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AFRICA. The continent that gave birth to all humanity. African people on the continent today make up over 12% of the world's population. Contemporary Africa is comprised of 54 nations and over 1,000 linguistic/cultural groups - more languages than are spoken on any other continent. Of these, about 50 have 500,000 or more speakers. To give an example of the diversity -a large country like Nigeria, with a population of over 127 million has more than 200 ethnic groups, and 4 major linguistic groups: Hausa and Fulani in north, Yoruba in southwest, and Igbo in southeast.

The Sahara desert divides the continent. To the north are Arabic peoples and Berbers, including the Tuaregs. Sub-Saharan Africa is occupied by diverse ethnic groups like the Fulani, Yoruba, Ashanti, Igbo, Kongo, Zulu, Akan, Masai, and Hausa. Nilotic peoples like the Amhara, and Oromo occupy the North Eastern Horn (Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea). There are also islands off the African coast, the largest of which is Madagascar.

Most of the Africans kidnapped and brought to the New World during the era of the slave trade came from Central and West Africa - with the largest group of slaves going to Brazil.

The US census bureau lists 558,000 persons born in Africa currently living in the US, but this figure is low and being debated due to problems with data collection the figure is probably closer to one million.

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18 Dec 2002 :: 1 Feb 2009
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