Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana
Egypt is across the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia, where the messenger of Islam, Muhammed, was born. Islam is now the major religion in Egypt. Muslims believe that Quran, their holy book, contains the words of God and that they were revealed to Muhammed during the month of Ramadan. Muslims pray five times a day, in a mosque. Praying and fasting are two ways that Egyptian Muslims have brought their religion into their daily lives. Muhammed taught that men and women are equal in the eyes of God. Cairo, the capital and largest city has more than 9.5 million people. Some parts of the city are more than 1,000 years old, and other parts look like a modern western city.
The Sahara covers all of Algeria's south of the Atlas Mountains. Berber and Arab nomads have survived in the Sahara for hundreds of years. The Berbers and Arabs are Algeria's two main ethnic groups. Most Berbers live in villages in rural areas. Family is so important to the Berbers that their village government is based on it. They make their living by farming and herding, they build terraces, or platforms, for their crops. The Arabs conquered North Africa, over hundreds of years. Peace in the region came about when most Berbers accepted the religion of Islam. Berbers and Arabs have mixed over the centuries, both groups are Muslim, and most Berbers speak Berber and Arabic.
Nigeria was ruled by many ethnic groups,including the Hausa, the Yoruba, and the Ibo. By 1914, Great Britain had taken over the government of Nigeria. The borders of the British colony of Nigeria included the Hausaland, part of Yorubaland, and Iboland. To help unify the country, in 1991, the government moved the nation's capital from Lagos, in the south, to Abuja in the central portion of the country. The Hausa and the Fulani make up about 33 percent of Nigeria's people and most are Muslims. About 20 percent of Nigeria's people are Yoruba and many of them live in Lagos. The Ibo have traditionally lived as rural farmers in the southeast and have not built any large cities like Kano or Lagos.
Kwane Nkrumah, the first leader of independent Ghana. In 1947, Nkrumah returned to the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast was name for its gold, which is one of the country's most important natural resources. Nkrumah believed that the people should benefit from the wealth of their own country, so began traveling all over the country to convince people to demand independence from GB. The Akan are the largest ethnic group in Ghana. In 1957, Nkrumah gave a moving speech to his people, Great Britain, had finally agreed to grant them sovereignty, or political independence. He became the leader of the new country, and later, the president. Since independence, Ghana has worked to balanced new technology with traditional culture. Now Ghana's culture, as well as its economy, has benefited from Rawlings's traditional values.