Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² (11.7 million sq mi) including its adjacent islands, it covers 20.4% of the total land area on Earth, and with over a billion human inhabitants in 61 territories, it accounts for about 14.72% of Earth's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. There are 46 countries including Madagascar, and 53 including all the island groups. Africa straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones. Because of the lack of natural regular precipitation and irrigation as well as glaciers or mountain aquifer systems, there is no natural moderating effect on the climate except near the coasts.
The ancient Romans used the name Africa terra — "land of the Afri" (plural, or the singular Afer) — for the northern part of the continent, corresponding to modern-day Tunisia, where the Roman province of Africa was located. The origin of Afer may be the Phoenician 'afar, meaning "dust"; the Afridi tribe, a Berber tribe who dwelt in Northern Africa around the area of Carthage; the Greek Αφρική, meaning "without cold"; or the Latin aprica, meaning "sunny." Jewish historian Flavius Josephus asserted that Africa was named for Epher, a grandson of Abraham through his son Midian (Genesis 25:4 ), whose descendants, he says, had invaded Libya.
The birth of humanity
There are two leading geographical origins of humanity within mainstream evolutionist thought. First is that modern humans (Homo sapiens) arose in one place, namely Africa and it is called the Out of Africa model. The second is that a pre-modern human specie or species migrated out of Africa and as speciation progressed it allowed the regional populations to evolve into Homo sapiens and is called the Multiregional Continuity Model.
The Creationist model
An alternative model of human origin put forth by creation scientists uses the biblical account of the global flood as its interpretive base to describe the geographical region from which humanity originally migrated and populated the Earth. Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham, Japheth as well as countless generations after settle the land of the mountains of Ararat or what is essentially modern day eastern Turkey. The biblical account puts forth a Table of nations to comprehend the dispersion of peoples after the Tower of Babel. In general, the descendants of Japheth spread North, West, and East from Babel, into parts of Europe, Asia, and the Americas; the descendants of Ham spread South and East, into Africa, southeast Asia, and Australia; and the descendants of Shem remained around the Middle East and Europe.
- Main Article: Cushites
Cushites (Hebrew: כושים, Kūshīm) are the descendants of Cush, who was one of the sons of Ham who settled in Northeast Africa. In the Bible and archaically, a large region covering northern Sudan, modern day southern Egypt and parts of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia was known as Cush. Some contend that Cush was also present in southern Arabia.
Cush is often considered to be the progenitor of the Black race in general.
- Main Article: Islam
After the time of Muhammad, the Islamic caliphs established military control in North Africa. Caliph Umar took control of Egypt in AD 642. In 647, the Muslims attacked the Exarchate of Africa, then under Byzantine control, but withdrew in 648. In 665, the Muslims continued expanding into North Africa. They established the province of Ifriqiya in 703. The vast majority of North Africa was under Muslim control by 709
Christianity in Africa
Christianity is no stranger to Africa, having been visited by Jesus himself when his parents fled to Egypt (a North African country) to hide from the persecution of Herod. Peter the Apostle baptized an Ethiopian eunuch, who may have returned to Africa to spread the Gospel. According to tradition, Christianity began in Africa in the 1st century when Mark the Evangelist planted the church in Alexandria, Egypt around 43 AD.
Little is known of the first couple of centuries, beyond the list of bishops of Alexandria. At first the church in Alexandria was mainly Greek-speaking, but by the end of the 2nd century the scriptures and Liturgy had been translated into three local languages. At the beginning of the 21st century Christianity is probably the main religion in most of sub-Saharan Africa, while in the northern part of the continent it is a minority religion, where the majority of the population are Muslims. There has been tremendous growth of Christians in Africa. For example only nine million Christians were in Africa in 1900. By the year 2000, there were an estimated 380 million Christians, out pacing the African Muslim population. Much of the Christian growth in Africa is now due to African evangelism rather than Western missionaries. In South Africa (a Southern African country), it is rare to find a person with no religious beliefs.
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- Origins of Modern Humans: Multiregional or Out of Africa? Donald Johanson