situation of Africa
satellite photo of Africa
elevator profile of Africa (NASA)
Politische Karte Afrikas
political map of Africa

Africa is with a surface of 30,3 millions km ² (22% of the entire land surface of the earth) to Asia and America the third biggest continent and thus approximately three timesas largely as Europe. Those about 906 millions Inhabitants (conditions in the middle of 2005) constitute 14% of the present population of world , whereby this portion will probably still rise by the high birth rates in the next decades. Africa is in the north of Mediterranean, in the west by the Atlantic, in the east by the Indian ocean and the Red Sea surround. The seeing era divides the continent into the North Africa mainly inhabited by Arabs and the subsaharische Africa (black Africa). The continent is coined/shapedof the cultural variety of his innumerable peoples, the inheritance of the colonialism, the consequences of the extreme poverty of far parts of the African population as well as the current effort to overcome Africa Marginalisierung within many ranges and lasting solutions for its numerousTo find problems.

Table of contents


Africa only the area of the today's Tunesien, the continent designated in the antiquity to Libya or also hell one called. The name became from the RomanSenator and field gentleman Scipio Africanus (conquerer Karthagos) for the first time used and or on the phönizischen afar („dust “), Greek aphrike („unkalt “) could be derived from a native trunk, latin aprica („sunny “) or latin the word Afer (Plural: Afri)are based, which means as much as „African, Punier “.



Africa is limited in the west by the Atlantic, in the east by the Indian ocean and the Red Sea and in the north by the Mediterranean. The coastal length amounts to30,490 km, which is based relatively little on the large surface. The only land connection to other mainland masses, and/or. to Eurasien, forms the Sinai, which lies between Africa and the Arab peninsula. Europe is to Africa because of the road ofGibraltar and the road of Sicilies next.

The African continent is only little arranged; it has fewer islands and peninsulas than all other continents. To a large extent unbesiedelte seeing era separates the North Africa belonging to the Mediterranean area from the black Africa lain south (subsaharisches Africa).

The smallest state on the mainland, the Gambia, is about as largely as Cyprus and the largest, the Sudan, approximately eight times as large as Germany. The largest island is Madagascar, those before the southeast coastAfrica in the Indian ocean (Indik) lies. The Kanari islands and the cities Ceuta and Melilla are parts of Spain; the island larva Irish Republican Army is part of Portugal. These areas belong thus to the European union.

mountains and mountains

These are the five highest mountains and/or. Mountain massifs with their highest in each case mountain in Africa:

Mountains mountain height and. NN State of
Kilimandscharo massif Kibo (Uhuru peak) 5,895 m Tanzania
Mount Kenya massif Batian 5,199 m Kenya
Ruwenzori mountains Margherita peak 5,109 m DR the Congo and. Uganda
high country of Abessinien race to Daschan Terara 4,620 m Ethiopia
Virunga volcanos Karisimbi 4,507 m Rwanda, DR the Congo and. Uganda

in addition counts the Atlas with the Toubkal (4,165 m and. NN) in Morocco, the Mount Meru(4,562, 13 m), an island mountain in Tanzania, and the Cameroon mountain (4,095 m), an island mountain in Cameroon, to the highest mountains, mountain massifs and/or. Mountains of the continent.


of rivers

the longest river of Africa, that at the same timethe Nile (6,671 km) represents, is the longest earth. Afterwards the Congo ( 4,374 km), which the water-richest the continent are, the Niger ( 4,184 km) and the Sambesi ( 2,736 km) follow that.


the largest seas of Africathe Viktoriasee ( 68,870 km ²) is, which after the Kaspi sea and the upper lake the third biggest lake the earth is, the Tanganjikasee (32,893 km ²) and the Malawi lake (29,600 km ²). The two latters are also with 1.470 m(and thus the secondarydeepest earth) and 706 m the deepest seas in Africa.

artificial lake

the largest artificial lakes and/or. Water reservoirs of Africa are the Viktoria reservoir, which the surface (68,870 km ²) and volume-moderately (204.8 billion m ³) largestArtificial lake of the earth is, the volume TA artificial lake (8,482 km ²; 153 billion m ³) and the Kariba artificial lake (5,580 km ²; 180.6 billion m ³).


in the north of Africa pulls itself Atlas - or Maghreb - the mountains by the States of Morocco, Algeria and Tunesien, which developed together with the alps in the course of the approximation of the African to the eurasische plate.

By the east of Africa the large African Grabenbruch, which the continuation of the Grabenbruchs under that , pulls itself Red Sea is and on a splitting off of the horn from Africa and Arabia from the remainder of Africa points. Volcanism developing thereby created among other things the Kilimandscharo massif, the highest mountain massif of Africa, the Ruwenzori mountains and the Mount Kenya massif. In the further processthe Grabenbruchs lie Rudolfsee, Kiwusee, Tanganjikasee and Malawi lake as well as the underflow of the Sambesi.

climate and nature

by its situation on both sides the equator and its compact form possesses Africa the largest connected land mass of the Tropics. 75% of the surface of Africa lie within the turning circles, which form the mathematical tropical border. The largest part of central and west Africa is covered of tropical rain forest; the Congo basin is after Amazonien the second largest rain forest area of the earth. Around thoseTurning circles developed large deserts; the seeing era in the north is interrupted only by the river oasis of the Nile, in the south is the Namib as nebula desert and the Kalahari as Trockensavanne. Within the range of two annual precipitation maxima the drying forests spread and fire ecological systems out, for example Mopane, Miombo or Chipya - vegetation. Southeast Africa is by the influence monsoon and the large valleys of Sambesi and Limpopo more fruitfully.

The fauna and Flora are unique by the hardly settled areas. Elephant, giraffes andZebras, in addition, queues and rats live on this continent. The ancestors of humans come along. In the last years ever more is destroyed nature and many animals to have in national park evade, whereby it there to overstocking and firingcomes.

thousands of years

before the arrival

of the Arabs already lived population [work on] of peoples in the north of Africa around 7. Century around berberische peoples. These live since then particularly in the gebirgigen regions of the Maghreb, wherethey before the Arab invader refuge found, in order to mix themselves in the course of the following centuries however clearly with those and to create their own maghrebinische culture, which exhibits some differences to the remaining Arab world, for example in the language.Also the peoples of northeast Africa, like e.g. the Amharen is semitische peoples. South the seeing era, which is inhabited by the nomadisierenden Tuareg, some thousands live different Black African peoples. The Mande - and Voltaic - is to be called by the westAfrican peoples. Hausa and Yoruba live in the eastern west Africa, Wolof and Fulbe in the western part. In central - and East Africa are resident the Bantu, a group consisting of numerous peoples. The Khoisan - peoples rank among at the longest in Africa residentEthnien. Largest group of humans immigrated in the course of the Kolonialisierung are the Buren in South Africa. Modern migration movements brought Lebaneses after west as well as Indian and Chinese to East Africa.

See also: List of the African peoples


inNorth Africa, East Africa and west Africa is far common the Islam. More than 41% all African (under it in North Africa Arab) belong to the Islam. Besides there is a large number of those, which practice to Animismus particularly in west and southeast Africa. Oneit estimates that further 10% the African the Animismus attach. The remaining round 48% belong to Christian denominations (among other things Kopten) The majority of the African Christians lives in the south of Africa. A special role plays the Äthiopisch orthodox church, there in Ethiopia the Kingdom of Axum the Christianity to the state religion made. In addition are under the non-African minorities also Bahai, Judentum, Hinduismus and Buddhismus common.


major items: Altogether there

are African languages over 2000 independent African languages ofapproximately 50 as larger languages apply for those, which are spoken in each case of over one million humans. Some the most important African languages are Swahili, Hausa and Fulbe. The former colonial languages English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and German, Netherlands (Africa to) are in many places this very day spoken.

To the afroasiatischen languages belong Arab, Hausa and Amharisch, to the nigerkordofanischen languages count Bambara, Swahili, Wolof, Yoruba and Zulu. The Khoisan languagesof the peoples of the same name in the southern Africa are spoken; of it clicking sounds are characteristic. On Madagascar Austronesi languages are spoken such as Malagasy , Howa (dialect of the Merina) and other Merina dialects.


the largest city of Africa is Cairo in Egypt with 15.100.000 inhabitants.

See also: List of the largest cities of Africa


major item: History of Africa

the skeleton Lucy, a Australopithecus afarensis

the oldest well-known human life traces were in East Africa. It is considered asnearly surely that both the more primitive kinds of people and the Homo spread sapiens from there over the world.

In the Nile valley in North Africa one of the first advanced cultures was with Egypt. From there the agriculture already spreadearly to the Sudan and other areas of Africa out. For lack of written recordings over it however still few are well-known.

North Africa was rather connected by the Mediterranean with Europe and Anterior Asia as separate. Karthago, an establishment of the Phönizier in the today's Tunesien, was around the center of the 1. Millenium v. Chr. the dominant great power in the western Mediterranean, until it was replaced in the Puni wars from Rome. This prevailed starting from 30 v. Chr. (Conquest of Egypt) over whole North Africa.

Already the old Egyptians (queen Hatschepsut) undertook travels after Punt, probably in today's Somalia. Also the realm of the queen of Saba, which probably in south Arabia its center had, is itself over parts of the horn from Africa into the north of Ethiopiaextended. The rulers of Ethiopia attributed their descent to the queen of Saba. Herodot reports that around 600 v. Chr. phönizische sailors on behalf the Pharao Necho in three years Africa from the Red Sea to the Nile delta umfahren would have.Since it reports of it, they would have maintained, the sun „to their rights “, thus in the north to have seen apply this report as reliable. The travel of the karthagischen admiral Hanno is safe around 500 v. Chr., that from south Spainat least to Sierra Leone came.

During the people migration the Wandalen conquered the Roman North Africa from Morocco to Libya. Already before the Hedschra immigrated Arab trunks to North Africa. With the triumphant advance of the Islam became Egypt 641, Morocco 670conquered. In the following centuries North Africa was practically completely islamized, the Sahel, west and East Africa at least partly.

Africa around 1570
Africa around 1812

1250 was directed the sixth crusade against Ägyp ten (the other crusades were directed against Palestine). Between that 9. and 16. Century developed in the area of the today's Mali several powerful, independent kingdoms. In 15. Century became those West coast of Africa from Portugal investigates. Portugal and Spain established in 15. and 16. Century first basesat the north coast.

After the discovery America Africa for the Europeans was main as Source for slaves interesting. A substantial portion of the population of Brazil, Haiti and other islands of the Karibik, in addition, the USA are African descent.For the purpose of the slave trade Forts at the coasts were established, transport from the inland over well hmen usually native kingdoms. In East Africa 17 was to in. Century Arab dealers prevailing. The inside of the continent was as far as possible unknown to the Europeans. FirstForschungsreisen undertook end 18. Century men of different nationalities sent of the Association for graduation the Discovery OF the Interieur OF Africa (Africa Association, London).

After the industriellen revolution and the prohibition of the slave trade 1807 became Africa rather uninteresting. Onlywith the arising of the imperialism that grew Interest of the European great powers in the dark continent and the race over Africa led within less than 20 years to occupation nearly the entire continent. To the conference of Congo in Berlin 1884 became/85 the largest part of inside Africa between that European powers divided, to 1912 most African peoples lost their liberty. Remained independent only Liberia, a settlement colony of released North American slaves, as well as the old realm Abessinien (today Ethiopia), which however brieflyvorm 2.Weltkrieg 1936 by assistance from that National Socialist Germany (poisonous gas and artillery) of Italy for approx. five years one annektiert. In the First World War were those German colonies theater of war, many African fought also in Europe. In the Second World War fights foundeverything in North Africa and at the horn of Africa instead of.

Kolonisation Afrikas um 1914
Kolonisation of Africa around 1914

in the course of the Dekolonisation of Africa became several states into the 1950er years independently. 1960 are considered as the year of African independence, there the majority of the French coloniesin this year into independence to dismiss became. As last European possession on the mainland Djibouti became independent 1977. In South Africa the black population majority is only since 1994 at the government. Some islands belong to today different European states.

Throughthe artificial borders of the colonial age could develop most African States of no national feeling. This and the one-sided adjustment that managing on export articles led among other things to the fact that the political situation in most states is unstable and authoritarian regime prevails.Thus a large part of the natural wealth of the continent of the corruption falls to the victim and/or by international companies is taxed away. Connected with underdeveloped infrastructure, climatic problems, high increase in the population and in more recent time very high AIDS - this leads rates to the fact thatAfrica of the third world belongs nearly completely.


with the establishment of the African union (OUTER ONE) are to be hit a new chapter in the African policy; Sole responsibility, mutual control, good government guidance are the African Renaissance to make possible.

Work on []


states and dependent areas


major item: Economics of Africa

width of partsthe economy in the middle and southern Africa are aligned to the export (z. B. Bananas plantagen, tropical wood, gold - and diamond mines, cocoa plan days). Besides there is larger industry in the cities - and smaller crafts enterprises,those among other things for the internal requirement produce. In the country often self-sufficiency economy, for example to cultivation of Maniok and Batate, prevails fishery, animal breeding. In addition the tourism is an important source of income in some areas (z. B. Safari).

In the states of North Africaabove all the promotion of oil and natural gas brings incomes. Besides there is agriculture at the Nile and in some fruitful areas. The nil of dams is used for generation of current.

export article

  • cocoa: about 70% world market portion
  • of diamonds:about 50% world market portion
  • of gold: about 25% world market portion
  • oil: about 10% world market portion

of culture


major item African cinema

of films were turned in Africa since the invention of the cinema, among them ethnographische films and colonialistic propaganda films.Its own film industry developed in particular in Egypt.
In the countries south the seeing era could its own production only after the Second World War develop. As „a father “of the cinema on the continent Ousmane Sembène is considered. The author cinema has itheavily to reach the African Zuschauerinnen and spectators since the commercial cinemas buy Hollywoodfilme after the block system of films and predominantly and Indian productions show. Where the public has however opportunity to see African films as with the panafrikanischen Filmfestival FESPACO in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) shows it lively interest. For the financing and production those are film producer inside and film producers of Africa often still dependent on European institutions. A commercially profitable video production developed in Nigeria. Further well-known director inside and directorsamong other things:
Souleymane Cissé, Safi Faye, Anne lurking Folly, Med Honshu, Djibril Diop Mambéty.

Magazine: Écrans d'Afrique


major item: African literature

to the most important African authors the Literaturnobelpreisträger Wole Soyinka belongs andthe peace price of the German book trade excellent Chinua Achebe, „the father “of the African literature.

Further important authors are among other things: Chinua Achebe (Nigeria), Mobolaji Adenubi (Nigeria), Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana), Amadou Hampâté Bâ, Francis Bebey (Cameroon), Mongo Beti (Cameroon), Steve Chimombo (Malawi), Mia Couto (Mozambique), Amma Darko (Ghana), E.B. Dongala (People's Republic of the Congo), Naruddin Farah (Somalia), Nadine fermenting dimer (South Africa), Bessie Head (South Africa/Botswana), Lília Momplé (Mozambique), Grace Ogot (Kenya), Ben Okri (Nigeria), Ousmane Sembène (Senegal), Ngugi wa Thiong'o (Kenya), Yvonne Vera (Zimbabwe), Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt, Literaturnobelpreis 1988), Tayeb Salih (the Sudan), John M. Coetzee (South Africa, Literaturnobelpreis 2003), Waris Dirie (Somalia), Damon Galgut (South Africa)

see also: Arab literature


major item: African art

example of African art
African art: White ladyof Auahouret


major item: African music, African dance

For most African is the most important music. Many African cultures have clay/tone languages, i.e. languages, in which the pitch is of importance used for the distinction;this has partially substantially consequences for example by the fact that also on instruments played clay/tone sequences more significantly and for the listeners understandable text can be played. In addition, that clay/tone sequences can be subjected to the Sprachton in vowel music. Over African music can one does not speak without the dance to include. Many African languages have a word for the two mostly concepts distinctive with respect to „more west “culture. Historical research showed that African music cultures never separate statically on the contrary were extremely dynamic and are.

Different one Clay/tone systems, Musiken in linkage with cult, representation, village celebrations, urban maintenance, since beginning 20. Century a commercial music industry (shellac plates) exist in each case under locally different conditions and provide in such a way for a large diversity of African music.

A rough organization intoStyle areas differentiates between the Khoisanid the coined/shaped south of the Bantusprachigen Central Africa, and the more or less Islamic affected regions east such as west Africa.


major item: African philosophy

philosophical contents become still more verbal over non-written media, as for example the majorityExcessive quantity, obtain, since most African peoples did not develop writing. Handling the philosophical inheritance of Africa becomes accordingly difficult.Amadou Hampâté Bâ expressed it once in such a way; it always burns a whole library, if an age dies. More closelyas Ngugi write wa Thiong'o besides from protest against that their opinion after eurozentristischen view of local sciences and due to its target audience in its own language, for which often still no writing existed. Writing forms became only in the last decades, alsounder European assistance develops. Philosophers and theoreticians are usually well-known from the connection of cultural release attempts a European public.

See also: Post office colonialism, bibliography to African philosophy


political organizations

economical organizations



introductions and manuals

  • Bartholomäus grill: Oh,Africa. Reports from the inside of a continent. Goldmann 2005. ISBN 3442153379
  • Jacob E. Mabe (Hrsg.): The Africa encyclopedia. A continent in 1000 references. Metzler, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3476020460 (this encyclopedia some useful articles contain; delicate topics like the support more numerously AfricanDictatorships by France and the USA are however left blank)
  • Christoph Plate, Theo summer (Hrsg.): The multicolored continent. A new view of Africa. DVA, Stuttgart Munich 2001
  • walter Schicho: Manual Africa, in 3 Bdn., fire & Apsel, 1999. ISBN 3860991205
  • JuliusWagner, Willy Eggers (Hrsg.):Harms' manual of geography. Volume 5: Africa. 9. revised edition. Cunning, Munich 1973

overall displays

  • Jacques Maquet, harsh ore Ganslmayr: Africa. The black civilizations. Kindler, Munich 1985
  • John Iliffe: History of Africa. C.H. Beck, Munich 1997
  • Joseph AI-Zerbo: The history of black Africa. Fischer, Frankfurt/Main 1993
  • Theodorum Danckert the continent Africa 1690, historical map: - Totius Africae Accuratissima Tabula…, publishing house skirt chair, bath Langensalza, Reprint 1690/2000, ISBN of 3-932554-69-8

special aspects

  • SusanArndt (Hrsg.):Africa pictures. Studies to racingism in Germany. Unrast publishing house, ISBN 3-89771-407-8
  • Susan Arndt, Antje Hornscheidt (Hrsg.): Africa and the German language. A critical reference book. Unrast publishing house 2004, ISBN 3-89771-424-8
  • Gerhard Hauck: Society and state in Africa.Fire & Apsel,Frankfurt/Main 2001
  • Ryszard Kapuściński: African fever. Experiences from forty years. (Heban, Poland 1998; dt. Expenditure Berlin: Calibration fount 1999, as paperback: ISBN 3492232981)
  • Ngugi wa Thiong'o: Moving the Centre. Essay over the release of African cultures. Münster 1995, ISBN 3-928300-27-X

see also

Web on the left of

Commons: Africa - pictures,Video and/or audio files
Wiktionary: Africa - word origin, synonyms and translations
Wikinews: Africa - current messages
Wikiquote: Africa - quotations
Wikiquote: African proverbs - quotations

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