North and West Africa


Egypt is located in Northeast Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

A Nation Shaped by Islam

With no doubt the Muslim culture is one of the strongest elements that unify Egytian society. The Islam is the country's oficial religion.

Besides Islam being its religion, there are 3 ethnic groups existing in Egypt:

  • Egyptians
  • Berbers
  • Bedouins

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Ramadan is a celebration that lasts on month. In this celebration, followers of Islam fast or go without food from dawn to dusk. They have a specific calendar in which they know when to enter food or drinks in their mouths.

The Islam's holy book is called the Quran. It has teachings similar to the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible. Muslims pray five times a day and they can't enter the mosque with their shoes on because that would be disrespectful for God.

Islamic Renewal

Many Muslims and Egyptians believe that Egyptian laws should be based on Islam law. Because of this, there have been various disagreements. Men and women are both required to dress modestly in public. Many believe that women should cover all their body including their face with a veil. Others say that the eyes are the only ones that can show. But others let women choose to wear their veil how they want in public.
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Life in Egypt

Egypt's biggest city is Cairo and it's also Africa's biggest city. It has more than 9.5 million people so it is very crowded. This city has old parts and modern western parts too.

Because Cairo is really crowded so there are many traffic jams, housing shortages so people have to live in the outskirts of the Cairo or near the Nile.

Rural life

Most people live in villages along the Nile or Suez Canal. Fellaheen is the the name for farmers that live here. They often rent land to work or other times they work in the fields of a landowner. This is because their land along the river banks is scarce. They often live in in homes built of mud bricks or stones.


Algeria and its Ethnic Groups

The Sahara covers all of Algeria south of the Atlas Mountains. Water is really short of supply and the temperatures are really high in this area so less people live there. Two main ethnic groups of this Country are the Berbers and the Arabs.


Berbers have lived in North Africa since 3000 B.C. Most of them live in rural areas and their families are really united. Their households are really close to each other so they can see each other everyday.

Family is so important to the Berbers that their village governments are based on it. Most rural Berbers make a living by faming and herding.


Arabs conquered North Africa gradually, over hundreds of years when Berbers were there. When both ethnic groups were there, Berbers accepted the Islam religion. Both ethnic groups are similar because both live in extended families

They have also many differences. For example, Arabs created a central government in Algeria based on Islam. But Berbers tradition is for each village to govern itself.

Arabs were nomads and then Berbers adapted this way of life but still there are some Berbers who are farmers.

Life in the cities

Half of the people live in cities. Mosques and open-air marketplaces are common in cities. There are older parts in the city called cashabs. Newer parts in the city look more like Europe and United States.

Berbers and Arabs Today

They have mixed over centuries. Both practice Islam and most Berbers speak Arabic and Berber. French is also spoke because of prior influence of France. Both ethnic groups have had conflicts but they have learned to live in peace.



Nigeria is multiethnic because it was ruled by many ethnic groups from Europe. When Nigeria wasn't still independent, the borders of the British colony of Nigeria included part of Hausaland, part of Yorubaland, and Iboland. When it became independent in 1960, all the ethnic groups that lived separately became one nation.
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Different Cultures


For hundreds of years, the Hausa-Fulani have made an important part of their living by trading goods from far away as Spain, Italy and Egypt. These people make about 33 percent of Nigeria's people and most are Muslims. They built cities and each of them had its own ruler and own public places.


Yoruba conform about 20 percent of Nigeria's people. Many still live in Lagos, which was a center for the European slave trade were Yoruba were sold into slavery and sent to America. Now Yoruba is more peaceful.

Most of them are farmers and live in big compounds all together making a community.


Ibos traditionally live in farming villages and they rule themselves with a democratic council of elders who work together to solve problems. Ibo wanted to separate from Nigeria in 1967 to form their own country but war stopped them from doing that and Nigeria stayed united.


Moving Toward Independence

Ghana was called the Gold Coast mainly because of its gold. So the British came to invade and take advantage of the country. Because Ghana was ruled by the British, there was one young man called Kwame Nkrumah who wanted democracy. He became Ghana's president in 1957 when he gave a really moving speech. Ghana was the first African colony south of the Sahara to become independent.
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Nkrumah's Government is Overthrown

Nine years later after Nkrumah's victory of becoming Ghana's president, the country's economy began to descend and people started to hate Nkrumah and didn't want him as a president anymore. Alternating between military and democratically governments were elected after Nkrumah but none of them were good. When Nkrumah died in 1972, he was hailed as a national hero.

Ghanas's Economy and Culture Today

In 1980s, Ghana's president, Jerry Rawlings, made the country successful. The economy has grown so much that Ghana has been able to build better roads and irrigation systems. Also, education and healthcare are trying to be be improved.

Ghana's culture and economy has benefited from Rawling's renewal of traditional values.