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Portal:Africa

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For a topic outline on this subject, see List of basic Africa topics.
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Location of Africa on the world map
Satellite map of Africa

Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent. At about 30.2 million km2 (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers six percent of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4 percent of the total land area. With 1.1 billion people as of 2013, it accounts for about 15% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It has 54 fully recognized sovereign states ("countries"), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition.

Africa's population is the youngest among all the continents; 50% of Africans are 19 years old or younger.

Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is the largest by population. Africa, particularly central Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors, as well as later ones that have been dated to around seven million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster – with the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) found in Ethiopia being dated to circa 200,000 years ago. Africa straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones.

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General Kisempia Sungilanga, former Chief of Staff of the FARDC, in December 2006

The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (French: Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC)) is the state military organisation responsible for defending the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The FARDC is dominated by its land forces but also includes a small air force and a smaller navy, which together number around 130,000 personnel. There is also the National Congolese Police, which are not part of the Armed Forces, and a presidential force called the Republican Guard.

The FARDC is being rebuilt as part of the peace process which followed the end of the Second Congo War in July 2003. The government, the United Nations, the European Union, and various bilateral partners are attempting to create a viable force with the ability to provide the DRC with stability and security. However, this process is hampered by corruption, the near-impotence of the government, and inadequate donor coordination. (Read more...)

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Sphinx, partially excavated
Credit: Maison Bonfils

The Great Sphinx of Giza is a statue of a reclining lion with a human head that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile, near modern-day Cairo, in Egypt. It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 m (241 ft) long, 6 m (20 ft) wide, and 20 m (65 ft) high. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians in the third millennium BC. After the Giza Necropolis was abandoned, the Sphinx became buried up to its shoulders in sand. The first documented attempt at an excavation dates to c. 1400 BC. In 1817 AD, the first modern archaeological dig, supervised by the Italian Captain Giovanni Battista Caviglia, uncovered the Sphinx’s chest completely. The entire Sphinx was finally excavated in 1925.

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Akan drum

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Charles Atangana (c. 1880 – 1 September 1943), also known by his birth name, Ntsama, and his German name, Karl, was the paramount chief of the Ewondo and Bane ethnic groups during much of the colonial period in Cameroon. Although from an unremarkable background, Atangana's loyalty and friendship with colonial priests and administrators secured him successively more prominent posts in the colonial government. He proved himself an intelligent and diplomatic administrator and was eventually named paramount chief of the Ewondo and Bane peoples. His loyalty to the German Empire was unquestioning, and he even accompanied the Germans on their escape from Africa in World War I.

After a brief stay in Europe, Atangana returned to his homeland in Cameroon, which by then was a League of Nations mandate territory under the administration of the French Third Republic. The French doubted his loyalties at first, but Atangana served satisfactorily and regained his post as paramount chief. During the remainder of his life, he oversaw the Westernisation of his subjects and the improvement of his domains despite the erosion of his powers due to French policies and native unrest. He never advocated resistance to the European powers, preferring to embrace European civilisation and technology in the service of African interests. (Read more...)

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