The first modern humans emerged from Africa over 100,000 years ago. African kingdoms arose and trade with Europe and Asia became common. The Sahel, the area just south of the Sahara, became an impor- tant trade region.European countries colonized Africa, dividing the land without regard to exist- ing divisions. By the 1960s, most African nations had achieved independence, but they have had difficulty uniting because they have maintained the borders imposed by Europeans.Most of Africa consists of plateaus, or elevated blocks of land with flat or gently rolling surfaces. Mountains and escarpments, or steep cliffs, are found near coasts. The desert known as the Sahara is the pri- mary geographic feature in the north. Waterfalls and cataracts along rivers make navigation from inland to the coasts difficult.Rain falls in broad zones on either side of the Equator in Africa. Moving north and south, the land becomes drier as it turns to desert. The northern and southern edges of Africa have a Mediterranean climate. Africa’s ecosystems have diverse wildlife.South of the Sahara, more than 800 lan- guages are spoken. Africa’s most common economic activities are subsistence farming and nomadic herding, in which herders move their animals to different pastures throughout the year.In many parts of Africa, the population is growing very rapidly and urbanization is increasing. Other parts have high death rates from disease that cancel out high birthrates.

1 - What is the Sahara?
2 - Map Skills Which region has a coast on the Indian Ocean?