West Africa

Topics: West Africa, Africa, Atlantic slave trade Pages: 26 (4080 words) Published: January 19, 2013
West Africa

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Western Africa (UN subregion)

Maghreb, a separate region.

West Africa,Western Africa or The West of Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:[1]

Contents [hide]

1 Countries of West Africa

2 Background

3 Geography and climate

4 Culture

4.1 Cuisine

4.2 Recreation

4.3 Music

4.4 Griot tradition

4.5 Clothing

4.6 Film industry

5 Religion

5.1 Islam

5.2 Christianity

5.3 African traditional

6 History

6.1 Prehistory

6.2 Empires

6.3 Slavery and European contact

6.4 Colonialism

6.5 Postcolonial era

7 Regional organizations

7.1 Women's peace movement

7.2 Food crisis

8 See also

9 References

10 External links

[edit]Countries of West Africa


Burkina Faso

Cape Verde

Ivory Coast











Sierra Leone


Canary Islands

Strictly speaking the Autonomous Region of the Canary Islands (Spain), should also be included within the geographical boundaries of West-Africa, although often excluded due to political reasons .

With the exception of Mauritania, all of these countries are members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which was set up in May 1975.[2] The UN region also includes the island of Saint Helena, a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic Ocean.


West Africa is west of an imagined north-south axis lying close to 10° east longitude.[3] The Atlantic Ocean forms the western as well as the southern borders of the West African region.[4] The northern border is the Sahara Desert, with the Ranishanu Bend generally considered the northernmost part of the region.[5] The eastern border is less precise, with some placing it at the Benue Trough, and others on a line running from Mount Cameroon to Lake Chad.

Colonial boundaries are reflected in the modern boundaries between contemporary West African nations, cutting across ethnic and cultural lines, often dividing single ethnic groups between two or more countries.[6]

The inhabitants of West Africa are, in contrast to most of Southern and Middle Africa, non-Bantu speaking peoples.[7]

[edit]Geography and climate

Dust Plumes off Western Africa.

West Africa, if one includes the western portion of the Maghreb (Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia), occupies an area in excess of 6,140,000 km2, or approximately one-fifth of Africa. The vast majority of this land is plains lying less than 300 meters above sea level, though isolated high points exist in numerous countries along the southern shore of the region.[8]

The northern section of West Africa is composed of semi-arid terrain known as Sahel, a transitional zone between the Sahara and the savannahs of the western Sudan. Forests form a belt between the savannas and the southern coast, ranging from 160 km to 240 km in width.[9]


Main article: African culture

Despite the wide variety of cultures in West Africa, from Nigeria through to Senegal, there are general similarities in dress, cuisine, music and culture that are not shared extensively with groups outside the geographic region. This long history of cultural exchange predates the colonization era of the region and can be approximately placed at the time of the Ghana Empire (proper: Wagadou Empire), Mali Empire or perhaps before...

References: ^ Peter Speth. Impacts of Global Change on the Hydrological Cycle in West and Northwest Africa, p33. Springer, 2010. ISBN 3-642-12956-0
^ Peter Speth
^ Anthony Ham. West Africa p79. Lonely Planet, 2009. ISBN 1-74104-821-4
^ Celestine Oyom Bassey, Oshita Oshita
^ Ian Shaw, Robert Jameson. A Dictionary of Archaeology. p28. Wiley-Blackwell, 2002. ISBN 0-631-23583-3
^ Peter Speth
^ Peter Speth. Impacts of Global Change on the Hydrological Cycle in West and Northwest Africa, p33. Springer, 2010.prof Kayode Omitoogun 2011, ISBN 3-642-12956-0
^ Chidi Asika-Enahoro
^ Pamela Goyan Kittler, Kathryn Sucher. Food and Culture, p212. Cengage Learning, 2007. ISBN 0-495-11541-X
^ James McCann. Stirring the Pot: A History of African Cuisine, p132. Ohio University Press, 2009. ISBN 0-89680-272-8
^ Emma Gregg, Richard Trillo
^ Carole Boyce Davies. Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences and Culture, Volume 1, p72. ABC-CLIO, 2008. ISBN 1-85109-700-7
^ Toyin Ayeni
^ Dayle Hayes, Rachel Laudan. Food and Nutrition / Editorial Advisers, Dayle Hayes, Rachel Laudan, Volume 7, p1097. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. ISBN 0-7614-7827-2
^ West Africa, issues 4106-4119, p-p 1487-8
^ "Nigeria surpasses Hollywood as world 's second largest film producer – UN". United Nations. 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
^ Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong. Themes in West Africa 's History, p152. James Currey Publishers, 2006. ISBN 0-85255-995-X
^ Robert O
^ John S. Mbiti. Introduction to African Religion, p19. East African Publishers, 1992. ISBN 9966-46-928-1
^ William J
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