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Africa

African Peoples

African peoples, who account for over 12% of the world's population, are distributed among 55 countries and are further distinguishable in terms of linguistic (see African languages) and cultural groups, which number around 1,000. The Sahara forms a great ethnic divide. North of it, mostly Arabs predominate along the coast and Berbers (including the Tuareg) and Tibbu in the interior regions. Sub-Saharan Africa is occupied by a diverse variety of peoples including, among others, the Amhara, Mossi, Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo, Kongo (see Kongo, kingdom of), Zulu (see Zululand), Akan, Oromo, Masai, and Hausa. Europeans are concentrated in areas with subtropical climates or tropical climates modified by altitude; in the south are persons of Dutch and British descent, and in the northwest are persons of French, Italian, and Spanish descent. Lebanese make up an important minority community throughout W Africa, as do Indians in many coastal towns of S and E Africa. There are also significant Arab populations both in E Africa and more recently in W Africa. As a whole, Africa is sparsely populated; the highest densities are found in Nigeria, the Ethiopian highlands, the Nile valley, and around the Great Lakes (which include Victoria and Tanganyika). The principal cities of Africa are usually the national capitals and the major ports, and they usually contain a disproportionately large percentage of the national populations; Cairo, Lagos (Nigeria), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Alexandria (Egypt), and Casablanca (Morocco) are the largest cities of Africa.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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  • Africa: African Peoples - African Peoples African peoples, who account for over 12% of the world's population, are ...

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