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North Africa round up

So North Africa.  Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara are the countries considered north Africa, and then sometimes, Mauritania and most recently  South Sudan. Here are some interesting bits about North Africa.

1. The distinction between North Africa and much of Sub-Saharan Africa is historically and ecologically significant because of the effective barrier created by the Sahara Desert for much of modern history. 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 are 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.

2.Egypt is the biggest country in the region and the oldest African civilization on the continent. Egypt has among the longest histories of any modern country, emerging as one of the world’s first nation states in the tenth millennium BC. Considered a cradle of civilization, Ancient Egypt experienced some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanization, organized religion and central government. Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings, reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of archaeological study and popular interest worldwide.

3.Modern Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa and the third most populous country in Africa, after Nigeria and Ethiopia. It is an important country geopolitically because of its location, bordered by Libya to the west, the Sudan to the south, and the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east. It possesses a land bridge (the Isthmus of Suez) between Africa and Asia, traversed by a navigable waterway (the Suez Canal) that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean by way of the Red Sea. 4. Besides the Sahara desert, the  River Nile is the most important geographical feature in north Africa. It is generally regarded as the longest river in the world however other conflicting sources cite a 2007 study that gave the title to the Amazon River in South America. The Nile, actually is shared by eleven countries in east and north Africa; Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt. In particular, the Nile is the primary water source of Egypt and Sudan and it provided a crucial role in the development of the Egyptian civilization.

5.The country, Western Sahara is a disputed territory in the Maghreb region of North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It was owned by Spain for a while and then Morocco and Mauritania fought over it and  Morocco won.

6. We, sub Saharan Africans are not that cool with north Africa. Many sub Saharan Africans do not consider North Africa part of Africa, and well sometimes they don’t consider themselves part of us either. This idea is perpetuated widely and reinforced in academia, politics, film, media, foreign policy, immigration policies and many other aspects affecting the lives of Africans. It is partially the phenomenon of the identity politics of Arab Africans again and we shall talk about it in the other pieces on North Africa. 

Find below  other bits on North Africa from my work

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