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What Is The Physical Geography Of Africa

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The Physical Landscape Of Sub

Physical Geography of Africa

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  • Identify the key geographic features of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Describe the pre-colonial history of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Explain the process of colonization in Sub-Saharan Africa and its effects on the modern geographic landscape
  • Analyze how colonization has impacted political stability and economic opportunity across Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa is the cradle of human civilization. Our early ancestors, homo erectus, meaning upright man, first walked in East Africa between one and two million years ago. Early humans in Africa were the first to create tools, develop language, and control fire. The physical landscape of Africa and its long history of habitation have contributed to a variety of cultures and human experiences.

The story of Africas physical geography begins 300 million years ago with the landmass known as Pangaea, the last supercontinent ). Around 175 million years ago, Pangaea began to break apart, drifting and colliding and forming the continents as we know them today. Africa was situated at the heart of this supercontinent.

Africas other major river, the Nile, flows from Lake Victoria in the rift valley north through 11 different countries. It is regarded by most as the longest river in the world. The Nile has, historically and in modern times, been a key way to transport people and goods throughout the region and its floodplain enables farming in an otherwise arid environment.

Horn of Africa:

What Are The Two Dominant Landforms In Central Africa

Most of the country consists of a large plateau that separates the basin of Lake Chad to the north from that of the Congo River to the south. The dominant features of the landscape are the Bongo Mountains in the eastern part of the country and the Karre Mountains, otherwise known as Yadé Massif, to the west.

How Did Geography Affect Trade

Traders had to use geographic anomalies so they could trade with people from other lands. To cross these land routes it was essential that enough water was available for the people and animals to use. Thus, water, in the form of oases, were vital resources along even the most remote, land-based trade routes.

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How Do You Think Africas Climate And Geography Would Affect Settlement Patterns

The trade routes changed from the north to the south because of the climate changes. Farmers in the forests along the coasts would trade with farmers in the south savannahs and with the herders in the sahel. The people in the grasslands could grow grains and rice and could trade for salts and gold also.

Vegetation & Ecology Of Africafig 211 A Page 38

Physical Map Of Africa

Plant and animallife distribution and the different climatic/soil belts are closely related.Although some parts of the continent retain their natural/virgin flora andfauna, increasing population and human activities seem to be endangering theseplaces. The Following types of vegetation types identified:

1.Tropical Rain forest:

This vegetationdevelops in low land areas with year-round precipitation. It extends throughoutthe Congo basin and along the West coast of Africa with its widest inSierra Leone. It is also found in a narrow belt along the Southeastern coast southfrom the equator. Madagascar has a unique rain forest with special species offauna and flora not available on the main land. Generally, a heavy canopy offoliage with lianes and epiphytes characterizes the rain forest. It occurs inregions where high temperatures are combined with heavy precipitation.

2.Temperate Forest:

This vegetationis poorly represented in Africa. It is only found on the lower slopes of theEthiopian highlands and elsewhere on the highlands of considerable elevation andrainfall

3.Mediterranean Woodland

This vegetationis found at the inter-tidal flats of the coastlines within the tropics.

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Flowing To The Atlantic Ocean

The most remote head-stream of the Congo is the Chambezi, which flows southwest into the marshy Lake Bangweulu. From this lake issues the Congo, known in its upper course by various names. Flowing first south, it afterwards turns north through Lake Mweru and descends to the forest-clad basin of west equatorial Africa. Traversing this in a majestic northward curve, and receiving vast supplies of water from many great tributaries, it finally turns southwest and cuts a way to the Atlantic Ocean through the western highlands. The area of the Congo basin is greater than that of any other river except the Amazon, while the African inland drainage area is greater than that of any continent but Asia, where the corresponding area is 1,000,000 km2 .

West of Lake Chad is the basin of the Niger, the third major river of Africa. With its principal source in the far west, it reverses the direction of flow exhibited by the Nile and Congo, and ultimately flows into the Atlantic a fact that eluded European geographers for many centuries. An important branch, however the Benueflows from the southeast.

These four river basins occupy the greater part of the lower plateaus of North and West Africa the remainder consists of arid regions watered only by intermittent streams that do not reach the sea.

What Is The Physical Geography Of West Africa

The region of West Africa includes the southern portion of the bulge of the continent, which extends westward to the Atlantic Ocean. This region is bisected by the African Transition Zone, which borders the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. The main physical features include the Sahara Desert and the Niger River.

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The 2010 World Cup Soccer Games

In 2010, South Africa surpassed Morocco and Egypt in the political arena and were chosen to host the World Cup soccer games. The African teams in included Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa. The World Cup is held once every four years. The cost to host the games was enormous and also a testimony to the people and government of South Africa. The country had to build five new stadiums and upgrade five existing stadiums for the games the largest stadium was Soccer City in Johannesburg, with a capacity of about 84,490. Overall construction costs were estimated to be more than one billion dollars. Transportation infrastructure and road networks were also improved.

The impact of sports on a societyboth positive and negativecan be enormous. Hosting the World Cup necessitated the strengthening of South Africas security operations to meet FIFA standards to handle the high influx of participants and visitors. It has been estimated that South Africa invested about $4.3 billion to host the games. These are billions that are not going toward providing water, medical clinics, and educational support to the poorest neighborhoods and communities. The financial investments indicate the power and attraction that the World Cup holds on a global basis. No African team was in the final match , but soccer is a widely supported sport throughout Africa. The 2014 World Cup will be hosted by Brazil.

How Did The Environmental Features Of Africa Affect The Continent

Geography of Africa

How did the environmental features of Africa affect the continent? Persistent warm temperatures accelerated the decomposition of humus, resulting in a less productive agriculture. operated without the coercive authority of a state. were dominated by cities or regional states rather than a single empire.

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Why Is Africa Called The Mother Continent

Africa is sometimes nicknamed the Mother Continent due to its being the oldest inhabited continent on Earth. Humans and human ancestors have lived in Africa for more than 5 million years. Africa , the second-largest continent , is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Ethnic Divisions And Civil Wars

Subsaharan Africa is home to thousands of ethnic or traditional groups. Each has a separate identity and history, and often one group is in conflict with another. The slave trade and the establishment of colonial political boundaries or policies exacerbated historical ethnic hostilities. Major civil wars have been fought throughout the history of throughout Subsaharan Africa and continue at the present time. Central Africa has endured ongoing brutal conflict in the past decade, with no solution in sight. More than five million people have died as a result of the civil war in The Congo . Fighting continues between various factions over political control or control over natural resources, such as diamonds or gold. Civil wars are devastating some African countries. Many other countries, such as Zimbabwe, Chad, and the Central African Republic, have also suffered economic disintegration as a result of severe political unrest.

Figure 7.15 Tragedy in Rwanda

The bones of victims killed in the Rwandan genocide are kept in this school in Rwanda. The total number of people killed in the war is unknown.

Source: Photo courtesy of United States Congress, .

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Incomes Urbanization And Family Size

The socioeconomic data illustrate well the conditions for people in Africa in comparison to the rest of the world. African countries are at the lowest end of the statistics for development prospects. The larger cities are showing promise for advancement into the higher stages of development. Family sizes in the rural countries are some of the largest in the world. The average fertility rate for much of Africa is about 5 in Mali and Niger, the rate is higher than 7. One-third to half of the populations of these countries are under the age of fifteen. Children make up most of the population in many areasan indication that heavier burdens are placed on women, meaning that women are not easily able to get an education or work outside the home.

No Subsaharan African nation is in stage 5 of the index of economic development. Nevertheless, the fact that they are not consumer societies does not negate the rich cultural values and heritage of the realm. The energy of the people does not revolve around consumerism but is instead focused on the people themselves. High levels of social interaction and community involvement bring about different cultural standards than those of a consumer society, which focuses more on the individual and less on community. Unless there is social unrest or open warfare, which does exist in various places, the people work hard to bring about a civil society based on family and tradition.

Figure 7.12 Population Pyramids of African Countries

Health Care In Africa Aids

Digital Physical Map Africa 1288

has become a pandemic and is having a devastating effect on the continent. A pandemic is an uncontrollable outbreak of a disease affecting a large population over a wide geographic area.

AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus . People infected with HIV do not necessarily have AIDS and can carry HIV for years without knowing it. As a result, AIDS statistics can be misleading.

The number of people who have AIDS lags behind the number of those infected with HIV. Though AIDS education is increasing, some governments hide the scope of the disease. Many doctors in Africa say that more AIDS cases exist than are reported.

Some medical geographers predict that the populations of Africa’s worst affected countries could decline by 10 to 20 percent.

You will read more about AIDS and other major health issues in Chapter 20. In the next section , you will learn about North Africa.

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How Did Geography Affect Trade In West Africa

How did geography affect trade in West Africa? Geography affected trade because there are so many regions in Africa with different resources. The different areas had to trade to get what they needed. Most communities grew or made everything they needed, and traded with other to get what they needed and hadnt grown.

  • Geography and Trade Geography was a major factor in the development of West African societies. Settled communities grew south of the Sahara, where the land permitted farm- ing. Geography also influenced trading patterns. Communities traded with one another for items they could not produce locally.

How did geography affect ways of life in West Africa? Geography was a major factor in the development of these societies. Geography also influenced trading patterns. Because of this many people settled in places like Jenne-Jeno, and near rivers where it was more suitable for farming and trade.

Conflict In East Africa

By the 1970s, most of East Africa had regained its independence from Europe. However, internal disputes and civil wars became a serious problem. For example, colonialism inflamed the peoples of Rwanda and helped to cause a bloody conflict in the 1990s.

One cause of those problems was that European colonial powers had not prepared East African nations for independence. Furthermore, the ethnic boundaries created by the Europeans forced cultural divisions that had not existed before colonialism. Those cultural divisions often caused internal conflicts among native groups.

Colonialism also greatly affected the economy of East Africa, which today centers around tourism and farming.

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Colonialism In Subsaharan Africa

Wherever you go in the world, you cannot escape the impact of European colonialism. Subsaharan Africa was broadly affected by colonial activities, the legacy of which can be recognized to this day. Colonial powers of Europe ventured into Africa to claim colonies. In the discussion on Brazil in Chapter 6 “South America”, Section 6.3 “Brazil”, there is segment on slavery and the Trade Triangle of the North Atlantic. Slavery impacted Africa in other ways. Many African groups were instrumental in capturing and holding slaves to trade with the European merchants. These groups still exist and have had to live with the fallout of their role in the supply side of the slave trade.

There was little regard for the concerns of local ethnic groups. Colonial boundaries divided close-knit communities into separate colonies. Ethnic boundaries were disregarded. Often-warring groups were placed together in the same colony. The Europeans, seeking profits from cheap labor and resources, did not consider the local people or culture and often employed brutal measures to subdue the local people. Most of the current borders in Africa are a result of the Berlin Conference, and many of the geopolitical issues that confront Africa today can be traced back to this event specifically and to colonialism in general.

Figure 7.7 Colonialism in Africa

Figure 7.8 European Colonies in Africa, 1884

Source: Updated from map courtesy of Andreas 06, .

Flowing To The Indian Ocean

Physical and Political Geography of Africa

Of the rivers flowing to the Indian Ocean, the only one draining any large part of the interior plateaus is the Zambezi, whose western branches rise in the western coastal highlands. The main stream has its rise in 11°213 S 24°22 E, at an elevation of 1,500 m . It flows to the west and south for a considerable distance before turning eastward. All the largest tributaries, including the Shire, the outflow of Lake Nyasa, flow down the southern slopes of the band of high ground stretching across the continent from 10° to 12° S. In the southwest, the Zambezi system interlaces with that of the Taukhe , from which it at times receives surplus water. The rest of the water of the Taukhe, known in its middle course as the Okavango, is lost in a system of swamps and saltpans that was formerly centred in Lake Ngami, now dried up.

Farther south, the Limpopo drains a portion of the interior plateau, but breaks through the bounding highlands on the side of the continent nearest its source. The Rovuma, Rufiji and Tana principally drain the outer slopes of the African Great Lakes highlands.

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Why Nigeria Is Dangerous

Crime is rampant throughout Southern Nigeria, and there is a heightened risk of kidnapping and maritime crime, especially in the Gulf of Guinea. Violent civil unrest and armed militancy persist in these areas. Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas. Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

Using Geography To Teach About History

  • This Google Earth presentation and accompanying instructions can help teachers introduce key geographical features of West Africa as they relate to the development of societies and empires in the area in medieval times. Guided by essential questions, the presentation supports student inquiry and critical thinking.

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Why Is Africa Called The Dark Continent

Europeans had known quite a lot about Africa for at least 2,000 years, but because of powerful imperial impulses, European leaders began purposefully ignoring earlier sources of information. They called Africa the Dark Continent , because of the mysteries and the savagery they expected to find in the interior.

From Colonialism To Independence

Vector Map of Africa Continent Physical

The transition from European colony to independent state has not necessarily been a civil transition for African countries likewise, independent African countries have struggled to create stable governments or peaceful conditionsthough stable governments and peaceful conditions have been established in some cases. In nearly all cases, removing the colonial powers from Africa was only half the battle toward independence. The other half was establishing a functional, effective government.

Though each country has taken a slightly different path, most former colonies have endured civil unrest, conflict, or warfare in their push for stable governments. Coups, fraudulent elections, military regimes, and corruption have plagued the leadership in a number of African countries. Civil unrest usually precedes a change in leadership: political power regularly changes hands by a military coup or an overthrow of the current leader.

The realm has had difficulty developing and maintaining effective political systems with democratic leadership. Political leaders have come and gone, many have been replaced before their terms were over, and a few have stayed long after their terms ended. When a leader is elected democratically, it is common to have widespread accusations of corruption, voter fraud, or ballot box scandals. Such government mismanagement and corruption have been common problems.

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