became unstoppable. By mid-century mid-centur y most of the continent was independent, with Angola finally free in 1975. Self-government brought more than its share of civil wars, coup d'états and ethnic conflicts to the newly emerged countries. Add to that mix some horrible genocides, along with famines and outof-control disease (HIV/AIDS), and Africa was teetering on the edge, and in many areas still does today. Although Africa remains the world's poorest inhabited continent, there are many bright spots in this land of over one billion people and its 2,000 + languages. Significant economic and social gains have taken place over the last few years, with  with South Africa,   Nigeria,  Africa, Nigeria, Morocco  Morocco and  and Egypt  Egypt leading the way. The largest segments of modern Africa's economies are agriculture a griculture and mining, with tourism growing in some areas. Manufacturing industries have grown large enough to ship products across the planet, and the oil export revenues of  Angola,Libya  Angola,Libya and and   Nigeria  Nigeria have the potential to change the lives of millions. Today the 54 countries of Africa have great potential, but this question must be asked: "Can it change soon enough to meet the needs of its people?" We can only hope so. AFRICA MAP: largest continent and the second most-populous continent co ntinent (after Asia) Africa, the planet's 2nd largest  includes (54)  (54) individual countries, and Western Sahara, a member state of o f the African Union whose statehood is disputed by Morocco. Note that South Sudan is the continent's newest country. With a 2011 population of 1,032,532,974, 1 ,032,532,974, it accounts for just over 14% of the world's human  population. It also contains the  the Nile River system, the world's longest, and the massive  massive  Sahara Desert, the world's largest. the Suez Canal and the the  Red Africa is surrounded by the  the  Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the  the Indian Ocean to the east and southeast, and Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the  the  Atlantic Ocean to the west. the AFRICA GEOGRAPHY FACTS:

For additional geography details please use the yellow navigation bar at the top o off this page.       

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Algeria Algeria  is Africa's largest country   The Seychelles Seychelles  are Africa's smallest country Nigeria Nigeria  is Africa's largest country by population Seychelles  are Africa's smallest country by population The Seychelles



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Africa's highest point is Mt Kilimanjaro  Kilimanjaro  in Tanzania  Tanzania  Africa's lowest point is Lake Assal  Assal  in Djibouti  Djibouti  AFRICA GEOGRAPHY NOTES:

Two of Africa's most interesting geographical features are the Nile River System and Sahara Desert; both impressive in so many ways. lon gest river in the world at Nile River System: The Nile is a north-flowing river considered the longest 6,650 km (4,130 mi) long. It is shared by and benefits ben efits eleven countries. The White Nile and Blue  Nile are its major tributaries. The White Nile Nile is longer and rises in the Great Lakes region of  central Africa, flowing north from  from Tanzania to  to South Sudan. The Blue Nile is the source of  most of the water and both rivers join near Khartoum, Khartoum,Sudan The northern section of the river  that at flows almost entirely through desert, from Sudan into  into  Egypt. The Nile ends in a large delta th empties into the  the Mediterranean Sea.  the third largest desert after Antarctica and the Sahara Desert: It's the world's hottest desert, the  Arctic, and almost as large as China. Covering Co vering almost one-third of the continent, the Sahara is the largest desert in the world at approximately app roximately 3,500,000 sq. miles (9,065,000 sq. km) in total size. Topography includes areas of rock-strewn rock -strewn plains, rolling sand dunes and numerous sand seas. It ranges in elevation from 100 ft. below sea level, to peaks in the Ahaggar and  and  Tibesti Mountains,  that exceed 11,000 ft. (3,350m). Regional deserts include the Libyan, Nubian and the Western desert of Egypt, just to the west of the Nile. Almost completely without rainfall, a few underground rivers flow from the  the Atlas Mountains, helping to irrigate isolated oases. In the east, the waters of the Nile help fertilize smaller parts of the landscape.

Fast facts  

Namesake: The name Africa came into Western use through the Romans, who used the name Africa terra "land of the Afri" for the northern part of the continent. Afri may possibly refer to a tribe that inhabited North Africa.   Major Languages: By most estimates, well over a thousand languages lan guages are spoken in Africa. Most are of African origin, though some are of European or Asian origin. Africa is the most multilingual continent in the world, and it is not rare for individuals to fluently speak not only onl y multiple African languages, but one or more European Europ ean ones as well.

Details on specific African languages   Population: 1,032,532,974 (2011 estimate) Africa is the second most populous continent, after Asia.   Population Density: 30.5 per sq km (80 per sq mi)


  Largest African Countries By Populations: (2012 UN estimates)



Nigeria: 166,629,000 Ethiopia: 86,539,000 Egypt: 83,958,000 Congo, DRC: 69,575,000 South Africa: 50,738,000 Tanzania: 47,656,000 Sudan: 45,722,000 Kenya: 42,749,000


Algeria: 36,486,000 Uganda: 35,621,000 Morocco: 32,599,000 Ghana: 25,546,000 Mozambique: 24,475,000 Cote d'Ivoire: 20,595,000 Cameroon: 20,469,000 Angola: 20,163,000

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Continent Size: 30,221,532 sq km, 11,668,599 sq miles The only continent larger in area is Asia   Percent of Earth's Land: 12.7%   Highest Point: Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, 19,341 ft (5,895m) (see map)  map) 

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Lowest Point: Lake Assal, Djibouti (-512 ft) (-156 m) (see map)  map)  Geographic Center: The geographic center of Africa A frica is located within Lobeke National Park in map)   far southeastern Cameroon at 2° 37' N 16° 06' 06 ' E. (see map)   Horizontal Width: 4,355 miles (7,009 km) from Dakar, Senegal, east to Mogadishu, Somalia (see map) map)     Vertical Length: 4,504 miles (7,248 km) from Cape Town, South Africa north to Tripoli, map)   Libya: (see map)   

 Note: Lengths and widths are point-to-point, straight-line measurements measurements and will vary some using other map projections.  projections.  Largest African Countries: (by land area) 


Algeria: 2,381,741 sq km



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Congo, DRC: 2,344,858 sq km Sudan: 1,861,484 sq km Libya: 1,759,540 sq km Chad: 1,284,000 sq km


Niger: 1,267,000 sq km Angola: 1,246,700 sq km   Mali: 1,240,192 sq km   South Africa: 1,221.037 sq km   Ethiopia: 1,104,300 sq km

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Atlas Mountains:  This mountain system runs from southwestern Morocco along the Mediterranean coastline to the eastern edge of Tunisia. Several smaller ranges are included, namely the High Atlas, Middle Atlas and Maritime Atlas. The highest peak is Mt. Toubkal To ubkal in western Morocco at 13,671 ft. (4,167 m).

Congo River Basin:   of central Africa dominates the landscape of the Democratic The Congo River Basin Republic of the Congo and much of neighboring Congo. In addition, it stretches into Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Zambia. The fertile basin is about 1,400,000 sq. miles (3,600,000 sq. km) in size and contains almost 20% of the world's rain forest. The Congo River is the second longest lon gest river in Africa, and it's network of  rivers, tributaries and streams help link the people and cities of the interior.  

Ethiopian Highlands:  The Ethiopian Highlands are a rugged mass of o f mountains in Ethiopia, Eritrea (which is sometimes referred to as the Eritrean Highlands), and northern Somalia in the th e Horn of  Africa. The Ethiopian Highlands form the largest continuous area of o f its altitude in the

whole continent, with little of its surface falling below 1500 m (4,921 ft), while the summits reach heights of up to 4550 m (14,928 ft). It is sometimes called the Roof of  Africa for its height and large area. Great Rift Valley:  A dramatic depression on the earth's surface, approximately 4,000 miles (6,400 km) in length, extends from the Red Sea area near Jordan in the Middle East, south to the African country of Mozambique. In essence, it's a series of geological faults caused by huge volcanic eruptions centuries back, that subsequently created what we now call the Ethiopian Highlands, and a series of perpendicular cliffs, mountain ridges, rugged valleys and very deep lakes along alon g it's entire length. Many of Africa's highest mountains front the Rift Valley, including Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and Mount Margherita.


Hoggar (Ahaggar) Mountains:  The Hoggar Mountains, also known as the Ahaggar, are a highland region in central Sahara, or southern Algeria, along the Tropic of Cancer. They are located about 1,500 km (900 mi) south of the capital, Algiers and just west of Tamanghasset. Taman ghasset. The region is largely rocky desert with an average altitude of more than 900 metres (2,953 feet) abo above ve sea level. The highest peak is at 3,003 meters (Mount Tahat). Kalahari Desert:  It's about 100,000 sq. miles (259,000 sq. km) in size and covers much of Botswana, the southwestern region of South Africa and all of western we stern Namibia. The desert plateau is criss-crossed by dry rivers beds and dense scrub. A few small mountain ranges are situated here including the Karas and the Huns. Large herds of wildlife are found in the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, located in South So uth Africa near its border with Namibia. Namib Desert:  The Namib is a coastal desert in southern Africa that stretches for more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi) along the Atlantic coasts of Angola, Namibia, N amibia, and South Africa, extending southward from the Carunjamba River in Angola, through Namibia and to the Olifants River in Western Cape, South Africa. From the Atlantic coast eastward, e astward, the Namib gradually ascends in elevation, reaching up to 200 km (120 mi) inland to the foot of the Great Escarpment.

Annual precipitation ranges from 2 mm (0.079 in) in the most arid regions to 200 mm (7.9 in) at the escarpment, making the Namib N amib the only true desert in southern Africa. The  Namib is also the oldest desert in the world and its geology geology consists of sand seas near the coast, while gravel plains and scattered mountain outcrops ou tcrops occur further inland. The desert's sand dunes, some of which are 300 m (980 ft) high and span 32 km (20 mi) long, are the second largest in the world after the Badain Jaran Desert dunes in China Nile River System:  The longest river in the world (flows north), rising from the highlands of southeastern sou theastern

Africa and running about 4,160 miles (6,693 km) in length, to then d drain rain in the Mediterranean Sea. In simple terms it's a series of dams, rapids, streams, swamps, tributaries and waterfalls. Numerous (major) rivers comprise the overall system, including the Albert Nile, Blue Nile, Victoria Nile and White Nile. Sahel:  The Sahel is a wide stretch of land running completely across north-central Africa, just on the southern edges of the ever-expanding Sahara Desert. This border region is the transition zone between the dry areas of the th e north and the tropical areas o off the south. It receives very little rain (six - eight inches a year) and most of the vegetation is a savanna growth of sparse grasses and shrubs.


Sahara Desert:  Covering almost one-third of the continent, the Sahara Sah ara is the largest desert in the world at approximately 3,500,000 sq. miles (9,065,000 sq. km) in total size. Topography includes areas of rock-strew plains, rolling sand dunes and numerous sand seas.

It ranges in elevation from 100 ft. below sea level, to peaks in the Aha Ahaggar ggar and Tibesti mountains that exceed 11,000 ft. (3,350m). (3,350 m). Regional deserts include the Libyan, Nubian and the Western desert of Egypt, just to the west of the Nile. Almost completely without rainfall, a few underground rivers flow from the Atlas Mountains, helping to irrigate isolated oases. In the east, the water's of the th e Nile help fertilize smaller parts of the landscape.

d istance, in degrees, minutes, and seconds Latitude: (shown as a horizontal line) is the angular distance, of a point north or south of the  the  Equator. Lines of latitude are often referred to as parallels. d egrees, minutes, and seconds, Longitude: (shown as a vertical line) is the angular distance, in degrees, of a point east or west of the  the Prime (Greenwich) Meridian. Lines of longitude are often referred to as meridians. map)  "Africa" Latitude and Longitude examples: (see map)  Accra, Ghana:

5° 33' N  / 02° 11' W 

Algiers, Algeria:

36° 45' N  / 3° 2' E 

Cairo, Egypt:

30° 2' N  / 31° 14' E 

Cape Town, South Africa:

33° 55' S  / 18° 25' E 

Dakar, Senegal:

14° 45' N  / 17° 19' W 

Djibouti, Djibouti:

11° 49' N  / 42° 35' E 

Lusaka, Zambia:

15° 24' S  / 28° 17' E 

 Nairobi, Kenya:

1° 17' S  / 36° 49' E 

Windhoek, Namibia:

22° 33' S  / 17° 4' E 

Latitude ( shown  shown as a horizontal line) line) is the angular distance, in degrees, minutes, and seconds of  a point north or south of the Equator. Lines of latitude are often referred to as parallels.

 shown as a vertical line) line) is the angular distance, in degrees, minutes, and seconds, of  Longitude ( shown a point east or west of the Prime P rime (Greenwich (Greenwich)) Meridian. Lines of longitude are often referred to as meridians.


( approximately 25,000 Distance between Lines If you divide the circumference of the earth (approximately miles)) by 360 degrees, the distance on the earth's surface for each one degree of latitude or  miles longitude is just over 69 miles, or 111 km. Note:As you move north or south of the equator, the distance between the lines of longitude gets shorter until they actually meet at the poles. At 45 degrees N or S of the equator, one degree of longitude is about 49 miles. Minutes and Seconds For precision purposes, degrees of longitude and latitude have h ave been divided into minutes (') and seconds ("). There are 60 minutes in each de degree. gree. Each minute is divided into 60 seconds. Seconds can be further divided into tenths, hundredths, or even thousandths.

degrees, egrees, 16 minutes, For example, our office on Galveston Island, Texas, USA, is located at 29 d and 22 seconds north of the equator, and 94 degrees, 49 minutes and 46 seconds west of the Prime Meridian. Relative Location of a city or destination on the planet is its relationship to another place or nearby landmarks.

As an example, our U.S. office is on  on  Galveston Island,located in southeastern Texas in the Gulf of Mexico, about 48 miles southeast of Houston. That's our relative location.

Absolute Location is the definitive location of a place using a recognized coordinate system. In terms of latitude and longitude, our office in Galveston, Texas, T exas, is 29°16'  North, 94°49' West, marked with the red dot on the map above

 A symbol is an idea, abstraction or concept, that has acquired significance as a representation of   something else. Symbols are sometimes completely unrelated to the idea they represent.



Coat of Arms South Africa mask (AFRICA)

Giraffe Southern Afric 

African Timeline:   





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(5 - 2.5 million years ago) Ancient fossils, rocks and skeletal remains uncovered in the Rift Valley (600,000 - 200,000 years ago) Homo Sapiens band together to form nomadic groups; use of fire develops (6000 BC - 4000 BC) River People emerge along Nile, Niger and Congo Rivers; agriculture is spread south of Sahara Desert (3118 BC) Upper and Lower kingdoms of Egypt united by King Menes (2600 BC) First Egyptian pyramid constructed (2500 BC) Civilizations in Mesopotamia and Egypt flourish (1370 BC) Queen Nefertiti and Akhenaten reign over Egypt (814 BC) City of Carthage founded in Tunisia (500 BC) Colonies established by Greek along Red Sea (247 BC - 183 BC) Hannibal rules Carthage (196 BC) Rosetta Stone inscribed (69 BC - 30 BC) Cleopatra rules Egypt (30 BC) Egypt conquered by the Roman Empire (350 AD) Bantu tribes arrive in Zambia (642) Arabs conquer Egypt (700) Islam sweeps across North Africa (800) Trading towns established along eastern coast of Africa 1000 AD - 1700's 



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(1000) Ghana Empire reaches height of power  (1230) Mali Empire established; Ghanas declines (1250) Zimbabwe constructed in southeastern Africa (1390) Kongo Kingdom flourishes on Congo River  (1400) Swahili flourishes along eastern African coast (1441) African slaves begin being transported across the Atlantic (1488) Morocco invades Mali (1550) Portuguese trade in Africa attracts Europeans (1652) Dutch establish colony in South Africa at Cape of Good Hope (1787) Freetown founded on west African coast (1795) British seize control of Cape Colony (1799) Rosetta Stone discovered 1800's 


(1855) Victoria Falls discovered by David Livingstone (1858) Lake Victoria discovered by John Speke (1859-1869) The Suez Canal is built in Egypt (1860s) End of Atlantic slave trade (1867) Diamonds discovered at Hope Creek  (1870s) Zulu Wars fought against Great Britain (1882) Egypt and Sudan occupied by Britain (1884) Namibia, Tanzania, Togo and Cameroon taken over by Germany; Mahdi leads an uprising in Sudan against British   (1885) First railroad and telegraph line opened from Kimberley to Cape Cap e Town   (1886) Gold discovered in Transvaal; Kenya established as British colony

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(1907) Gandhi organizes Indian civil disobedience against racism and injustice in South Africa (1914-1918) World War I; entirety of Africa divided amongst Europe, African colonies are  prepared for independence at wars end (1933) First mass political party formed in Africa, The Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) (1935) Italy invades Ethiopia (1939-1945) World War II (1947) African's push for decolonization (1956) Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia all receive independence; oil discovered in Nigeria (1961) Zaire receives independence from Belgium (1962) Algeria receives independence from France (mid-1960s) European colonial era of Africa ends, most African nations gain independence (1963) Organization of African Unity forms

1900's cont.   

(1964) Nelson Mandela imprisoned in South African prison for 25 years



(1967-1970) Nigerian civil war  (1973) Ethiopian famine kills hundreds of thousands (1976) Ebola virus emerges in Sudan and Zaire (1981) HIV epidemic begins So uth African black majority groups and (1990) Nelson Mandela freed; violence erupts between South white Nationalist groups   (1994) Nelson Mandela elected president of South Africa; Hutus massacre millions in Rwanda, millions more flee   (1996) Rwanda refugees migrate back to escape fighting in Zaire

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(2001) Gabon and Congo experience Ebola epidemic (2002) 2,000 killed when Senegalese ferry capsizes off Gambia coast; African Union forms after dissolution of OAU (2003) Civil war begins in Darfur region of Sudan, several hundred thousand killed in conflict that lasted six years S omali Transitional Federal Government (2006) War in Somalia involving Ethiopia and Somali (2007) Togo holds first democratic elections (2010) Sudanese government and Darfuri rebels sign ceasefire agreement (2011) South Sudan receives independence

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