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Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.3 billion people as of 2018, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. Africa's population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Despite a wide range of natural resources, Africa is the least wealthy continent per capita, in part due to geographic impediments, legacies of European colonization in Africa and the Cold War, undemocratic rule and deleterious policies. Despite this low concentration of wealth, recent economic expansion and the large and young population make Africa an important economic market in the broader global context.

The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), eight territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is its largest by population. African nations cooperate through the establishment of the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.

Africa straddles the Equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Africa is home to much biodiversity; it is the continent with the largest number of megafauna species, as it was least affected by the extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna. However, Africa also is heavily affected by a wide range of environmental issues, including desertification, deforestation, water scarcity, and other issues. These entrenched environmental concerns are expected to worsen as climate change impacts Africa. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified Africa as the continent most vulnerable to climate change.

Africa, particularly Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), meaning that Africa has a long and complex history. The earliest hominids and their ancestors have been dated to around 7 million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster— the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) remains, found in Ethiopia, South Africa, and Morocco, date to circa 200,000, 259,000, and 300,000 years ago respectively, and Homo sapiens is believed to have originated in Africa around 350,000–260,000 years ago.

Early human civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Phoenicia emerged in North Africa. Following a subsequent long and complex history of civilizations, migration and trade, Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. The last 400 years have witnessed an increasing European influence on the continent. Starting in the 16th century, this was driven by trade, including the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, which created large African diaspora populations in the Americas. In the late 19th century, European countries colonized almost all of Africa, extracting resources from the continent and exploiting local communities; most present states in Africa emerged from a process of decolonisation in the 20th century.

Africa Media

11,758 media by topicpage 1 of 118
[Portolan chart of the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the coasts of Europe and northwest Africa].

[Portolan chart of the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the coasts of...

Portolan chart with seaport names given for all coastlines. Title devised by cataloguer. Contains 4 compass roses in a circle centered in Italy to the north of Rome and half of a fifth on the trimmed center lef... More

Africa.

Africa.

Relief shown pictorially. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. Includes notes, ill., and cartouche with text. Fold-lined. LC copy imperfect: Margin in upper and lower left ... More

[A portolan chart of the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent continents].

[A portolan chart of the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent continents].

Also shows the southeast Pacific Ocean, the southwest Indian Ocean, as well as the continents of South America, Africa, Europe, and portions of North America and Asia. Relief shown pictorially. Title supplied b... More

Africae nova tabula /

Africae nova tabula /

Relief shown pictorially. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. Includes watermark. Acquisitions control no. 6-85

Gigeri in Africa preso e poi abbandonato da Francesi anno 1662

Gigeri in Africa preso e poi abbandonato da Francesi anno 1662

Birds-eye view print shows map of the coastline of North Africa looking across the Mediterranean toward the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. Ships, tents, troop formations, towns, soldiers on horseback are visi... More

[Chart of the Mediterranean, the coast of Portugal, and the northwest coast of Africa] /

[Chart of the Mediterranean, the coast of Portugal, and the northwest ...

Title devised by cataloguer. Oriented with north to the right. Contains 16 wind roses. Creator could be Giovanni Battista Cavallini, his son Pietro, or the Cavallini workshop. LC Nautical charts on vellum, 20. ... More

Totius Africæ accuratissima tabula /

Totius Africæ accuratissima tabula /

Available also through the Library of Congress web site as a raster image.

DCM 1072: Anonymous Notched Flute

DCM 1072: Anonymous Notched Flute

DCM ledger: "Africa." Instrument type: Notched Flute Medium: Bamboo, decorated at bottom with cloth binding under a beaded fabric garnish.; 58.6 cm. Key Holes System: 0/4 holes, relatively evenly spaced. Mark ... More

Africa : corrected from the observations of the Royal Society at London and Paris. /

Africa : corrected from the observations of the Royal Society at Londo...

Relief shown pictorially. Shows boundaries, rivers, forests and principal settlements, with tents symbolising areas inhabited by nomads, and notes. London meridian. "Drawn & Engrav'd by I. Senex." Available als... More

Femmes d' Afrique, en differens Habits. 1. Femmes de qualite, 2. femmes du commun, 3. esclaves J.N. Tardieu filius sculp

Femmes d' Afrique, en differens Habits. 1. Femmes de qualite, 2. femme...

Print shows three groups of African women wearing the dress of upper class and lower class women, and a female slave with two children. Title from item. Printed at bottom right: T. IV. No. XXIV. Trimmed to with... More

Virginia Colony to George III of England, April 1, 1772, Petition Against Importation of Slaves from Africa

Virginia Colony to George III of England, April 1, 1772, Petition Agai...

Petition Against Importation of Slaves from Africa

Europe, Asia, Africa and America bringing intelligence to the genius of the London Magazine / desd. drawn and engraved by Bonnor.

Europe, Asia, Africa and America bringing intelligence to the genius o...

Print shows an allegorical scene with four female figures, representing the continents (from l. to r.) Asia, Europe, Africa, and America, approaching a seated female figure with wings writing in an open volume ... More

[Ornament for the title page of The European magazine showing the goddess Europe shining light on three figures representing America, Africa, and Asia] / Seally script. ; Bayly sculp.

[Ornament for the title page of The European magazine showing the godd...

Title from item. Illus. in: The European Magazine. London : Philological Society of London, v. 3, 1783, title page. Published in: The American Revolution in drawings and prints; a checklist of 1765-1790 graphic... More

[Two women standing on platform next to shield marked "America," "Europe," "Africa," and "Asia," with chains, keys and book opened to page titled "The Rights of Men" at base of platform] / C. Gullager, del. ; engrav'd by S. Hill.

[Two women standing on platform next to shield marked "America," "Euro...

Frontispiece in: Massachusetts magazine (1789-1796), v. 2.

A map shewing the progress of, discovery & improvement, in the geography of North Africa /

A map shewing the progress of, discovery & improvement, in the geograp...

Relief shown pictorially. "The double line of dots shews Mr. Park's route in the West; Mr. Bruce's in the East." "Published according to Act of Parliament by james Rennell, May 25th, 1798." "J. Walker, sculp." ... More

The revengeful and chivalrous elephant of Africa

The revengeful and chivalrous elephant of Africa

This record contains unverified data from PGA shelflist card. Associated name on shelflist card: Boeringer, John.

Carta esférica del Occeano [sic] Alántico [sic] que comprehende las costas de Europa, Africa y América septentrional /

Carta esférica del Occeano [sic] Alántico [sic] que comprehende las co...

Watermark: C. & I. Honig. Pen-and-ink. Mounted on cloth backing. LC Luso-Hispanic World, 11 Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. Printed label describing the map mounted on... More

Charte von Africa : nach den neuesten astronomischen Beobachtungen und Reisen berichtiget und gezeichnet /

Charte von Africa : nach den neuesten astronomischen Beobachtungen und...

Relief shown by hachures. Shows political divisions. LC Copy 2 has ms. grid over northern Africa. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.

A Map of part of Africa : drawn by the latest authorities to illustrate the narrative of Captain James Riley /

A Map of part of Africa : drawn by the latest authorities to illustrat...

Relief shown by hachures. "W. Hooker, engraver, 34 Fulton & 202 Water Streets, New York." Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.

Carte de l'Afrique /

Carte de l'Afrique /

Relief shown pictorially. "Longitude orientale de Paris." Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.

Map of the West Coast of Africa from Sierra Leone to Cape Palmas, including the colony of Liberia /

Map of the West Coast of Africa from Sierra Leone to Cape Palmas, incl...

Relief shown pictorially. Copy 1 Gift; 1968; American Colonization Society; Prime meridians: Washington and Greenwich. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. Includes text an... More

Jinnoowine [i.e. "genuine"] Johnson ticket. "Carrying the war into Africa"

Jinnoowine [i.e. "genuine"] Johnson ticket. "Carrying the war into Afr...

An illustrated election ticket for the presidential campaign of 1836. Oddly, the ticket lists Ohio's Democratic electors for Van Buren while making a vicious and obscene slur on the wife of his running-mate Ri... More

Portraits of Hannibal and Cyprian, with vignettes illustrating African character and wrongs

Portraits of Hannibal and Cyprian, with vignettes illustrating African...

An abolitionist print, asserting the nobility of the African peoples and deploring their inhumane treatment under the slave trade. There are two vignettes: "Treatment of the Africans" (top) showing African nati... More

Kartenskizze von Africa zur vergleichenden Übersicht der Reisen Dr. Barth's und Dr. Livingstone's.

Kartenskizze von Africa zur vergleichenden Übersicht der Reisen Dr. Ba...

Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.

Africa. Tunis

Africa. Tunis

Street scene in Tunis, Tunisia. Title from item.

Africa. Tunis. Street scene

Africa. Tunis. Street scene

Title from item. On mount verso: 3555.

Africa, Tunis, woman

Africa, Tunis, woman

Woman, wearing low-cut blouse, laying on cot. Title from item. No. 164. Possibly taken by Tancrède R. Dumas.

Africa. Tunis. Mosque

Africa. Tunis. Mosque

People walking down street from a mosque, the minaret is seen behind them. Title from item. On mount verso: 3572.

The gorilla, from Africa, supposed to be our next of kin

The gorilla, from Africa, supposed to be our next of kin

Photo shows mounted animals. Photographed by Haines; published by Hurst & Sons. Caption card tracings: Animals; Taxidermy; Shelf.

[Three Nandi warriors full-length portrait, standing, facing front, Africa]

[Three Nandi warriors full-length portrait, standing, facing front, Af...

Photograph by Publishers Photo Service, New York City. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

Africa, steamboat

Africa, steamboat

Steamboat at wharf, Africa. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

North Africa.  Merchants of the Sahara Desert

North Africa. Merchants of the Sahara Desert

Two men with wares on backs of two camels. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection.

Zulu chief, South Africa

Zulu chief, South Africa

Man in native dress standing in front of hut. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection. "Ellis Allen, stationer, Willoughby's Buildings, Bulawayo."

Cape-to-Cairo Railway bridge over the gorge of the Zambesi River, Africa

Cape-to-Cairo Railway bridge over the gorge of the Zambesi River, Afri...

Copyright by Keystone View Co. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection.

A language map of Africa /

A language map of Africa /

Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.

Croquis de l'Afrique Équatoriale : contenant les dernier renseignements recueillis par les agents de l'Association Internationale du Congo

Croquis de l'Afrique Équatoriale : contenant les dernier renseignement...

Includes inset location map. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. LC copy annotated in red ink. LC copy has label: Note. This specimen map is mounted on linen for use only... More

Hunting the lion in Africa & elsewhere

Hunting the lion in Africa & elsewhere

Lion with crown on head being attacked by men on camels, while man in box "Mohammed" watches scene from overhead and another man, seated next to keg of dynamite in front of lion, smokes a pipe. Variant title on... More

Central-Afrika nach den neuesten Forschungen bearbeitet von Dr. Joseph Chavanne.

Central-Afrika nach den neuesten Forschungen bearbeitet von Dr. Joseph...

Relief shown by hachures. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.

[Don't shoot, boss]

[Don't shoot, boss]

Title from mat. (DLC/PP-1933:0118). Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress). Published in: "Maiwa's Revenge" by H. Rider Haggard, Harper's magazine, 77:185 (July 1888).

[Carrying off the ivory]

[Carrying off the ivory]

(DLC/PP-1933:0118). Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress). Published in: "Maiwa's Revenge" by H. Rider Haggard, Harper's magazine, 77:358 (Aug. 1888).

Bridge on the Uganda Railway made of American steel and put in place under American direction, Africa

Bridge on the Uganda Railway made of American steel and put in place u...

Train on a bridge with man walking on plank over stream below. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection.

Africa - Stores: vaulted bazaars of Tunis

Africa - Stores: vaulted bazaars of Tunis

Title and other information transcribed from unverified, old caption card data and item. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

Ricksha boys, Durban, South Africa

Ricksha boys, Durban, South Africa

Photo shows four young men sitting at the front of rickshaws, facing front, three are wearing horned headdresses and the fourth is wearing a floral headdress. Title from caption card and item. LOT subdivision s... More

Africa - Musicians of the Sahara Desert

Africa - Musicians of the Sahara Desert

Five blacks playing flutes; 3 playing drums.

Man on a tame zebra jumping a fence in East Africa

Man on a tame zebra jumping a fence in East Africa

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. LOT subdivision subject: Africa, miscellaneous. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

Die Deutschen und Britischen Schutzgebiete und Interessenspharen in Aequatorial-Ost-Afrika : nach den Vereinbarungen vom Juni 1890 /

Die Deutschen und Britischen Schutzgebiete und Interessenspharen in Ae...

Covers Tanzania, Ruanda, and Burundi and portions of Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, and Malawi. Relief shown by shading and spot heights. In upper left margin: Westliches Blat... More

Native market of the Kavirondo tribe - woman in foreground wears tassel which is the tribal insignia of a married woman; Anklets are of telephone wire, Victoria Nyanza, Tanganyika, Africa.

Native market of the Kavirondo tribe - woman in foreground wears tasse...

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. LOT subdivision subject: Tanganyika. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

Policemen, Natal, South Africa

Policemen, Natal, South Africa

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. LOT subdivision subject: South Africa. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

Man of the Kikayu tribe, British East Africa

Man of the Kikayu tribe, British East Africa

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. LOT subdivision subject: Africa, miscellaneous. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). Photograph by Publishers Photo S... More

Africa - Tanganyika - Dar Es Salaam--Women convicts working on road

Africa - Tanganyika - Dar Es Salaam--Women convicts working on road

Women chained togther by neck rings. Photograph by E.M. Santos, Dar Es Salaam. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

Swahili women, Africa

Swahili women, Africa

One woman fixing another woman's hair. Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. Photograph by Coutinho & Sons, Mombasa. LOT subdivision subject: Africa, miscellaneous. Frank and Franc... More

[Men working 2000 ft. undergound in Kimberley Diamond Mine, South Africa]

[Men working 2000 ft. undergound in Kimberley Diamond Mine, South Afri...

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. LOT subdivision subject: South Africa. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). Caption card tracings: Geogr.; Diamond Ind.

Black, Chinese and White laborers in a gold mine in South Africa

Black, Chinese and White laborers in a gold mine in South Africa

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. LOT subdivision subject: South Africa. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). Caption card tracings: Mines... Gold; Chi... More

Anatomy class (at Gordon College?), Sudan, Africa

Anatomy class (at Gordon College?), Sudan, Africa

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. LOT subdivision subject: Sudan. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

[2 semi-nude Nubian women standing in front of hut, Africa]

[2 semi-nude Nubian women standing in front of hut, Africa]

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. LOT subdivision subject: Sudan. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). Caption card tracings: Africa-Nubia; Women.

Tipo Tib's fresh captives being sent into bondage - witnessed by Stanley Bayard(?)

Tipo Tib's fresh captives being sent into bondage - witnessed by Stanl...

Captives in African village being sent into slavery. Reproduction of a wood engraving from Heroes of the Dark Continent: and How Stanley found Emin Pasha by James W. Buel, 1890, c1899, p. 489 (possibly from a reprint).

Premier Diamond Mine (in South Africa)

Premier Diamond Mine (in South Africa)

Title from caption card and item. LOT subdivision subject: South Africa. Forms part of: Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

Taureg policeman holding lance, North Africa

Taureg policeman holding lance, North Africa

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

[2 barefooted policemen posed full lgth., Capetown, South Africa]

[2 barefooted policemen posed full lgth., Capetown, South Africa]

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. LOT subdivision subject: South Africa. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). Caption card tracings: Geogr.; Police.

N. Africa (?) market scene

N. Africa (?) market scene

Gift; William P. Meeker; 1971. Forms part of: Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942. World's Transportation Commission photograph collection (Library of Congress).

N. Africa (?) two women posed with flowers

N. Africa (?) two women posed with flowers

Gift; William P. Meeker; 1971. Forms part of: Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942. World's Transportation Commission photograph collection (Library of Congress).

North Africa (?) three women standing

North Africa (?) three women standing

Gift; William P. Meeker; 1971. Forms part of: Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942. World's Transportation Commission photograph collection (Library of Congress).

N. Africa (?) girl and woman carrying baskets

N. Africa (?) girl and woman carrying baskets

Gift; William P. Meeker; 1971. Forms part of: Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942. World's Transportation Commission photograph collection (Library of Congress).

N. Africa (?) three women carrying pots on their heads

N. Africa (?) three women carrying pots on their heads

Gift; William P. Meeker; 1971. Forms part of: Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942. World's Transportation Commission photograph collection (Library of Congress).

[Royal Artillery in camp before Pretoria, South Africa]

[Royal Artillery in camp before Pretoria, South Africa]

No. 11869. Caption card tracings: Shelf.

Long-horned cow, Africa

Long-horned cow, Africa

Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection.

Church St. and town hall--Maritzburg, South Africa

Church St. and town hall--Maritzburg, South Africa

Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress)

Baobab tree, Africa

Baobab tree, Africa

Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection.

A wounded Boer at Spion Kop, South Africa

A wounded Boer at Spion Kop, South Africa

Wounded soldier receiving first aid from another soldier, other soldiers engaged in fighting around them. No. X2810A. Copyright by William H. Rau.

Natives of Dahomey, Africa - Dahomey Village, Exposition of 1900--Paris, France

Natives of Dahomey, Africa - Dahomey Village, Exposition of 1900--Pari...

D14380 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

37th R.A. howitzer battery going to Maddox Hill to throw lyddite into the Boer Laager, S. Africa

37th R.A. howitzer battery going to Maddox Hill to throw lyddite into ...

Photograph shows British artillery during the Boer War. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Shelf.

Our foreign missions;-- an embarrassment of riches for the heathen / Dalrymple.

Our foreign missions;-- an embarrassment of riches for the heathen / D...

Illustration showing missionaries from various religions appealing to an African man sitting on a throne. Title from item. Illus. in: Puck, v. 47, no. 1211 (1900 May 23), centerfold. Copyright 1900 by Keppler &... More

[British soldiers, Africa]

[British soldiers, Africa]

Three black soldiers posed, holding rifles. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection.

Travellers palm, Africa

Travellers palm, Africa

Photo by Coutinho & Sons, Mombasa. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection.