Height of slave trade

Largest African countries by size

Map of Africa - The Map House of London/ Stockbyte/ Getty ImagesThe Map House of London/ Stockbyte/ Getty Images

Updated .

The continent of Africa is the world's second-largest based on land area and population just after Asia. It has a population of around one billion people (as of 2009) and covers 20.4% of the Earth's land area. Africa is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Red Sea and the Suez Canal to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

Africa is known for its biodiversity, varied topography, culture and varied climate.

The continent straddles the equator and encompasses the entire tropical band. Africa's northern and southernmost countries also stretch out of the tropics (from 0° to 23.5° N and S latitude) and into the northern and southern temperate latitudes (latitudes above the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn).

As the world's second-largest continent, Africa is divided into 53 officially recognized countries. The following is a list of Africa's countries ordered by land area. For reference, the country's population and capital city have also been included.

Source: geography.about.com
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