Africa is around 30 million km². About 944 million Africans live on the continent, which corresponds to 14.2 percent of the world population. Africa (Latin Africa) was originally the name for the Afrigi people in a part of what is now Tunisia in Roman times. The Arabic “afar” means dust or earth.

The most populous African countries are Nigeria, Ethiopia and Egypt, the largest in terms of area Algeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan.

African Country Overview by Nation

Ethiopia – East Africa

Ethiopia is a state in Africa. The capital of the country is Addis Ababa. Around 102 million Ethiopians, Ethiopians and people of other nationalities, live in Ethiopia. The official language is Amharic. Ethiopia covers an area of ​​around 1 million km² and is therefore around twice the size of France. The highest mountain in Ethiopia is the Ras Daschan Terara at 4,620 meters. Neighboring countries are Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti.

The national holiday of Ethiopia is May 28th (defeat of the Mengistu regime in 1991).

Ethiopia Flag and Map

Angola – Central Africa

Angola is a state in Africa. The capital of the country is Luanda. About 29 million Angolans and Angolans of other nationalities live in Angola. The official language is Portuguese. Angola covers an area of ​​around 1 million km² and is about four times the size of Italy. The highest mountain in Angola is the Môco at 2,619 meters. Neighboring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, the Republic of the Congo and Namibia.

The national holiday of Angola is November 11th (guarantee of independence by Portugal in 1975).

Angola Flag and Map

Benin – West Africa

Benin is a state in Africa. The capital of the country is Porto Novo. Approx. 11 million Beninese people of other nationalities live in Benin. The official language is French. Benin covers an area of ​​around 115,000 km². The highest point in Benin is Mont Sokbaro at 658 meters. Neighboring countries are Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and Togo.

Benin Flag and Map

Burkina Faso – West Africa

Burkina Faso, the land of the upright, is a state in Africa. The capital is Ouagadougou. There are around 19 million Burkinaans and people of other nationalities living in Burkina Faso. The official language is French. Burkina Faso covers an area of ​​around 274,000 km² and is about three times the size of the Republic of Austria. The highest point in Burkina Faso is the Tena Kourou with 749 meters. Neighboring countries are Ghana, Ivory Coast, Niger, Mali, Benin and Togo.

Burkina Faso Flag and Map

Decolonization of Africa

The decolonization of Africa occurred during the twentieth century when the populations of the occupied African territories succeeded in driving out the European invader and thus gaining independence.

The first African country to be independent was Liberia in 1847; and the last, Eritrea, in 1993.

Historical context

The processes of independence in Africa began in the early twentieth century with the independence of Egypt. However, only after World War II, with weakened European powers, did African countries achieve independence.

People from African countries were called in to participate in the war effort and many fought in the conflict. When they finished, they imagined they would have more autonomy, but that’s not what happened. Colonialism continued as before the war. For rankings of African countries, please see largest nations by population.


After the end of World War II, the UN pressured the imperialist powers to end colonization.

Likewise, the world was experiencing the Cold War, the dispute for world hegemony between the United States (capitalism) and the USSR (socialism).

Both countries supported the rebel side that came closest to their ideas in order to co-opt them into their sphere of influence.

Similarly, pan-Africanist ideas conquered the African continent with their thought for African unity.

Pan Africanism

In the interwar period, the idea began that the Africans had more similarities to each other than differences.

Virtually the entire continent had suffered from European colonization and slave trade. In this way, pan-Africanism was created that thought a common identity to Africans in order to unite them against the European invader.

One of the most prominent leaders of pan-Africanism was the American WEB Du Bois (1868-1963), who excelled at writing about the racial issues of his time and supporting the independence movements of the African continent.

Du Bois was an active participant and organizer of the Pan-African Congress which was held periodically to discuss issues relevant to the black people.


Independence processes on the African continent took place at different times. For example, the nations of northern West and East Africa were free from the 1950s.

Already those belonging to sub-Saharan Africa, in 1960, the members of Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean region between 1970 and 1980.

Egypt achieves its independence in 1922, but it will be in the 1950s that several states achieve their autonomy such as Libya (1951), Morocco and Tunisia (1956) and Ghana (1957).

Between 1957 and 1962, 29 countries became new independent states and contributed to accelerating the process of African decolonization.

Each imperialist country has vacated Africa differently. Let’s see:

  • The United Kingdom agrees to withdraw from certain territories and transfer power to leaders chosen by the metropolis. To keep them as allies, the Commonwealth is created.
  • France changes the status of its colonies to Overseas Provinces and later creates the French Community where it will reunite its former possessions while maintaining French as an official language and a common currency. The exception will be the bloody Algerian War.
  • Spain turned Equatorial Guinea into an overseas province in 1960 and Ceuta and Melila into cities. In 1968 Equatorial Guinea was declared independent.
  • Belgium will be involved in the Congo War.
  • Portugal does not accept to dispose of its colonies and will only change the status of these territories in 1959. Even so, the 60s and 70s are marked by armed conflicts only resolved with the Carnation Revolutionin 1974.

After independence

The cost of the struggle for independence has been high as a result of colonial wars that have led to the lives of millions and undermined the productive capacity of countries.

After the end of Africa’s decolonization, most new countries go into civil war. This is because there were peoples who were historically enemies and now lived within the same border.

Also the different ideologies – capitalism and socialism – have confronted various groups for power.

In addition, former settlers try to keep the new nations as allies. For this, they become partners and buyers of the raw materials of these countries.

Although the continent has shown growth in recent decades, African countries still suffer the consequences of colonization and bad governments.

African Population and Languages