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Africa has gone through numerous changes in name, leadership, perception, ethnic and cultural makeup, and its role in history. Today I present to you random facts about the beautiful African continent. Of course, never let the reading stop here; rather, be free to read further and conduct your own research to have a more detailed understanding. Enjoy!
- Africa covers 30 million square kilometres, which is bigger than Canada, India and the U.S.A. put together.
- The Sahara desert has the distinction of being the driest hot desert on earth.
- The River Nile is the world’s longest river.
- Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. It is located in Tanzania, and also called the “Kibo Peak” or the “Uhuru Peak”.
- Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean, is the biggest island connected to the African continent. Seychelles is the smallest island.
- Lagos in Nigeria has over 21 million citizens, making it the largest African city.
- Other names for Africa have included: The Land of Ham, Alkebulan, Cush, Afru-ika, Africanus, Libya, Corphye, Ortegia, Ethiopia, Aphrike, Aprica-ica and Pharika.
- Ethiopia and Liberia were the only countries that escaped colonization during the “scramble for Africa”.
- Africa has about 3000 different ethnic groups, and they collectively speak about 1500-2000 languages and sub-dialects.
- The most common language on the continent is Arabic, followed by English, Swahili and French.
- The oldest operating educational institution in the world is known to be the University of Karueein (also called the Athens of Africa), founded by Fatima al-Fihri in Fez, Morocco in 859 AD. In comparison, the oldest institution in Europe is the University of Bologna in Italy, founded in 1088.
- Mansa Musa, or Musa I of Mali is considered to be one of the richest men in history. He garnered approximately $400 billion in his lifetime.
- It is believed that Aesop, the Greek storyteller, was originally from Ethiopia.
- Africa and Europe are separated by the Strait of Gibraltar, which puts 9 miles between Spain and Morocco.
- The Goliath Frog, known as the world’s biggest frog, is found in Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. It can grow to be a foot long and weigh 8 lb.
- Ethiopia is the only African country which has its own alphabet. Known as “Ethiopic”, it is considered the world’s oldest living alphabets and has about 345 letters.
- Lady Graca Machel is the first woman to be the First Lady of two countries – Mozambique and South Africa.
- Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt.
- Angola has more Portuguese speakers than Portugal.
- The biggest Roman-African settlements included Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. The inhabitants were mostly the Berbers (or the Amazighs), and the Punics (or the Carthaginians). They spoke a variation of Latin that was unique to the region. The period of Roman-African colonization gradually faded away and ended with the Arab conquest of North Africa.
- Publius Terentius Afer was a Roman-African playwright who wrote six surviving comedies that were performed in the Roman Republic during the time period 170-160 BC. One of his famous quotes is, “I am human, and I think nothing human is alien to me.”
Blessings in abundance!