North Africa

  countries making up North Africa
Population density of Africa (2000)


North Africa is a collective term for a group of Mediterranean countries situated in the northern-most region of the African continent. The term "North Africa" has no single accepted definition. It is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others have limited it to the countries of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, a region known by the French during colonial times as “Afrique du Nord” and by the Arabs as the Maghreb (“West”). The most commonly accepted definition includes Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, as well as Libya and Egypt. It is important to note that the term “North Africa”, particularly when used in North Africa and the Middle East, often refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, due to its greater Middle Eastern associations, is often considered separately.

The countries of North Africa share a common ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity that is unique to this region. North west Africa has been inhabited by Berbers since the beginning of recorded history, while the eastern part of North Africa has been home to the Egyptians. Following the Muslim conquest in the seventh century C.E., the region underwent a process of Arabization and Islamization that has defined its cultural landscape ever since.

The distinction between North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa is historically and ecologically significant because of the effective barrier created by the Sahara Desert for much of modern history. From 3500 BC, following the abrupt desertification of the Sahara due to gradual changes in the Earth's orbit, this barrier has culturally separated the North from the rest of the continent. [1] As the seafaring civilizations of the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Muslims and others facilitated communication and migration across the Mediterranean Sea, the cultures of North Africa became much more closely tied to Southwestern Asia and Europe than Sub-Saharan Africa. The Islamic influence in the area is also significant, and North Africa is a major part of the Muslim world.

Some researchers have postulated that North Africa rather than East Africa served as the exit point for the modern humans who first trekked out of the continent in the Out of Africa migration. [2] [3] [4]

Geography

The Atlas Mountains extend across much of Morocco, northern Algeria and Tunisia, are part of the fold mountain system that also runs through much of Southern Europe. They recede to the south and east, becoming a steppe landscape before meeting the Sahara desert, which covers more than 75 percent of the region. The sediments of the Sahara overlie an ancient plateau of crystalline rock, some of which is more than four billion years old.

North Africa, consisting of the Sahara and north, in the northern red climatic zone and northwards

Sheltered valleys in the Atlas Mountains, the Nile Valley and Delta, and the Mediterranean coast are the main sources of fertile farming land. A wide variety of valuable crops including cereals, rice and cotton, and woods such as cedar and cork, are grown. Typical Mediterranean crops, such as olives, figs, dates and citrus fruits, also thrive in these areas. The Nile Valley is particularly fertile, and most of the population in Egypt live close to the river. Elsewhere, irrigation is essential to improve crop yields on the desert margins.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Noord-Afrika
Alemannisch: Nordafrika
العربية: شمال أفريقيا
azərbaycanca: Şimali Afrika
беларуская: Паўночная Афрыка
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Паўночная Афрыка
български: Северна Африка
bosanski: Sjeverna Afrika
brezhoneg: Afrika an Norzh
čeština: Severní Afrika
dansk: Nordafrika
Deutsch: Nordafrika
Ελληνικά: Βόρεια Αφρική
Esperanto: Nord-Afriko
français: Afrique du Nord
한국어: 북아프리카
hornjoserbsce: Sewjerna Afrika
hrvatski: Sjeverna Afrika
Bahasa Indonesia: Afrika Utara
íslenska: Norður-Afríka
italiano: Nordafrica
Basa Jawa: Afrika Lor
Kreyòl ayisyen: Afrik dinò
latviešu: Ziemeļāfrika
lietuvių: Šiaurės Afrika
Limburgs: Naord-Afrika
македонски: Северна Африка
მარგალური: ოორუე აფრიკა
مازِرونی: آفریقای شمال
Bahasa Melayu: Afrika Utara
монгол: Умар Африк
Nederlands: Noord-Afrika
日本語: 北アフリカ
Nordfriisk: Nuurdafrikoo
norsk nynorsk: Nord-Afrika
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Shimoliy Afrika
پنجابی: اتلا افریقہ
português: Norte de África
Qaraqalpaqsha: Arqa Afrika
română: Africa Nordică
саха тыла: Хоту Африка
Sesotho sa Leboa: Afrika Leboa
sicilianu: Africa dû Nord
Simple English: North Africa
slovenčina: Severná Afrika
slovenščina: Severna Afrika
Soomaaliga: Waqooyiga Afrika
српски / srpski: Северна Африка
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Sjeverna Afrika
Basa Sunda: Afrika Kalér
svenska: Nordafrika
Taqbaylit: Tafrikt n Ugafa
татарча/tatarça: Төньяк Африка
Türkçe: Kuzey Afrika
Türkmençe: Demirgazyk Afrika
українська: Північна Африка
vèneto: Nordàfrica
Tiếng Việt: Bắc Phi
West-Vlams: Nôord-Afrika
吴语: 北非
ייִדיש: צפון אפריקע
粵語: 北非
中文: 北非