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The Geography of Africa - PowerPoint

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					The Geography of Africa

Main Ideas
• Fertile soil along the Nile River encouraged the rise of great civilizations (ex. Egypt) • Many geographic features in Africa have prevented contact, trade & unity among peoples • Many of these same features limit European knowledge of Africa “the Dark Continent”

Physical Geography
• PHYSICAL FEATURES • Sahara Desert • smooth coastline • lack of navigable rivers • Great Rift Valley • high plateau • RESULT • Groups are kept separate - • 800 different languages are spoken in modern Africa

Diversity leads to Imperialism
• Raw materials and resources lead to European interest in Africa • Africa’s geographical divisions prevents the Africans from cooperating to resist

Interesting Statistics
• 2nd largest continent- 11,700,000 square miles! • That’s 20.2% of the earth • And 3x the size of the USA • 778,000,000 people • 55 countries

Topography
• Deserts
– 40% of the land surface of Africa – slows cultural diffusion - does not totally prevent it

• Sahara -- North Africa
– 1/3 of the continent (= to the USA!!) – majority is rock and gravel

• Kalahari--Southwest Africa

True desert spreads into semiarid regions
Problem: Desertification

Sahel Desert (south Sahara)

malnutrition

starvation

poverty

Desertification - Causes
• Farmers use semi-arid land next to desert yields poor crop • Overgrazing by cattle and goats • Overcutting of trees for firewood

• With no grass or tree roots, the topsoil blows away, the desert advances

Solutions
• Crop rotation • Terracing to prevent soil from washing away • Tree belts to stop erosion and hold soil in place

Mountains
• East Africa– caused by volcanic activity – section of the land sank - causing the Great Rift Valley – Atlas (NW) – Drakensberg (SE) – Ethiopian Highlands – Famous peaks - Mt. Kenya & Mt. Kilimanjaro

Rivers
• Depth varies depending on the season • Plateaus prevent easy navigation

• Therefore, the interior of Africa remained largely unexplored

• • • • •

4,180 miles long (world’s longest!!) flows NORTH Source - - Lake Victoria Delta - - Egypt Floods annually
– One of the most densely populated region in Africa

• Waterfalls and rapids prevent easy navigation • Congo - 3000 miles long • Niger - ancient civilizations flourished here • Zambezi - Victoria Falls, used for hydroelectric power

Coastline
• Smooth • Few natural harbors - hard to land ships

Climate - determined by rainfall, latitude and elevation
• • • • Savanna - 40%, safari!! Tropical Rainforest - 8%, Desert - 40% Mediterranean - 12%, good farm land

• About 85% of the land is not suited to farming

Natural Resources
• Farming
– peanuts, cotton, cocoa, coffee

• Minerals
– diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt

• Water
– hydroelectric power


				
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posted:4/16/2008
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