Africa is a vast continent, the second largest, after Asia. Known as a dark continent, Africa is four times the size of the United States, excluding Alaska. It is the cradle of human civilization, a place with a rich history, amazing geography and climate. A diverse continent, Africa has more than fifty countries with a population of over 700 million people who speak over 1,000 different languages. As an old continent, Africa is one of the richest in terms of flora and fauna, culture and customs, and its contributions to world civilization are impressive indeed.
Africa is made up of 54 sovereign countries—the most on any continent—and is the second largest continent in terms of both land area and population.
Africa is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, by the Red Sea to the northeast, and by the Indian Ocean to the southeast. Africa is a large continent covering over 8,000 km (5,000 mi) north to south and 7,500 km (4,800 mi) east to west (not including islands). The continent is home to a wide array of people of different tribes, skin colours, religions, and cultures.