regions of africa

Geography
set apart from the rest of the continent by the sahara desert and islamic culture
northern
the people of this region are light skinned arabs, berbers, moors (a mixture of two) and egyptians.
northern
their homelands are almost entirely desert, except for the northern coast where most of the population lives
northern
mediterranean crops, including grapes, olives, citrus, and dates, are grown in abundance
northern
the sahara desert is drifting to the south and west , covering the northern protion of sub-saharan mauritania, mali, niger, chad, and the sudan
northern
nomadic residents of the desert regions are generally light skinned muslims who have little in common with the black populations in the southern parts of those nations
northern
these sub saharan countries, many under military rule, are africa’s poorest
northern
the three in the middle (mali, niger, chad) are landlocked. they have few natural resources and must depend upon foreign aid and a limited agriculture in small but fertile regions along their southern borders
northern
frequent droughts have added to their misery
northern
in the early 20th century french west africa ruled all of northern africa except libya (italy), western sahara and part of morocco (spain), egypt (britain), and sudan (britain and egypt). france still plays an influential role
northern
many coastal regions on this bulge of africa share a similiar landscape, climate, economy, religion, and history. cash crops introduced by europeans (cocoa, coffee, palm oil, and rubber), are the chief products of the coastal rain forests.
western
most of the worlds cocoa and chocolate come from the seeds of local cacao plants. peanuts (locally called groudnuts) and cotton are grown inland, on the hihger and drier Sahel (the savanna bordering the sahara)
western
harbors had to be built along the coast because the shallow waters and treachorous surf prevented large ships from reaching the shore.
western
during colonial days, sections of the coast were named for their principal tradfe activites. even though the commerce has cahnged, the descriptive labels remain: Grain coast (liberia, ivory coast (cote de ivoire) gold coast (ghana), and slave coast (togo, benin, nigeria).
western
from the slave coast and other ports on the continent, an estimated 10 million african slaves were sent to the new world, between the 16th century and the 18th century. many did not survive the voyage.
western
slave ships transported three different cargoes in a triangular route: they carried finished goods from europe to africa to be exchanged with slaves, who were shipped to the americas, where the ships took on raw materials bound for europe.
western
christianity was introduced by european missionaries. islam came from the sub-saharan nations on the northern borders. but most of these people are animists, people who worship the dead souls and spirits believed to be part of the natural environment.
western
when these nations gain independence, they found it necessary to retain french, english , or portuguese as the official language; as close to a common tongue as is possible, with all the local dialects.
western
dense rain forests form a wide band across this part of africa (also called equatorial africa)
central
to western explorers, the impenetrable jungle; with its opaque canopy of vegetation, pressented a dank, forbidding, unknown world. they described africa as “the dark continent”
central
few people live in the jungle, most live to the north or south, in the drier, tree-dotted savannas.
central
their sparse population isnt just the result of an inhospitable jungle. diseases, particulary malaria and sleeping sickness, take thousands of lives. sleeping sickness is spread by the tsetse fly, whose bite can be just as deadly to certain domestic animals. the fly makes it virtually impossible to raise cattle in this part of africa (as well as many regions of western and eastern africa).
central
because cattle droppings are the main source of fertilizer for most third world nations, the tsetse fly can also restrict crop production
central
most people speak variations of the bantu language.
central
the bantus displaced the pygmies some 2,500 years ago. the current pygmy population of 200,000 live as hunter-gatherers in remote parts of the jungle. they average 4.5 in height. pygmies are slowly giving up their life in the jungle because of the destruction of the rainforest.
central
the mighty congo river and its hundreds of tributaries drain the worlds second largest river basin (after the amazon). the waterways serve as national highways despite rapids and waterfallsd
central
in some places, mini-railroad lines transport cargo around river obstacles
central
brazzaville and kinshasa, capital cities of the republic of congo and the democratic republic of the congo (formerly zaire), face each other from opposite banks of the congo river.
central
portugal was the first european nation to explore and colonize lands that border this part of africa’s atlantic coast. but here, as in west africa, the portuguese lost most of their possesions to more powerful european nations
central
conditions that create the devastating famines of the 1980s in the ethiopian region have improved–particulary the end of a prolonged civil war–but the specter of starvation in this part of africa is always present.
eastern
the dark0skinned, and fine-featured people of this region are caucasoids of the hamitic origin, related to the people of the middle east.
eastern
christianity and islam are the dominant relgions.
eastern
south of the horn live mostly black africans of the swahili-speaking bantu tribes.
eastern
the nations of this part of africa are considerably drier, higher, and cooler than other equatorial countries of the continent.
eastern
the great rift valley, a giant ditch some 1,200 miles long, is the major geological feauture that separates this part of africa from the rest of the continent
eastern
this part of africa is mineral rich
southern
its great natural wealth and mild weather attracted the largest concentration of european immigrants in africa.
southern
consequently, this area has taken the longest for black majorites to regain control of their lands.
southern
most of this region is a high plateau, sloping eastward and upward to the drakensberg range, looming over the coastline on the indian ocean.
southern
the western half is either all desert ( the namib) or semi-desert (the kalahari)
southern

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