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Interesting Facts About Africa

Africa is home to the Black people. It is the second largest continent in the world after Asia. With 11,700,000 square miles and over 877 million people, Africa consists of 54 independent nations.

The continent has a rich mix of history, culture, traditions, languages and beliefs. You’d be surprised how distinct yet alike each nation is in Africa. Home to vast deserts, tropical rainforests, rugged mountains and fertile grasslands, Africa is breathtaking in every way. 

You may think you know all there is about this continent, but you are in for a surprise. Here are some interesting facts about Africa that you should know. 

The human race has its roots in Africa

Discoveries at locations in East Africa produced the earliest skeletal evidence of anatomically modern humans, or homo sapiens.

The earliest known human remains in the world, dating to 195,000 years ago, were found near Omo, Ethiopia.

Africans organized the first fishing trips

A collection of beautifully crafted, ornately polished, and barbed harpoon points were discovered at Katanda, a location in northeastern Zare (now Congo). 

Another well-crafted object, thought to be a dagger, was also discovered. The results raised the possibility of an early civilisation based on fishing or the aquatic environment.


Africans pioneered basic arithmetic 25,000 years ago

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Ishango bone

The Ishango bone is a tool handle with notches carved into it found in the Ishango region of Zaïre (now called Congo) near Lake Edward

The bone tool was originally thought to have been over 8,000 years old, but a more sensitive recent dating puts it at 25,000 years old. 

There are three rows of notches on the tool. Row 1 shows three notches carved next to six, four carved next to eight, ten carved next to two fives and finally a seven. 

The 3 and 6, 4 and 8, and 10 and 5, represent the process of doubling. Row 2 shows eleven notches carved next to twenty-one notches, and nineteen notches carved next to nine notches. This represents 10 + 1, 20 + 1, 20 – 1 and 10 – 1. 

Finally, Row 3 shows eleven notches, thirteen notches, seventeen notches and nineteen notches. 11, 13, 17 and 19 are the prime numbers between 10 and 20.

Sudan has more pyramids than any other country on earth

Even more than Egypt. There are at least 223 pyramids in the Sudanese cities of Al Kurru, Nuri, Gebel Barkal and Meroë.

Interesting Facts About Africa

They are generally 20 to 30 metres high and steep sided.

The Oldest Civilization began in Africa

Between 1000 BC and 300 BC, the oldest civilization in West Africa developed in central Nigeria. The early artifacts were found in a settlement called Nok, which gave rise to the name of the ancient civilization that was discovered in 1928. 

According to two contemporary scholars, “after calibration, the Nok art era runs from 1000 BC until 300 BC.” The actual location dates back to 4580 or 4290 BC, which makes it much older.


The most widely spoken language in Africa is Arabic

This might be an interesting entertaining fact about Africa. 

Africa has 54 countries, and as a result, is home to many different languages.

However, Arabic is the most extensively used language in this continent (spoken by 170 million people), then English (spoken by 130 million), Swahili, French, Bereber, Hausa, and Portuguese. We doubt that you have even heard of the many different languages that are spoken here.

Africa is the world’s hottest continent

As you are probably already aware, Africa has a very warm climate and is regarded as the warmest continent in the world. 

The Sahara is the largest desert in the world, with temperatures that frequently reach 100°F (or above 40°C). El Azizia, Libya once had the highest recorded temperature on Earth at 136.4°F (58°C). 

Around 60% of the earth is dry and covered in desert. However, the continent also has the other extreme, with the coldest temperature in Africa being as low as 11°F (23.9 °C) in Ifrane, Morocco. 

This merely demonstrates the diversity of the various nations in Africa, and the distinctions go beyond just those related to climate!

Before colonial rule, Africa had 10,000 nations

Africa was home to over 10,000 independent governments and autonomous groups. Each with their own languages and customs, before the colonization period. 

This pre-colonial and fragmented Africa could explain why there are so many languages. It could also be the reason why many of the ones spoken in different parts of Africa are not spoken elsewhere.

Nigeria has the highest number of twins born in the world

Nigeria, one of the largest nations in Africa, has earned the label “The Land of Twins” from the BBC due to having the highest number of twin births worldwide. 

The center of it all is a sleepy little town in Nigeria called Igbo-Ora where the most recent data shows an average of 50 sets of twins in every 1,000 births. This makes West Africa the region with the highest twin birth rates in the whole globe.

READ: Top Nigerian Classic Artistes

Africa took part in the shortest war ever recorded

Africa not only hosted the second deadliest war in recorded history, but it also hosted the conflict with the shortest duration. 

The war was between Zanzibar and Great Britain, and broke out in August 1896. 

It all began when the British refused to recognize Sultan Khalid bin Barghash as the rightful successor to the earlier, pro-British Sultan Hamad ibn Thuwaini. War broke out as British forces invaded the palace grounds, but Sultan Khalid bin Barghash raised the white flag of surrender after just 38 minutes of fighting. 

Later, he escaped to German East Africa as the British took control of the situation and chose a new Sultan.

The Sahara desert is bigger than the USA

As the largest desert on earth, the Sahara is truly enormous. At 9.4 million square kilometers, it is larger than the entire USA! 

Another fascinating fact about the Sahara is that it has been expanding in the south at a rate of half a mile per month, or six miles per year, so that it is literally becoming bigger!

Interesting Facts About Africa

There are less than nine miles between Africa and Europe.

Africa and Europe have vastly varied civilizations, in part because both continents are home to numerous nations with diverse customs. 

However, they are just about nine miles apart at their closest point. There are only approximately nine miles separating Morocco from Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar. 

The two nations are currently discussing the creation of an underwater train system to facilitate travel between Africa and Europe, which would be great for upcoming safari vacations.

Africa is home to one of the oldest universities in the world

Despite the fact that many adults are illiterate in this region, one of the oldest universities in the world is located in Africa. 

Timbuktu, a city in Mali founded in the 12th century, was the intellectual epicenter of the time. Historians even nicknamed it “Paris of the Middle Ages”. 

Founded in 982 CE, the University of Timbuktu is one of the oldest recognized academic institutions.

Africa remains the biggest single source of gold

Africa, and more specifically the Witwatersrand region of South Africa, has produced over half of all gold ever mined on Earth. 

Gold exports were valued at $3.8 billion USD in 2005 despite a drop in production. Although Botswana produces the highest amount of diamonds, South Africa is also well known for its diamonds.

African Elephants are the largest living mammals

The largest living land animal is an African elephant, which may weigh over six tons and measure up to seven meters in length. 

Interesting Facts About Africa - battabox.com

They are frequently compared to their Asian relatives, yet they differ greatly in several important ways, including size. In comparison to their Asian ancestors, they also have significantly larger ears, more wrinkles, and rings on their trunks. 

When you go on your next safari, keep an eye out for this amazing species.


Tunish buildings are made of fishbones

In Tunisia, a country in North Africa, many people believe that fish have spiritual importance, and they employ them as a form of protection against evil spirits.

Many homes in this area have fish bones inserted into the walls and floors to protect the occupants from evil spirits, unlike some families who only use fish photos as decorations.

Lake Malawi has the highest number of fish species

One of Africa’s most stunning safari and beach locations is Lake Malawi, which also has the greatest diversity of fish species. 

When you have the chance to visit, make sure to keep an eye out for some because there are more species of fish in this lake — 500 in total — than in any other lake in the world.

Africans carried out surgeries before colonization 

Autopsies and caesarean operations were routinely and effectively carried out by surgeons in pre-colonial Uganda. The surgeons routinely used antiseptics, anaesthetics and cautery iron.

Commenting on a Ugandan caesarean operation that appeared in the Edinburgh Medical Journal in 1884, one author wrote: “The whole conduct of the operation . . . suggests a skilled long-practiced surgical team at work conducting a well-tried and familiar operation with smooth efficiency.”

READ: Best Places to Visit in Port Harcourt

Africans minted their own money 

Ethiopia minted its own coins over 1,500 years ago. 

One scholar wrote that: “Almost no other contemporary state anywhere in the world could issue in gold, a statement of sovereignty achieved only by Rome, Persia, and the Kushan kingdom in northern India at the time.”

Africa have the largest clay building in the world

Interesting Facts About Africa - battabox.com
Grand Mosque in the Malian city of Djenné

The Grand Mosque in the Malian city of Djenné, described as “the largest adobe [clay] building in the world”, was first raised in 1204 AD. 

It stands on a square plan where each side is 56 metres in length. It has three large towers on one side, each with projecting wooden buttresses.