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Africa, the cradle of mankind, is the second largest and the second most populous continent, in both cases behind Asia. It boasts of the world’s longest river, the Nile, and the world’s largest hot desert, the Sahara. The following are some facts and figures that you may not have known:
- The Sahara Desert is larger in size than the contiguous United States.
- There are 53 internationally recognized states in Africa, and two states in contention; the first, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, is recognized by many African nations and the African Union but Morocco considers it part of its southern provinces. The second, Somaliland, seceded from Somalia in 91 and is not yet formally recognized. There are also numerous secessionists movements throughout the continent.
- With regard to collective natural wealth, Africa is probably the world’s wealthiest continent. It produces half of the world’s gold and diamonds,.
- Sudan has about twice as many pyramids as Egypt
- There are only two countries in Africa that were never colonized; Liberia, which was established to resettle African Americans, and Ethiopia, which defeated Italy in the Battle of Adowa.
- Africa largest war is the Second Congo War; it involved 9 nations and has so far claimed 5.4m lives.
- South Africa was the first African country to gain independence, in 1910, but minority rule under Afrikaners meant that majority rule was attained more than 80 years later, by which time all other African countries had achieved majority rule.
- Morocco is the only African country that is not part of the African Union.
- Arabic is the most commonly spoken language in Africa, and there are more than 2,000 different languages spoken in Africa.
- The Grand Inga Dam, to be built in the Congo, is set to be the world’s largest hydropower plant, a record currently held by China’s Three Gorges Dam.
- No single president in Guinea-Bissau has ever served a full term; three were overthrown, one assassinated and another died in office.
- The Tunisian Desert was the on-site location for planet Tatooine in the original Star Wars; the sets are still preserved.
- The deepest lake in Africa is L. Tanganyika, which also surpasses Africa’s greatest lake by surface area, Lake Victoria, with regard to the volume of water contained.
- Chobe National Park, Botswana, hosts the highest concentration of elephants in Africa.
- Before the coming of the Portuguese, the island nations of Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe were unoccupied.
- The most populous nation in Africa is Nigeria
- The furthest point north is Al-Ghiran Point, Tunisia, and its southernmost tip is Cape Agulhas, South Africa. The easternmost point is Xaafun, adjacent to Cape Guardafui, Somalia, and its westernmost point is Pointe des Almadies, Cape Verde.
- With regards to human fatalities, hippos kill more people than lions or crocodiles.
- The youngest African country is South Sudan, officially established in 2011.
- Algeria is now Africa’s largest country, following the separation of South Sudan from Sudan.
- Lake Malawi has the greatest diversity of fish species in the world, most of them endemic cichlids.
This is just but a glimpse of interesting facts pertaining to Africa.
By Matengo Chwanya