Algeria is the biggest country in Africa, with an area exceeding 2.38 million square kilometers as of 2020. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan follow with a total area of around 2.34 million and 1.88 million square kilometers, respectively. On the other hand, Seychelles is the smallest country on the continent, with an area of only 460 square kilometers. Overall, Africa’s total area exceeds 30 million square kilometers, being the second largest continent in the world after Asia. Nigeria and Ethiopia lead the ranking of the most populated countries in Africa.
How have the African countries been formed?
The political geography of Africa has been influenced by its colonial history. Between the 19th and 20th Century, the European colonizers have divided up Africa. The partition of the territories was merely driven by strategic purposes: Borders between countries were artificially created in the absence of a geographic border. Following the decolonization, most countries gained their independence in the second half of the 1900s. The newest country in Africa is South Sudan, which became independent in 2011.
Africa's physical geography
Geographically, the African continent is mostly constituted by plains and tablelands. Inner plateaus are prevalent in the sub-Saharan region. In the center-north, the arid Sahara Desert extends for around nine million square kilometers, being the largest subtropical desert in the world. The continent also has some of the biggest water basins worldwide, namely the Nile, Congo, and Niger rivers. East Africa has, instead, the highest summit on the continent, the Kilimanjaro. Peaking at 5,895 meters, the mountain dominates Tanzania’s landscape and attracts thousands of climbers each year.
Countries in Africa as of 2020, by area
(in square kilometers)
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FAO. (July 15, 2022). Countries in Africa as of 2020, by area (in square kilometers) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved December 07, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1207844/largest-countries-in-africa-by-area/
FAO. "Countries in Africa as of 2020, by area (in square kilometers)." Chart. July 15, 2022. Statista. Accessed December 07, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1207844/largest-countries-in-africa-by-area/
FAO. (2022). Countries in Africa as of 2020, by area (in square kilometers). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: December 07, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1207844/largest-countries-in-africa-by-area/
FAO. "Countries in Africa as of 2020, by Area (in Square Kilometers)." Statista, Statista Inc., 15 Jul 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1207844/largest-countries-in-africa-by-area/
FAO, Countries in Africa as of 2020, by area (in square kilometers) Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1207844/largest-countries-in-africa-by-area/ (last visited December 07, 2023)
Countries in Africa as of 2020, by area (in square kilometers) [Graph], FAO, July 15, 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1207844/largest-countries-in-africa-by-area/