North and West Africa

Exploring the Region Today

North Africa reaches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Many factors have shaped this region's history, from the building of the pyramids by the ancient Egyptians, through the Islamic conquests and Arab empires of the Middle Ages, to the modern struggle for independence.

Many indigenous cultures flourish in the region of West Africa, where colonial boundaries set up by European powers often disregard traditional distinctions. In the 1950s,West Africa led the struggle for African independence, with Ghana becoming the first nation south of the Sahara to free itself from European colonialism.

Egypt: A Nation Shaped By Islam

Egyptians differ from each other in many ways. Some live in cities while others live in rural areas. Some make a living in technology, while others farm the land using ancient techniques. Despite these differences, most Egyptians are unified by one thing—their Islamic faith.

Algeria: Urban and Rural Ways of Life

The Berbers and the Arabs are Algeria's two main ethnic groups. The importance of family is common to both groups. The present-day city life contrasts with the old traditions of rural farming and the roaming life of the nomads. The mix between old and new, Berber and Arab, is where the future of Algeria lies.

Nigeria: One Country, Many Ethnic Groups

Nigeria, the most populous country in all of Africa, is a country of many languages and ethnic groups. From the traders of the Hausa and Fulani to the farmers of the Yoruba, Nigeria's ethnic diversity has brought many challenges to the unity and growth of the nation.

Ghana: Origins of a Democratic Government

Ghana was the first African nation to become independent of European rule. Since independence, the country has worked to balance new technology with traditional culture.