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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Africa

Africa is the second largest of the seven continents.  It covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area.

It is the only continent on the planet situated in all four hemispheres. (Northern, Southern, Western, Eastern)

The name Africa was first given by the Romans to their African provinces with the city of Carthage, and it has since been extended to the whole continent.

For Africa's forest-dwelling peoples in the 9th century yam or manioc, from which tapioca is made, was their basic diet. They used to eat it in a bowl made from the emptied shell of the tropical fruit calabash.

During an address made by Harold Macmillan to the Parliament of South Africa, on February 3, 1960 at the South African Houses of Parliament in Cape Town, the British Prime Minister spoke of "a wind of change." This indicated his awareness of an increasing national consciousness blowing through colonial Africa, signalling that his Government was likely to support decolonisation. The occasion was in fact the second time on which Macmillan had given this speech: he was repeating an address already made in Accra, Ghana (formerly the British colony of the Gold Coast) three and a half weeks earlier.

The South African Houses of Parliament where the speech was originally delivered

In the twentieth century, there were some 1.8 million Christian martyrs in Africa.

Africa's population (2010) of 1,022 million is nearly three times the 1970 population of 364 million.

Every day, 30,000 children in Africa die as a result of preventable poverty and every year, 4.5 million African children die before reaching the age of five. (2005)

In 1900 there were 8 to 10 million Christians in Africa, which amounted to 8 to 10 percent of the total population. Today (2009), there are 360 million—nearly 50 percent of the continent.

Africa has 30% of the world's minerals including 45% of diamonds, 31% of gold and 51% of the world's cocoa.

Half of Africa’s fixed infrastructure stock – roads, railways, ports and “modern” buildings – is found in just four countries: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco.and Soyth Africa.

More than 1,000 different languages are spoken on the continent of Africa.

One quarter of the world's languages are spoken only in Africa.

There are 47 countries on the African continent.

The lowest point in Africa is Lake Assal in Djibouti which lies 155 meters below sea level.

Source Hutchinson Encyclopaedia

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