North Africa, Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara. Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and often Mauritania are the Maghreb or Maghrib, while Egypt and Sudan are referred to as Nile Valley. Egypt is a transcontinental country by virtue of the Sinai Peninsula, which is in Asia. North Africa also includes a number of Spanish possessions, Ceuta and Melilla (tiny Spanish exclaves or islets off the coast of Morocco). The Canary Islands and the Portuguese Madeira Islands, in the North Atlantic Ocean northwest of the African mainland, are sometimes included in considerations of the region.
The distinction between North Africa and much of Sub-Saharan Africa is historically and ecologically significant because of the effective barrier created by the Sahara. Throughout history this barrier has culturally separated the North from large parts of the rest of the continent. As the seafaring civilizations of the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and others facilitated communication and migration across the Mediterranean, the cultures of North Africa became much more closely tied to Southwestern Asia and Europe than Sub-Saharan Africa. The Islamic influence in the area is significant, and North Africa, along with Somalia, Djibouti and the Middle East, is also a part of the Arab World.
Some researchers have postulated that North Africa, and not East or South Africa, was the original home of the modern humans who first trekked out of the continent.
Famous quotes containing the words north and/or africa:
“Let north and southlet all Americanslet all lovers of liberty everywherejoin in the great and good work. If we do this, we shall not only have saved the Union; but we shall have so saved it, as to make, and to keep it, forever worthy of the saving. We shall have so saved it, that the succeeding millions of free happy people, the world over, shall rise up, and call us blessed, to the latest generations.”
—Abraham Lincoln (18091865)
“What is Africa to me:
Copper sun or scarlet sea,
Jungle star or jungle track,
Strong bronzed men, or regal black
Women from whose loins I sprang
When the birds of Eden sang?”
—Countee Cullen (19031946)