Africa map, map of africa, history and popular attraction in africa

As concerns the climate and weather, Africa displays remarkable contrast. The northern portion of the continent features wide deserts, while the southern portion is mostly green. Since the equator passing right through this continent, the summers can get unbearably hot. This results in extreme weather variations; for instance in the Sahara, where the temperature in winters nose-dives to the freezing point.

Some of the largest, driest, and most menacing deserts are present in Africa. The Sahara Desert in the north of the continent is the largest desert in the world, occupying an area of 9 million square kilometers.

That’s 90% of the total area of the United States! This and the Kalahari Desert in the south generate giant sand storms that bring much dryness into the surrounding countries.

In contrast to the dry deserts, Africa also has impressive rivers. The Nile River is the longest one in the continent, and is famous in the world for fostering the ancient Egyptian civilization. Next comes the Congo River, which discharges the highest amount of water among all African rivers. The arid areas are watered by the Niger River, which flows along half of the length of the continent.

The Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain-range in Africa. This dormant volcano range is 19,341 feet above sea-level at its highest point. Residing mostly in Tanzania, it has three volcanic cones: Shira, Mawenzi, and Kibo. Mount Kenya features the highest peak in the country, and the second-highest in all of the continent. This stratovolcano almost touches the equator, and is estimated to the 3 million-years-old. It has 11 small glaciers.

Frequently referred to as the “cradle of civilization,” Africa is the world’s oldest landmass. About 97% of the continent’s land has been virtually the same for the past 300 million years. Between five and ten million years ago, an African hominid called the Australopithecines started to walk upright. This set-in motion a long evolutionary path towards what became approximately 200,000 years ago, the modern Homo Sapiens. Flash forward another 50,000 years, and a group of Homo Sapiens started to move out of North Africa and into the Middle East. While it is estimated that this group may have only contained several dozen people, this was the first migration from the continent, and they would come to populate the planet.

Africa has been home to some of the greatest civilizations in human history. One of the most important was the Kingdom of Sheba. The Kingdom was located in modern-day Yemen. The foundation of the Kingdom of Sheba lay in an ideal location along a key trade route. In the period around 1,000 BC, caravans of traders would undertake journeys from the area around modern-day Oman, to the Mediterranean. As they did so, they passed through Marib, which at that time was an abundant oasis. It was also one of the only two sources of frankincense (aromatic resin). The city of Marib was known throughout the Arab world for its great fortunes.

The Swahili Sultans eventually fell victim to infighting, and ambitious viziers and emirs sought to take power from the ruling family. In a weakened state, the Swahili Sultans were very vulnerable, when in the 16th century they came in contact with the Portuguese. Through force and persuasion, the Portuguese were able to turn the region into vassal states.

During the 19th century, the various African kingdoms started to come in contact with Europe. This was when colonization of Africa saw a marked increase, and slaves from various African regions were taken to work in colonies and plantations overseas, for instance, in the Americas. But most of the European control was along the coasts. In the inner parts of the continent, the Islamic and local rulers held control.

The people of Africa served in both the World Wars. Following the Second World War, the European powers grew weak and the colonies in Africa began to demand freedom. A strong catalyst in this was India’s successful struggle for independence. But even after the many nations saw freedom, greater challenges awaited them in the form of famines, civil wars, diseases, and political instability. Even today, the African countries are grappling with these.