Africa - a continent situated south of the Mediterranean and Red Sea, east of the Atlantic Ocean to the west of the Indian Ocean. This is the second largest continent, after Eurasia. Africa is also part of the world, consisting of mainland Africa and adjacent islands. The area of Africa is 30 065 000 km ², or 20.3% of the land, and on the islands - about 30.2 million km ², covering thus 6% of Earth's land area and 20.4% of the land. In parts of Africa there are 53 states, 4 of unrecognized states and 5 dependent territories (island).
The population of Africa is about a billion people. Africa is considered to be ancestral home of mankind: it is here found the most ancient remains of early hominids and their possible ancestors. The latter comprise the age of seven million years - including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster. The earliest remains of Homo sapiens, dating back two hundred thousand years old, found in Ethiopia.
The African continent crosses the equator and several climatic zones, is the only continent that stretches from the northern sub-tropical climatic zone to the southern subtropical. Due to lack of regular rainfall and irrigation - as well as glaciers or mountain aquifer systems - the natural climate regulation anywhere except beaches, practically not observed.
The study of cultural, economic, political and social problems of Africa is engaged in science African studies.