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For information on

Physical characteristics of the continent of Africa: See Climate of Africa; Geomorphology, African.

Rivers: See Congo River; Gambia River; Niger River; Nile River; Senegal River; Ubangi River; Zambezi River.

Deserts: See Drought and Desertification; Kalahari Desert ...

Article

Robert Fay

Located near the city of Aswan, the Aswan High Dam provoked controversy even before it was constructed. The United States had promised funds to Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser to underwrite the construction of the dam. Egypt claimed nonalignment during the Cold War—that is, it allied with neither the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) nor the United States. However, while seeking funding for the dam, Egypt completed an arms deal with the USSR In retaliation, the United States withdrew the funding offer, whereupon Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal claiming that revenue from the canal would offset the dam s construction costs This provoked an international conflict over control of the canal Nasser meanwhile secured funds from the USSR for one third of the dam s construction costs the total of which exceeded $1 billion The dam was an important part of Nasser s vision for Egypt He sought ...

Article

Eric Bennett

Due to its tectonic history, weather patterns, and sheer longitudinal sprawl—7,918 km (4,920 mi)—from Tunis, Tunisia to Cape Town, South Africa), Africa contains an extraordinary variety of habitats. As a result, measurements of species diversity, average biomass, and “primary productivity” (amount of energy plants photosynthesize) vary immensely. In addition, the flora and fauna of Africa have evolved and adapted according to specific local and regional conditions, which have, in turn, been influenced by global patterns and epochal changes. Thus the Climate and Geomorphology of Africa play primary roles in the determination of biological diversity Although the complexity of life in Africa limits the use of simple categories the continent may be roughly classified into a small number of biomes or ecological types Scientists use biomes to classify large regions of relative uniformity where soil plants animals and weather suggest a continuity of condition A biome most ...

Article

Adam Jones

traveler and writer from what is now southern Ghana, was born c. 1827 in or near the Asante capital of Kumasi. In contemporary documents, his name often appears as Aquassie Boachi. His father Kwaku Dua (c.1797–1867) was Asantehene (King of Asante) from 1834 to 1867. According to the “History of Ashanti,” prepared in the mid-twentieth century under the chairmanship of Asantehene Prempeh II (1892–1970), Kwasi Boakye belonged to the village of Atomfuo, 8 miles (13 km) east of Kumasi. This suggests that on his mother’s side he came from the lineage of royal blacksmiths, which may explain why, in 1837 in accordance with his father s wishes he and a close relative of the same age Kwame Poku were chosen to accompany a Dutch embassy under Major General Jan Verveer on its return to Elmina on the coast They were subsequently brought to ...

Article

Alexander J. Chenault

the first black popularly elected governor of the United States Virgin Islands, Delegate to the United States House of Representatives, and ambassador, was born in Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, to Charles and Maude (Rogiers) Evans. He attended the Christiansted Public Grammar and Junior High schools and completed his secondary education at the Charlotte Amalie High School in St. Thomas, where he graduated as valedictorian of his class.

At the age of nineteen, Evans moved to Washington, D.C., and studied at Howard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1940. In 1944 he received his medical degree with honors from the Howard University Medical School. Evans married Mary Phyllis Anderson, a nurse he met while completing his medical internship at Harlem Hospital in New York City in 1945, and they had four sons together: Melvin Herbert Jr., Robert Rogiers, William Charles and ...

Article

Mary Krane Derr

journalist, physician, business and civic leader, and Caribbean independence activist, was born to the reformer Charles Edgar Petioni and Alicia Martin Petioni in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, British-occupied West Indies. Charles Augustin Petioni graduated from the Boys' Model School, the Government College for Teachers (1900), and the Royal Victoria Institute (Commercial Business Course, 1902). Between the ages of sixteen and twenty-three he was employed as clerk and manager for Felix Potin and Company, a French distributor of specialty foods such as chocolates. He then distinguished himself as chief reporter and sub-editor of Port-of-Spain's Daily Morning Mirror (1908–1916) and editor of the bilingual (Spanish-English) Daily Evening Argos (1917–1918). He also served as an official government reporter for Trinidad's Supreme Court and Legislative Council.

As a journalist Petioni critiqued British rule He took further anticolonial action as founder and officer of the Metropolitan ...

Article

Up until the past century, Africa’s population has grown slowly by world standards. Twentieth-century improvements in hygiene and medical care, however, dramatically reduced mortality rates and contributed to a period of extremely rapid growth between the 1950s and the 1980s. According to a 2002 United Nations estimate, the average woman in Africa has 4.9 children during her lifetime. (In contrast, women in Europe have only 1.4 children on average.) But fertility rates have begun to decline in several African countries, due to a combination of urbanization, education, and increased contraceptive use. If current trends continue, the population in Africa may stabilize shortly after 2050 at just over two billion people.

Article

Sahel  

Elizabeth Heath

Named after the Arabic word for shore or border, sahil, the Sahel is a hot, semiarid region characterized by sparse savanna vegetation and shrubbery. It covers an area south of the Sahara approximately 200 to 400 km (about 125 to 250 mi) wide, extending across the African continent from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea and covering at least part of ten countries—Senegal, gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Sudan.

A land of extreme conditions the Sahel experiences two hot seasons from approximately February to April and September to October punctuated by a short rainy season between May and August During December and January the Harmattan a wind from the desert brings cooler weather and thick dust Annual rainfall in the Sahel is notoriously variable and unpredictable but in recent years has averaged between ...