African - Holidays, Flights and Hotels
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Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30,300,000 km˛ (11,700,000 mi˛) including adjacent islands, it covers 5.9% of the Earth's total surface area, and 20.3% of the total land area. With more than 840,000,000 people (as of 2005) in 61 territories, it accounts for more than 12% of the world's human population.
Africa is the largest of the three great southward projections from the main mass of the Earth's surface. Separated from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea, it is joined to Asia at its northeast extremity by the Isthmus of Suez (transected by the Suez Canal), 130 km (80 miles) wide. (Geopolitically, Egypt's Sinai Peninsula east of the Suez Canal is often considered part of Africa, as well.) From the most northerly point, Ras ben Sakka in Tunisia (37°21' N), to the most southerly point, Cape Agulhas in South Africa (34°51'15? S), is a distance of approximately 8,000 km (5,000 miles); from Cape Verde, 17°33'22? W, the westernmost point, to Ras Hafun in Somalia, 51°27'52? E, the most easterly projection, is a distance of approximately 7,400 km (4,600 miles). The coastline is 26,000 km (16,100 miles) long, and the absence of deep indentations of the shore is illustrated by the fact that Europe, which covers only 9,700,000 km˛ (3,760,000 square miles) - less than a third of the surface of Africa - has a coastline of 32,000 km (19,800 miles).
The main structural lines of the continent show both the east-to-west direction characteristic, at least in the eastern hemisphere, of the more northern parts of the world, and the north-to-south direction seen in the southern peninsulas. Africa is thus composed of two segments at right angles, the northern running from east to west, the southern from north to south, the subordinate lines corresponding in the main to these two directions.
Africa's largest country is Sudan and its smallest country is the Seychelles, an archipelago off the east coast of the continent. The smallest nation on the continental mainland is The Gambia.
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