Continent of the eastern hemisphere in the South of the Mediterranean and adjoining Asia (the Arabian peninsula) in the Northeast.
Africa is the second largest continent, after Asia, covering about one-fifth of the total land surface of the Earth. The continent is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, and on the south by the mingling waters of the Atlantic and Indian oceans. It covers an area of 30·244·049 square kilometers.
The name "Africa" seems to be derived from "Aourigha", the name of a tribe living in the hinterland of Carthago. Since the area had been colonized by Phoenicians the tribe's name may be originating from an even earlier Phoenician/Punite word. When the Romans conquered the area they named the province Africa, soon meaning all the land on the other side of the Mediterranean (from an Italian view).
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this entry was last changed Sep 21, 2006