Africa: Cinema

Cinema

eople in Africa have been watching, acting in, and making movies since the early 1900s. Until the 1950s, films were generally controlled by European colonial powers. The colonial governments oversaw production and decided which movies could be shown to the public. In the years since African nations gained independence, Africans have developed their own cinema with their own directors and […]

Christianity in Africa

Christianity in Africa

African Christianity goes back to very early times, and the Christianity that developed in Africa influenced the religion’s later growth in Europe. However, African Christianity ultimately developed its own special character in which local traditions played a role. This religion has had a profound effect on the social and political development of modern Africa. Today, membership in Christian churches is growing […]

Chinese in Africa

Chinese in Africa

From the late 1700s to the early 1900s, Chinese traders and laborers traveled to southern and eastern Africa to earn a living in the colonies established by Europeans. A large number of Chinese also moved to African islands such as MAURITIUS, RÉUNION, and MADAGASCAR. A second wave of immigrants settled in Africa in the 1920s and 1930s, a time of […]

Chilembwe, John

Chilembwe, John

1871–1915 Malawian nationalist John Chilembwe was a church leader and opponent of European colonialism in Africa. His activities helped inspire the independence movement in his country of MALAWI and nationalism in Africa. Schooled at a Scottish Presbyterian mission in Malawi, Chilembwe broke with the Presbyterians in 1892 after meeting Baptist missionary Joseph Booth. Booth took Chilembwe to the United States […]

Children’s Lives

Childhood and Adolescence

For most Africans in the past, growing up meant helping the family produce food, learning the community’s values, and gradually taking on new tasks, privileges, and responsibilities. After about 1900, however, patterns of childhood education and socialization began to change. Three major influences for change have been Western-style schooling, religious schooling in the Islamic nations of northern Africa, and the growth […]

Republic of Chad

Republic of Chad

POPULATION: 13.21 million (2014) AREA: 495,792 sq. mi. (1,284,000 sq. km) LANGUAGES: French, Arabic (official); Sara, Sango, others NATIONAL CURRENCY: CFA franc PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS: Muslim 50%, Traditional 25%, Christian 25% CITIES: N’Djamena (capital), 826,000 (1999 est.); Sarh (Fort Archambeault), Moundou, Bongor, Doba, Lai, Abéché, Koumra ANNUAL RAINFALL: Variable, from 35–47 in. (900–1200 mm) in subtropical zone to 18–20 in. (200–500 mm) in Saharan zone […]

Cetshwayo

Cetshwayo

1832–1884 Zulu king Cetshwayo kaMpande was king of Zululand, in southeastern Africa, from 1872 to 1879 and again from 1883 to 1884. Although he fought with great skill and courage to keep his kingdom free and undivided, his efforts were overwhelmed by British colonial forces. During his early reign, Cetshwayo developed ties with Britain’s coastal colony of Natal. He […]

Central African Republic

POPULATION: 4.709 million (2014) AREA: 240,324 sq. mi. (622,436 sq. km) LANGUAGES: French (official); Sango, Arabic NATIONAL CURRENCY: CFA franc PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS: Christian 50%, Traditional 24%, Muslim 15%, Other 11% CITIES: Bangui (capital), 524,000 (1999 est.); Baoli, Berbérati, Bambari, Bossagoa, Carnot ANNUAL RAINFALL: Varies from 75 in. (1900 mm) in the south to 0.2 in. (50 mm) in the extreme northeast ECONOMY: GDP […]

Central African Federation

Central African Federation

The Central African Federation was created in 1953 by the union of the British colonies of Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Politicians had two reasons for forming this federation. One was to gain access to the copper mines of Northern Rhodesia and the cheap labor of Nyasaland. The other was to calm the fears of white settlers who were […]

Carthage

Carthage

Carthage, a rich and powerful city of the ancient world, once dominated the coast of North Africa. It stood on a peninsula in what is now TUNISIA, with a good harbor on each side. At one time the city controlled an empire that included North Africa, southern Spain, the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia and Corsica, and part of Sicily. […]

Cape Verde

Cape Verde

The nation of Cape Verde (also known as Cabo Verde) consists of 15 islands about 400 miles off the coast of SENEGAL. Although the name means “Green Cape,” the islands actually have a hot, dry climate and very little arable land. The capital city of Praia is on the island of Santiago Before its discovery by the Portuguese in 1460, […]

Cape Town

Cape Town

Located about 30 miles north of the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town is the oldest city in SOUTH AFRICA. With its many gardens, parks, beaches, historical buildings, and mountains, it is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Cape Town (known as Kaapstad in Afrikaans) was founded in 1652 as a supply station for Dutch […]

Cape Coloured People

Cape Coloured People

Cape Coloured People are the mixed race population of various towns in Cape Province, SOUTH AFRICA. They are descendants of Dutch, British, and Kxoe people (various non–Bantu-speaking groups of southern Africa), as well as of slaves brought from MADAGASCAR and East Asia. Until the late 1950s, when apartheid policies were adopted in South Africa, most of the Cape Coloured lived […]

Canary Islands

Canaries

The Canaries are a group of seven volcanic islands that lie off the northwestern coast of Africa. The westernmost islands are actually the peaks of mountains that rise from the ocean floor to heights several thousand feet above sea level. The eastern Canaries are much flatter. Gran Canaria and Tenerife are the two most important islands. The Canaries have […]

Republic of Cameroon

Republic of Cameroon

POPULATION: 22.82 million (2014) AREA: 183,568 sq. mi. (475,400 sq. km) LANGUAGES: French, English (official); Bantu dialects (24) NATIONAL CURRENCY: CFA franc PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS: Traditional 51%, Christian 33%, Muslim 16% CITIES: Yaoundé (capital) 1,119,000 (1999 est.); Douala, Nkongsamba, Maroua, Bafoussam, Foumban, Garoua, Limbe, Bamenda, Kumba ANNUAL RAINFALL: Varies by region from 23 in. (600 mm) in the extreme north to 390 in. (10,000 mm) […]

Camara Laye

Camara Laye

1928–1980 Guinean author Camara Laye is one of Africa’s best-known and most respected francophone (French-speaking) authors. His first novel, L’enfant noir (The Black Infant) is also one of his most popular. Written in 1953, the book tells of Camara’s childhood in the town of Kouroussa, GUINEA. On the one hand, it is a personal account of the author’s Mande […]

Calendars and Time

In African cities, many people use the Western system of clocks and calendars for official and business purposes. They divide the day into 24 hours and the year into 12 months based on the earth’s movement around the sun. As in the West, a general system of dating is used to create a common framework for past events from […]

Cairo

Cairo

Cairo is the capital of EGYPT and the largest city in Africa. The city’s strategic location on the NILE RIVER has made it a defensive stronghold for Egypt for nearly 1,500 years. In medieval times, Cairo was one of the busiest centers of trade and education in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Today the city remains a vibrant hub […]

Cabral, Amílcar Lopes

Cabral, Amílcar Lopes

1924–1973 Political and revolutionary activist Born in the Portuguese colony of GUINEA (later, GUINEA-BISSAU), Amílcar Lopes Cabral went to Portugal to study. After graduating from the University of Lisbon, he returned home a revolutionary leader, and he brought about Guinea-Bissau’s independence. Cabral believed that people who opposed oppression should take action and commit themselves to social reform. He won respect […]

Cabinda

Cabinda

Cabinda, a province of the country of ANGOLA, is separated from Angola by a narrow strip of land belonging to the CONGO (KINSHASA). Though small in size (about 2,800 sq. miles), Cabinda has figured prominently in the economics and politics of the region for many years—particularly because of its valuable oil fields. Europeans visited the region in the 1500s […]

Busia, Kofi A.

Busia, Kofi A.

1913–1978 Prime minister of Ghana Born into African royalty, Kofi A. Busia was elected prime minister of GHANA in 1969 and led his country for a brief period. In addition to politics, Busia focused on philosophy and economics. He earned a doctoral degree from Oxford University in England and wrote many books, including Africa in Search of Democracy (1967). […]

Republic of Burundi

Republic of Burundi

POPULATION: 10.48 million (2014) AREA: 10,747 sq. mi. (27,834 sq. km) LANGUAGES: Rundi, French (both official); Swahili NATIONAL CURRENCY: Burundi franc PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS: Christian 67%, traditional 32%, Muslim 1% CITIES: Bujumbura (capital), 300,000 (1994 est.); Gitega, Ngozi, Kayanza, Mwaro ANNUAL RAINFALL: Ranges from 1,194 mm (47 in.) on the plateaus to 762 mm (30 in.) in lower areas ECONOMY: GDP $3.094 billion (2014) […]

Burton, Sir Richard Francis

Burton, Sir Richard Francis

1821–1890 British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton made four journeys in Africa in the mid-1800s. Although he failed in his mission to locate the source of a branch of the Nile River, he contributed greatly to European knowledge of African geography. Born in Torquay, England, and raised in France and Italy, Burton served in the British army in […]

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso

POPULATION: 17.42 million (2014) AREA: 105,869 sq. mi. (274,200 sq. km) LANGUAGES: French (official); Mossi, Dyula, many local languages NATIONAL CURRENCY: CFA Franc PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS: Muslim 50%, traditional 40%, Christian 10% CITIES: Ouagadougou (capital), 1,100,000 (2000 est.); Bobo-Dioulasso, Koudougou, Ouahigouya, Kaya, Banfora ANNUAL RAINFALL: Varies from 40 in. (1,000 mm) in the south to less than 10 in. (250 mm) in the […]

Brink, André

Brink, André

1935–2015 South African novelist André Phillipus Brink is a South African novelist who writes in both Afrikaans and English. He became known as known one of the “Sixtyers,” writers of the 1960s who wanted to revolutionize South African fiction by addressing social, moral, and political issues. Born in SOUTH AFRICA, Brink was educated both there and in France. His […]

Brazzaville

Brazzaville

The city of Brazzaville is the capital of the Republic of Congo and one of the country’s main industrial centers. It sits on the west bank of the Malebo Pool at the beginning of the navigable portion of the Upper CONGO RIVER, a place known as “the gateway to the heart of Africa.” Founded by the French in 1883, […]

Braide, Garrick Sokari

Braide, Garrick Sokari

ca. 1882–1918 Nigerian religious leader Garrick Sokari Braide, a Nigerian missionary and prophet, was largely responsible for the spread of Christianity in the Niger Delta region of Africa in the early 1900s. His preaching and methods combined traditional African elements with Christianity and stressed prayer and faith healing. Braide was born in the village of Obonoma, the center of […]

Bourguiba, Habib

Bourguiba, Habib

1903–2000 President of Tunisia Habib Bourguiba, son of a former Tunisian army officer, grew up under French colonial rule in TUNISIA. He was a leader in his country’s independence movement and became its first president in 1957. After receiving a good education in Tunisia, young Bourguiba studied law in Paris. There he met other North Africans who were […]

Boundaries in Africa

Boundaries in Africa

Before the arrival of European colonists, African boundaries were very loosely defined. Borders reflected the territories inhabited and controlled by different ethnic groups, and they often changed over time—generally as a result of migration or conquest. Moreover, these boundaries did not define all the available space in Africa. Some areas remained unclaimed or served as neutral zones between indigenous ethnic […]

Boumédienne, Houari

Boumédienne, Houari

ca. 1927–1978 President of Algeria Hoauri Boumédienne was the first vice president of ALGERIA after it won independence from France in 1962. Three years later, he led a coup against President Ahmed BEN BELLA. Boumédienne became Algeria’s president and remained in that position until his death. In his youth, Boumédienne was involved in the movement for Algerian independence. He rose […]

Republic of Botswana

Republic of Botswana

POPULATION: 2.039 million (2014) AREA: 231,804 sq. mi. (600,372 sq. km) LANGUAGES: English, Setswana (both are official) NATIONAL CURRENCY: Pula PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS: Christian 50%, traditional 50% CITIES: Gaborone (capital), 134,000 (1999 est.); Serowe, Francistown, Lobatse, Selibi-Phikwe, Kanye, Maun, Molepolole, Ramotswa, Mochudi, Ghanzi ANNUAL RAINFALL: Varies from 18–25 in. (460–625 mm) in the extreme northwest to less than 5 in. (125 mm) in the extreme […]

Bornu

Bornu

The empire of Bornu existed in north central Africa from about 1400 to 1900, when it became part of Britain’s colonial empire. Bornu had its origins in an earlier state named Kanem that arose around 1200 in what is now southwestern CHAD. The leaders of Kanem were divided into two competing dynasties: the Duguwa and the Sayfuwu. Driven out […]

Bokassa, Jean-Bédel

Bokassa, Jean-Bédel

1921–1996 President of the Central African Republic Military leader Jean-Bédel Bokassa became the president of the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC after a coup in 1966. Eleven years later, he had himself declared emperor and renamed the country the Central African Empire. The son of a village chief, Bokassa began his military career in the French army in 1939. He fought […]

Body Adornment and Clothing

Body Adornment and Clothing

People communicate information about themselves by the clothes they wear and the way that they adorn their bodies. In Africa body decoration and dress may offer clues to a person’s age, ethnic group, region, social position, and even political opinions. As Western-style attire becomes more common in Africa, some traditional types of adornment and dress are fading from everyday use—especially […]

Blyden, Edward Wilmot

Blyden, Edward Wilmot

1832–1912 Pioneer of Pan-African Unity Edward Blyden was a teacher and author who promoted the idea of black African pride. He stressed the importance of African languages and culture but also explored the possibility of combining African and Western cultures. The inventor of the phrase “African personality,” Blyden laid the groundwork in his writings for the NEGRITUDE movement of the […]

Biko, Steve

Biko, Steve

1946–1977 South African social activist Steve Biko, an outspoken opponent of apartheid, earned fame as a leader of the black consciousness movement in the 1960s and 1970s. The movement was based on the belief that the divisions between whites and blacks in South Africa were so great that blacks could not count on whites to end apartheid. Biko also […]

Beti, Mongo

Beti, Mongo

1932–2001 Cameroonian novelist Mongo Beti is Cameroon’s most celebrated novelist. His early novels usually explore the conflict between traditional African values and those of European colonialists. His best-known works, published in the 1950s, feature characters who come to understand the injustice of colonial rule and to realize they must help end it. Beti’s most famous novel, Le Pauvre Christ […]

Berbers

Berbers

The Berbers are a cluster of peoples who live in North Africa and in the northern parts of the Saharan countries of MALI, NIGER, and MAURITANIA. The Berbers have their own languages, which belong to the Hamitic or Afro-Asiatic language family, and they write in their own scripts. The native people of the region, the Berbers resisted the Arab […]

Benin City

Benin City

Located in the Bendel State of southern NIGERIA, Benin City is famous for the work of its numerous artisans. Despite its name, the city is not related to the nation of BÉNIN, which lies west of Nigeria. Around A.D. 1000 a center of regional importance arose on the site of the present Benin City. This early town, also known […]

Republic of Bénin

Republic of Bénin

POPULATION: 10.60 million (2014) AREA: 43,483 sq. mi. (112,620 sq. km) LANGUAGES: French (official); Fon, Yoruba, Adja, Banba NATIONAL CURRENCY: CFA franc PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS: traditional 70%, Christian 15%, Muslim 15% CITIES: Porto Novo (capital), 330,000 (1999 est.); Cotonou, Abomey, Ouidah, Parakou, Natitingu ANNUAL RAINFALL: Varies from 58 in. (1,500 mm) in the southeast to 30 in. (770 mm) in the extreme north ECONOMY: GDP […]

Ben Bella, Ahmed

Ben Bella, Ahmed

1916–2012 First president of Algeria Aleading figure in Algeria’s struggle for independence from France, Ahmed Ben Bella served as the country’s first president from 1963 to 1965. Educated at a French primary school near Oran, ALGERIA, he became involved with the independence movement while pursuing further studies in the nearby city of Tlemcen. During World War II he served in […]

Bello, Ahmadu

Bello, Ahmadu

1910–1966 Premier of Northern Nigeria Ahmadu Bello, a Nigerian leader, served as the first premier of Northern NIGERIA in 1954, when the country was under British rule. He was active in the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), a cultural organization that he helped transform into a political party in the early 1950s. Under Bello’s leadership, Northern Nigeria and the NPC […]

Barth, Heinrich

Barth, Heinrich

1821–1865 German traveler and explorer Heinrich Barth was a German-born scholar who made two long trips to Africa that he recorded in a book called Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa. Barth’s extensive knowledge of the peoples and places described in his book made it a standard reference for scholars of Africa. Barth was educated in Berlin, […]

Barghash ibn Sa’id

Barghash ibn Sa’id

1833(?)–1888 Sultan of Zanzibar Sultan Barghash ibn Sa’id ruled ZANZIBAR from 1870 until his death in 1888. He was a reformer who tried to eliminate corruption and to improve the economy of Zanzibar. Barghash rebuilt the clove economy after it was destroyed by a hurricane in 1872. Later he established a fleet of steamships that boosted the country’s trade […]

Bantu Peoples

Bantu Peoples

The Bantu, a large group of related peoples, originated along what is now the border between NIGERIA and CAMEROON and spread throughout central and southern Africa. The term Bantu is sometimes used to describe all Africans and African culture in general. But this use of the term is inaccurate; Bantu peoples make up only about a third of Africa’s population. […]

Banda, Ngwazi Hastings Kamuzu

Banda, Ngwazi Hastings Kamuzu

1898–1997 President of Malawi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda served as president of MALAWI from 1966 to 1994. His presidency was a time of one-party rule. Born in the British colony of Nyasaland (present-day Malawi), Banda left home at age 17 to study in SOUTH AFRICA. Later he traveled to the United States, where he attended college and medical school. […]

Bambara

Bambara

With a population estimated at 3 million, the Bambara are the largest ethnic group in MALI. Large numbers of them live in northern IVORY COAST as well. They are sometimes called Bamana, the name of the Mande language they speak. In the 1700s two Bambara kingdoms arose in the region, but they fell to Muslim forces during the 1800s. […]

Azikiwe, Benjamin Nnamdi

Azikiwe, Benjamin Nnamdi

1904–1996 President of Nigeria Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe was the first president of the Federal Republic of NIGERIA, after the country won its independence from Britain in 1960. As a young man, Azikiwe left Nigeria to study in the United States. He earned master’s degrees in both political science and anthropology. After his studies, he worked for three years as […]

Atlas Mountains

Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountains are the principal geographic feature of the North African countries of MOROCCO, ALGERIA, and TUNISIA. They are made up of six mountain ranges—the Anti-Atlas, the High Atlas, the Middle Atlas, the Saharan Atlas, the Tell Atlas, and the Aurés—with high plateaus and plains between them. The mountains run northeast from the Atlantic coast of Morocco to the […]

Asma’u, Nana

Asma’u, Nana

1793–1864 Islamic poet and teacher Nana Asma’u, an Islamic teacher in what is now northern Nigeria, was known for her writings and for her work in educating Muslim women. Fluent in Arabic and several African languages, she memorized the entire Muslim holy book, the Qur’an. Her father, UTHMAN DAN FODIO, was an Islamic ruler who led a jihad in […]

Askiya Muhammad I

Askiya Muhammad I

(?)–1528 Ruler of the Songhai Empire Askiya Muhammad I was a statesman and military leader who ruled the Songhai Empire of West Africa for more than 30 years. During his reign Muhammad not only expanded the empire, he also reorganized it and transformed it into a Muslim kingdom. He is said to have been a nephew of the Songhai […]

Asantewa, Yaa

Asantewa, Yaa

ca. 1832–1921 Asante queen Yaa Asantewa was queen of the ASANTE town of Edweso, located in present-day GHANA. In 1900 she led a three-month siege against British troops in the Asante capital of Kumasi. The British had seized Kumasi four years earlier in an attempt to extend their control of the country, then known as the Gold Coast. They […]

Asante

Asante

The Asante (Ashanti) are the largest and most powerful of a cluster of AKAN chiefdoms of southern GHANA and IVORY COAST. Originating around Lake Bosumtwi, the Asante migrated to the area around the town of Tafo in the early 1600s. Around 1700, Chief Osei Tutu made alliances with several surrounding kingdoms to form the Asante Union. Included in the union […]

These beaded dolls made by the Ndebele people in South Africa include items worn by married Ndebele women and were originally fertility charms.

Art

Each of the hundreds of different cultures in Africa has its own artistic traditions and its own ideas of what is beautiful or important. Variations in the style and form of artworks, as well as in the materials used to produce them, reflect such factors as a region’s geography and climate, its social customs, and the available technology. Of […]

This enclosed village in Ghana combines shelter for family groups with a courtyard for activities such as weaving mats.

Architecture

From small mud huts to towering steel skyscrapers, African architecture is a mix of indigenous and foreign, old and new. The continent’s diverse architecture reflects its varied climates and environments as well as the many different cultures and traditions of African peoples. Outside influences have played a major role as well. European designs and building methods can be seen in […]

Archaeology of North and West Africa

Archaeology and Prehistory

Africa’s archaeological heritage is both ancient and rich. Several million years ago, the first ancestors of humans emerged in Africa. About 100,000 years ago, the first modern people appeared there as well. Since that time, a pageant has unfolded across the continent’s vast and varied landscapes. Multitudes of cultures have emerged, peoples have migrated, empires have risen and fallen, and […]

Arabs in Africa

Arabs in Africa

Arabs have lived in Africa since at least the A.D. 600s, when people from the Arabian peninsula conquered EGYPT and LIBYA. Arabs eventually controlled much of North Africa. Arab culture—including the Arabic language and the practice of Islam—has been so widely adopted that Egypt, Libya, ALGERIA, TUNISIA, and MOROCCO are now considered to be part of the Arab world. Other […]

Apartheid

Apartheid

Apartheid, a system of racial segregation, was official government policy in the Republic of SOUTH AFRICA from 1948 to 1994. Under apartheid, South African blacks, Asians, and people of mixed ancestry called “Coloureds” were systematically separated from white society, deprived of any participation in government, and subjected to all forms of discrimination. The idea of white supremacy and racial discrimination […]

Antananarivo

Antananarivo

Located on hills overlooking the Ikopa and Betsiboka Rivers, Antananarivo is the capital and largest city of MADAGASCAR. A king of the Merina people called Andrianjaka conquered the site in the early 1600s. Antananarivo, which means “city of a thousand,” was named for the guard of 1,000 men who defended it after Andrianjaka’s conquest. By 1800 the Merina kingdoms established […]

Annan, Kofi

Annan, Kofi

1938– Ghanaian diplomat Elected Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) in 1997, Kofi Annan is the first Secretary-General from Africa south of the Sahara. This diplomat from GHANA has worked for the UN since 1962, except for a brief period in the 1970s when he served as Ghana’s director of tourism. Before embarking on his career in diplomacy, Annan […]

Africa: Animals, Domestic

Animals, Domestic

Africans have been raising animals for their own use for thousands of years. Species of domesticated animals spread slowly southward through Africa, beginning around 3000 B.C. or earlier, and livestock herding became a traditional way of life across broad regions of the continent. Cattle, in particular, have played a central role in the social, economic, and religious lives of many […]

Republic of Angola

Republic of Angola

POPULATION: 22.14 million (2014) AREA: 481,351 sq. mi. (1,246,700 sq. km) LANGUAGES: Portuguese (official); Bantu languages (at least 55) NATIONAL CURRENCY: Kwanza PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS: Traditional 47%, Roman Catholic 38%, Protestant 15% CITIES: Luanda (capital), 2,677,000 (2000 est.); Lobito, Benguela, Malanje, Huambo, Cabinda, Lubango ANNUAL RAINFALL: Varies from 0 in southwestern coastal desert to 70 in. (1,780 mm) in extreme north ECONOMY: GDP $131.4 […]

Amin Dada, Idi

Amin Dada, Idi

ca. 1925–2003 Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada, a member of the Nubi people, ruled UGANDA from 1971 to 1979. Regarded as one of Africa’s most ruthless leaders, Amin used murder as a political tool, and may have killed as many as 300,000 people during his reign. Enlisting in the military as a young man, Amin advanced rapidly. He was […]

Amhara

Amhara

The Amhara and the Tigrinya, indigenous peoples of ETHIOPIA, make up the group commonly known as Abyssinians. Both the Amhara and the Tigrinya are descendants of the founders of the ancient kingdom of AKSUM, and both speak Semitic languages. Originally based in the Ethiopian highlands, the Amhara gradually spread out to settle a large area of central Ethiopia. The Tigrinya […]

Algiers

Algiers

Algiers, the capital of ALGERIA, is situated on a hillside overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Home to 3.7 million people, it is one of the major cities of North Africa. The various sections of the old city show the different cultures that have influenced Algiers: French-style districts of wide boulevards alternate with Arab sections such as the Casbah, a neighborhood of […]

Algeria

The Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria

POPULATION: 39.93 million (2014) AREA: 919,595 sq. mi. (2,381,740 sq. km) LANGUAGES: Arabic (official); French, Berber dialects NATIONAL CURRENCY: Algerian dinar PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS: Muslim (Sunni) 99%, Christian and Jewish 1% CITIES: Algiers (capital), 4,200,000 (1999 est.); Oran, Constantine, Annaba, Batna ANNUAL RAINFALL: Varies from 30 in. (760 mm) along the coast to less than 4 in. (100 mm) in the Sahara ECONOMY: GDP […]

Alexandria

Alexandria

Located on a spit of land near the NILE RIVER delta, Alexandria is the second largest city in EGYPT and the country’s main port. It was founded in 332 B.C. by Alexander the Great and quickly emerged as the leading city of the Mediterranean region. Renowned in the ancient world as a center of learning, Alexandria possessed the greatest […]

Aksum

Aksum

Aksum was a kingdom located in present-day ERITREA and northern ETHIOPIA between about 200 B.C. and A.D. 650. Its capital city of Aksum sat on the western edge of the Eritrean highlands and was for several centuries a powerful and wealthy city. Historians take a particular interest in Aksum because its ruler, Ezana, converted to Christianity in 340, shortly […]

Akan Region

Akan Region

The Akan region, an area on the coast of West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, lies between the Bandama River in IVORY COAST and the Volta River in GHANA. During the 1600s, separate, competing states were formed in the northern and southern parts of the region. Before the 1400s, the region consisted of small communities of Akan clans. These people […]

AIDS

AIDS

AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a fatal disorder affecting millions of people around the world. A leading cause of death among adults in sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS threatens to overwhelm many African nations and disrupt their social and economic development. AIDS is caused by HIV, a virus that attacks and destroys the body’s immune system, making the infected person susceptible to […]

Agriculture

Agriculture

Agriculture plays a central role in the economies of nations throughout Africa, accounting for between 30 and 60 percent of all economic production. In many African nations, a majority of the people is engaged in farming, producing goods for domestic use and sometimes for export as well. Peasant and subsistence farming is the basic form of agriculture in most parts […]

Age and Aging

Age and Aging

Age has two significant roles in traditional African cultures south of the Sahara. First, respect for age and for the elderly is a universal social ideal. Second, many societies are organized into groups by age, and membership in such groups helps define a person’s sense of identity and place in the community. Recent social changes have somewhat weakened these values […]

Afrikaner Republics

Afrikaner Republics

The Afrikaner Republics were independent states established in the 1850s by Dutch colonists (Afrikaners) from British-ruled SOUTH AFRICA. The two longest-lived of the Afrikaner Republics were the Orange Free State, located between the Orange and Vaal Rivers, and the South African Republic (or Transvaal), between the Limpopo and Vaal Rivers. Each state had a strong central government, a judicial system […]

Africa, Study of

Africa, Study of

The study of Africa has a long history. People have been gathering information about the continent since ancient times. Early reports came mostly from travelers, explorers, missionaries, and merchants. Later, scholars in fields such as history, anthropology, geography, and the natural sciences began to conduct research there. Early Contact In ancient times, people living outside Africa knew little about it. […]

Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa, the capital and largest city in ETHIOPIA, is located on a high plateau in the center of the country. As home to the ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY, an organization devoted to the interests of African states, Addis Ababa is also the diplomatic capital of Africa. Addis Ababa was founded in 1886 by Empress Taitu, the wife of Ethiopian […]

Achebe, Chinua

Achebe, Chinua

1930–2013 Nigerian writer Chinua Cinualomogu Achebe is a Nigerian writer whose novels often explore the difficult choices faced by Africans in modern life. Achebe’s first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), is considered a classic and is one of the most widely read works of African literature. The hero of the book commits suicide, unable to choose between radically different ways […]

Accra

Accra, the capital of GHANA, lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Gold Coast in West Africa. It is the commercial, educational, governmental, and cultural center of Ghana, the hub of the country’s road and rail system, and the site of the Kotoka International Airport. The population is over 1.6 million. The Portuguese, the first Europeans to visit […]

A Time Line of Africa

4 m.y.a. Australopithecines (early hominids) live in northern Rift Valley (Ethiopia, Kenya). 2.5 m.y.a. Early Stone Age; Homo habilis appears (Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania). 1.5 m.y.a.– 150,000 B.C. Homo erectus appears. 240,000– 40,000 B.C. Middle Stone Age. 80,000– 20,000 B.C. Late Stone Age. 20,000– 10,000 B.C. Farming introduced in lower Nile Valley. 10,000– 6000 B.C. Cattle domesticated in northern Africa. Millet and sorghum […]

Abidjan

Abidjan

With a population of about 2.8 million, Abidjan is the capital of IVORY COAST and one of the most important ports in French-speaking Africa. Situated along the edge of the Ebrié Lagoon on the Gulf of Guinea, its ocean port handles cargo for Ivory Coast, BURKINA FASO, MALI, and NIGER. Principal exports are cocoa, coffee, timber, and petroleum. Abidjan is […]

Competitiveness

Introduction Although rarely confronted directly, competitiveness is a central concept in economic geography. In location and regional development theories, and in their work on industrial restructuring, uneven development, industrial district formation, learning regions, and neoliberalization, economic geographers have asked what gives particular advantages to enterprises located in particular places. Far from unified in their approaches to this question, different authors have […]

Community

Community is one of those concepts about which social and cultural geographers worry. It is a difficult term to tie down, and it is used in a myriad of ways by all spectrums of society. In his influential Keywords, Raymond Williams points out that unlike other terms for social relations, such as state and nation, and even society, the term ‘community’ […]

Communist and Post-Communist Geographies

Efforts in geography to address the issues of socialism/communism failed to be seminal to the emergence of any powerful theory that could have been the result of putting the perspective of scientific communism on geography. It was the political economic approach of Marxism that imbued the geographies of state socialist countries the profoundly. Human geography was replaced with economic geography. […]

Communicable Diseases, Globalization of

Introduction Communicable diseases are the greatest disease threat facing humankind. Diseases previously considered eradicated are re emerging and new viruses are emerging. Due to increased human population and accelerated global travel, local outbreaks become instant global threats. Despite technological advances in medicine, devastating communicable diseases such as Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or avian influenza continue to surface and ravage humankind. […]

Sectors and actors in the commodity chain system.

Commodity Chains

Commodity Chains: An Introduction The production of any commodity, whether it be a manufactured product or a service, involves an intricate articulation of individual activities and transactions across space and time. Such production networks – the nexus of interconnected functions and operations through which goods and services are produced and distributed – have become not only organizationally more complex but also increasingly […]

Differences in color hue (red, green, and blue peaks), color lightness (light and dark green peaks), and color saturation (pure blue and grayish blue peaks)

Color, Mapping

Introduction The word color is often associated with sensations that are named, such as red, blue, purple, and brown. However, the phenomenon of color is actually multidimensional. Color can be differentiated along three different dimensions: hue, lightness, and saturation. Color hue is related to the wavelengths of light that are perceived by the map reader, and is typically described […]

Colonialism, Internal

Definition Internal colonialism refers to a complex set of sociospatial relationships of exploitation and domination that characterize certain culturally distinct populations residing in sovereign, mainly ThirdWorld, societies. The two defining relationships of internal colonialism are that subjected populations are (1) exploited principally by mechanisms which may not be ‘capitalist proper’ and (2) institutionally dominated, both politically and culturally. In the first […]

Colonialism II

New Imperialisms, New Colonialisms, and New Political Geographies The later decades of the nineteenth century and the first years of the twentieth century witnessed European colonialism accelerate in pace and expand in scale. By 1914, much of the world was shaped by this process and its attendant, entwined webs of trade, migrants, political power, and knowledge. Historians usually trace this […]

Colonialism I

Introduction In recent years, there has been an enormous body of work which tries to understand modern European colonialism in all of its economic, social, and cultural dimensions, and to grapple with its legacies. The focus of this article is especially on British and, to a lesser extent, on French colonialism up to about 1870. The terms ‘colonialism’ and ‘imperialism’ […]

Cold War

The Cold War was named in 1947 by Bernard Baruch in his advisory role to President Truman as the United States, Great Britain, France, and its other Western allies faced off against the Soviet Union, with mutually aggressive maneuvers and countermoves, especially in Europe. This label was publicized more broadly by Walter Lippmann in a 1947 book with same name, […]

Figure 1 Photo of Saul Bernard Cohen.

Cohen, S.

Cohen, Saul (1925–) Born in Malden, Massachusetts, and was educated in Boston, Saul Cohen graduated in geography of Harvard (MA 1948, PhD 1954) and served in Europe in World War II. A liberal Democrat, he is married to Miriam, has two daughters and seven grandchildren. In 50 prolific years of writing, teaching, and studying in geography, Saul Bernard Cohen has […]

Cognitive Geography

What Is Cognitive Geography? Cognitive geography is the study of cognition, primarily human cognition, about space, place, and environment. Cognition is knowledge and knowing by sentient entities, including humans, nonhuman animals, and artificially intelligent machines. Cognitive structures and processes include those of sensation, perception, thinking, learning, memory, attention, imagination, conceptualization, language, and reasoning and problem solving. Some of these structures and processes […]

Paul Cloke

Cloke, P.

Cloke, Paul (1956 –) Professor of Human Geography at the University of Exeter, England, having previously worked in geography departments at Lampeter, Wales, and Bristol, England; by the early 1990s Martin Bodman identified Paul Cloke as an emerging ‘master weaver’ in human geography, a phrase used to characterize people having a significant influence within the discipline. Bodman argued that Cloke was one […]

Climate Change

Introduction Communities which cope with climatic hazards by im plicitly assuming a continuance of the status quo learn harsh lessons. Despite this, quite limited adaptation to known risks is often apparent in contemporary society. In the past, the catastrophe of harvest failure led to sometimes quite sophisticated coping responses and the shunning of areas of known high risk based on […]

Claval, Paul

Claval, P.

Claval, Paul (1932–) Paul Claval, born in Paris in 1932, is one of the most important geographers of his generation, both in terms of the extensive nature of his work and his originality, eclecticism, and international influence. His passion for geography developed during his teenage years in south-western France. While accompanying his father on summer work trips, Claval very quickly […]

Meeting of a women’s neighborhood committee, Guatemala City

Civil Society

Introduction Civil society is a contested term that broadly describes the arena of collective social interaction situated between the state, market, and household. Despite being used in a normative manner to encompass a host of values linked with participation and cooperation, it is more commonly used to describe a range of formal and informal nonstate organizations, groups, and associations that form […]

Example of a top-down approach to city-region definition in England, 2001

City-Region

Origin of the City-Region Since the 1990s, there has been a remarkable resurgence of the concept of the city-region in both academic and policy communities. In broad terms, the concept articulates the relationships between the city and its environs. For almost 30 years the focus on the city-region had been overshadowed by a shift of emphasis toward urban and particularly […]

City Marketing

Introduction Classic city slogans like ‘‘I ♥ New York’’ and ‘‘Glasgow’s Miles Better’’ are so embedded in the popular consciousness as to have long outlasted their official use by their respective municipalities, chambers of commerce, and convention and visitors bureaus. Cities and towns are increasingly associated with symbols, slogans, or taglines (‘‘What Happens Here Stays Here. Las Vegas’’ or ‘‘Johannesburg. A […]

Citizenship and Governmentality, Rural

Introduction In its most straightforward sense, citizenship is understood as bestowing upon individuals a legal status as members of a national polity, enacted by state apparatus and defended by legal and administrative rule and regulations. As members of that polity, individuals are entitled to certain political, civic, economic, and social rights, including individual freedom of speech, rights to property, the right […]

Citizenship

Introduction Citizenship refers to particular ways of being situated within and responding to relations of power through which a community is governed or ruled. It involves claiming, exercising, and contesting rights, entitlements, and obligations (e.g., rights to vote and strike, the obligation to pay taxes) and diverse ways of engaging with the institutions (such as the state) and relations through which […]

The determinants of chronic disease

Chronic Disease

Introduction Chronic diseases are ongoing/recurring, not caused by infection, or passed on by contact. They generally cannot be prevented by vaccines, do not resolve spontaneously, and are rarely cured by medication or other medical procedures. Chronic diseases are often caused by a combination of health damaging behaviors (smoking, drinking, high fat diet, and physical inactivity) and exposure to socioenvironmental conditions (stressful […]