Facts about Africa

Africa, one of the world’s seven continents, is distinctly different from the others and is widely believed by experts to be the place where humans first emerged. Africa boasts a rich variety of cultures. It has a diverse and rich cultural legacy, abundant natural resources, and breath-taking tourist sites.

It has a breathtaking range of landscapes, including enormous deserts, tropical rain forests, rocky mountains, and lush grasslands. It has a greater diversity of flora and animals than any other continent. Every year, a growing number of travellers from all around the world come to this amazing continent to take in its beauty.

These 5 fascinating facts about Africa are essential to know.

Africa is the second-largest continent in the world

With a total area of over 11 million square miles, it makes up 20% of the land on our globe and 5.7% of the surface of the world. North Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, and West Africa are its five sub-sections. One of the most intriguing facts about Africa is that the continent’s width and length are roughly equal. The vertical length of the continent is 4,504 miles (7,248 km) from Cape Town, South Africa, north to Tripoli, Libya, and the horizontal width is 4,355 miles (7,009 km) from Dakar, Senegal, to Mogadishu, Somalia. Its fascinating geography and intriguing history combine to make it a continent with astounding biodiversity.

There are 54 nations, along with many disputed regions. Before it was divided into Sudan and South Sudan, Sudan was the largest country in Africa. In terms of size, Algeria is currently the biggest nation in Africa. Cairo is both Egypt’s largest city and its capital.

The idea that Africa is mostly cut off from the rest of the world is a common one, yet this couldn’t be further from reality. The Strait of Gibraltar, which divides Spain from Morocco, is less than 9 miles from Africa, and ferries are even available to transport travellers from Africa to Europe or vice versa.

With 1,404,827,471 inhabitants or about 16.72% of the world’s population, Africa is the continent with the second-largest population (as of July 2022). Given that Africa is the second-largest continent, it should come as no surprise that its population is the most genetically diverse on the planet.

Between 1500-2000 languages are spoken in Africa

In Africa, there are at least 3,000 different ethnic groupings, and there are at least 2,000 different languages and dialects spoken there. The most common language on the African continent is Arabic, which is followed by English, Swahili, and French, in that order. Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, is home to over 500 different languages, making it one of the countries with the highest concentration of linguistic diversity worldwide.

Africa’s relative uniformity is one of the noticeable distinctions between it and most other language regions. All of Africa’s languages—with a few notable exceptions—have been classified into four major phyla: Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo, and Khoesan.

Inter-ethnic communication involves the usage of about a hundred different languages. ArabicSomaliBerberAmharicOromoIgboSwahili, Hausa, Manding and Yoruba are spoken by tens of millions of people.

Africa is the source of the world’s longest river

The Nile River, which empties into the Mediterranean Sea at a length of 4,258 miles (6,853 kilometres), is the longest river in the world. Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt are among the 11 nations it passes through on its way north. In actuality, it was essential to the growth of ancient Egypt.

To maximise the amount of land they could use for agriculture and feed a thriving population, the ancient Egyptians invented irrigation techniques. The river still acts as a source of irrigation and a crucial waterway for trade and transportation today. The White Nile, Blue Nile, and Atbara are its three principal tributaries.

It is home to the world’s oldest university

The University of Karueein, also known as the Athens of Africa, was established in Fez, Morocco, in 859 AD by Fatima al-Fihri and was first known as a madrassa. It is the oldest continuously running educational institution in the world. The oldest university in Europe was established in Bologna, Italy, in 1088.

The university was originally built as a sizable mosque before becoming a centre for learning. The University of Al Quaraouiyine, which was founded as a Madrasa (Islamic School) by Al-Fihri, is still in operation today. It is the oldest continuously operating educational institution in the world and the first to grant degrees in Islamic studies, mathematics, language, and medicine at various levels of study.

With a focus on classical Arabic language, linguistics, and law, the University of Al Quaraouiyine today confers degrees in Islamic, theological, and legal subjects. This state-run institution was established in 1963. It’s interesting to note that instruction is still given in a very traditional way, with students seated in a semi-circle around a Sheikh (an Islamic scholar) who directs them to read certain passages of books, quizzes them on issues of grammar, law, or interpretation, and clarifies complex ideas.

The oldest library in existence is located next to the mosque and university of Al Quaraouiyine. After a significant refurbishment led by another woman, this time the architect Aziza Chaouni, the library should soon be reopened.

The richest man ever was an African

Musa I of Mali, also known as Mansa Musa, is regarded as one of the richest people in history. One of the rich Sahelian kingdoms that grew along the Saharan slave trade routes in the later mediaeval era was the Mali Empire, which had Musa as its eleventh emperor.

Musa originally ascended to the throne in 1312 as the ruler of the Mali Empire in West Africa. The kingdom was already affluent at that time. Mansa Musa, however, brought Mali greater prosperity. utilising the natural riches of the area, such as salt and gold. Mansa Musa significantly impacted numerous nations as he extended his authority there.

He was so wealthy that when Musa decided to perform the Hajj in 1324–1325, he literally carpeted the road to Mecca with gold and established his empire as a global power.

Musa was renowned for his benevolence and religiosity. Every Friday during his tour, he constructed a mosque and distributed so much gold that it caused a twelve-year economic downturn in some parts of the region.

One of the biggest empires in West Africa was the Mali Empire. The culture of West Africa today has been greatly influenced by the spread of its language, laws, and practices.

Estimates place his net worth at the time of his death in 1937 between US$300 billion and US$400 billion, adjusted for the late 2000s.

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