North Africa is a very interesting place. It has many beautiful landforms, such as the Sahara Desert, The Nile River, and a lot more. There are also amazing cities in North Africa, which include Cairo, Tripoli, Casablanca, and many others. Also, there are a lot of major conflicts going on right now. The history of North Africa is very fascinating. North Africa’s area in general could affect us, (The citizens of the US) in good and bad ways. North Africa is known for its beautiful landforms and amazing cities. The Sahara covers a lot of North Africa.
The name Sahara comes from the Arabic word for “desert”. The Sahara is the biggest desert in the world. It is so big that nearly all of the United States could fit into it. Giant sand dunes (called ergs) cover about a quarter of the desert, the rest is made up of gravel plains (called regs). The Sahara also has mountain ranges, for example the Ahagger Mountains are located in the central Sahara. Their highest mountain is 9,842 feet. The Atlas Mountains is another mountain range in the Sahara. The mountains rise to 13,671 feet. Very low areas are called depressions.
The Qattara Depression in western Egypt is 440 feet below sea level. The Nile River is the world’s longest river. It empties into the Mediterranean Sea. About 99% of Egypt’s population lives in the Nile River Valley or Nile River Delta. The Nile River valley is like a long oasis in the desert. Water from the Nile irrigates surrounding farmland. East of the Nile is the Sinai Peninsula. Mountains and desert cover the Sinai. Between Sinai and the rest of Egypt is the Suez Canal. The canal was built in the 1860s by the French. The Cities in North Africa are also very interesting.
The capital of Egypt, the most populous country in North Africa, is Cairo. More than 10 million people live in Cairo. Today Cairo is a mix of modern building and small mud brick houses. Alexandria is another city in Egypt. It is home to more than 4 million people. The city is a major seaport and has many industries. Libya is the most urbanized country in North Africa. The largest cities in Libya are Benghazi and Tripoli. Tripoli is the capital of Libya. Algeria’s capital is Algiers. Algiers I home to an old fortress called Casbah.
Today Souks (marketplaces) are found in Algiers. Other cities include Casablanca and Rabat in Morocco and Tunis in Tunisia Sadly, there are a lot of conflicts going on in North Africa right now. In Egypt the people want the dictator, Mubarak, out of leadership because he was dictator for the past 30. But, he refuses to leave. Another challenge facing Egyptians is that many of them live in severe poverty. Many do not have clean water for washing or cooking. The spread of disease in crowded cities is also a problem. Still, Egypt’s government has made progress.
Today Egyptians live longer and are much healthier than 50 years ago. Political freedoms are limited for many North Africans. For example, since 1969 Libya has been ruled by a dictator, Mu’ammar al-Gadhafi. Gadhafi has supported bombing, kidnapping, and other acts of violence against Israel. A common conflict going on in most of North Africa is over the role of Islam in society. For example in Algeria some groups want a government based on Islamic principles and laws. Sometimes the history of a very interesting place could be really boring. But luckily North Africa is not one of those places.
It all started, sometime after 3200 BC, when lands along the northern Nile were united into one Egyptian kingdom. The early Egyptians built great stone pyramids. The pharaohs were buried in the pyramids. Hieroglyphs were their basis for Egypt’s first writing system. Because of North Africa’s long coastline, the region was open to invaders over the centuries. One invader was Alexander the Great. He founded Alexandria in Egypt. Beginning in the AD 600, the Arab armies from Southwest Asia came to North Africa. They brought the Arabic language and Islam to the region.
In the 1800’s European countries began to take control of the region. By 1912 they controlled all of North Africa. Italy captured Libya. Spain controlled Morocco. France ruled Tunisia and Algeria. Egypt was under British control. Egypt gained independence in 1922 but the British kept control of the Suez Canal until 1956. After World War II, North Africans pushed for Independence. Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia each won independence in the 1950’s. Algeria finally won it’s independence in 1962. North Africa affects the people in the United States and their families in good and bad ways.
A good way is that they supply us with coal, natural gas, oil, gold, uranium, and other minerals. Some bad ways are that, people in North Africa are living very hard lives and there could be some American’s that have family where these conflicts are going on. That could be very hard their lives too. In Conclusion, North Africa is a very interesting place. It has amazing landforms and beautiful cities, many conflicts going on right now, an interesting history, and the area affects the citizens of the United States and their families.