Africa is the second largest continent in the world. It makes up about a fifth of the world’s land. It is surrounded by large areas of water. There are 54 fully recognised and independent countries in Africa, and 14.7% (1.216 billion) of the world’s population lives there. It is thought to be the continent where the first humans evolved.
The history of Africa begins from the first modern human beings and leads to its present difficult state as a politically developing continent.
Africa’s ancient historic period includes the rise of Egyptian civilization, the further development of societies outside the Nile River Valley and the interaction between them and civilizations outside of Africa. In the late 7th century North and East Africa were heavily influenced by the spread of Islam. That led to the appearance of new cultures such as those of the Swahili people. This also led to an increase in the slave trade that had a very bad influence for the development of the whole continent until the 19th century.