Physical Geography The Big Idea North Africa is a dry region with limited water resources. Main Ideas Major physical features of North Africa include the Nile River, the Sahara, and the Atlas Mountains. The climate of North Africa is hot and dry, and water is the region’s most important resource.
Main Idea 1: Major physical features of North Africa include the Nile River, the Sahara, and the Atlas Mountains. The Nile River is the longest river in the world. The Nile River is the longest river in the world. –Flows more than 4,000 miles northward through the desert –Empties into the Mediterranean Sea The land along the Nile is very fertile. The land along the Nile is very fertile. –Floods on the river deposit silt, or finely ground fertile soil, all along the river. –Before it reaches the sea, the Nile fans out into a huge fertile delta. The Aswan High Dam controls flooding on the Nile. The Aswan High Dam controls flooding on the Nile. –Because of the lack of silt, farmers need to use fertilizer to grow crops.
The Sahara Largest desert in the world, covering most of North Africa Very dry, so very few people live there Nearly every settlement in the Sahara is located near an oasis, a wet and fertile area in a desert where a spring or well provides water. Common features in the Sahara include broad gravel plains, tall sand dunes, and dry streambeds.
The Sinai and Suez Canal The Sinai Peninsula is east of the Nile. It is mostly rocky and barren. The Suez Canal is a short cut from Europe to Asia and India. It separates the Sinai peninsula from the rest of Egypt. Ships carry oil and goods from the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea through the canal.. Other Physical Features of North Africa Mountains Several mountain ranges can be found in the Sahara. The highest mountains are the Atlas Mountains in the northwest, near the Mediterranean Sea. They rise to 13,600 feet (4,160 m) above sea level.
Main Idea 2: The climate of North Africa is hot and dry, and water is the region’s most important resource. Climate Three main climates: Three main climates: –Desert: very dry, with temperatures ranging from mild to very hot –Mediterranean: found along the coast; mild winters and warm summers –Steppe: found between the coast and the desert Resources Because rain is rare, water is a valuable resource. Because rain is rare, water is a valuable resource. Oil and gas are found in Libya, Algeria, and Egypt. Oil and gas are found in Libya, Algeria, and Egypt. Morocco has iron ore. Morocco has iron ore. Coal, oil, and natural gas are found in the Sahara. Coal, oil, and natural gas are found in the Sahara.
History and Culture The Big Idea North Africa is rich in history and Islamic culture. Main Ideas North Africa’s history includes ancient Egyptian civilization. Islam influences the cultures of North Africa Most people speak Arabic.
Main Idea 1: North Africa’s history includes ancient Egyptian civilization. Egyptian civilization began after 3200 BC. Egyptian civilization began after 3200 BC. The Egyptians are most famous for building huge stone monuments, especially pyramids. The Egyptians are most famous for building huge stone monuments, especially pyramids. –The pyramids were built as tombs for pharaohs, or Egyptian kings. –The largest pyramid is called the Great Pyramid. It is still standing today. The Egyptians also developed a writing system called hieroglyphics. The Egyptians also developed a writing system called hieroglyphics. –Used pictures to represent words or ideas –Often carved on monuments to record pharaohs’ deeds
Greek and Arab Influence The Greeks under Alexander the Great invaded Egypt. They built a city, Alexandria, that became a center of trade and culture. In the 600s the Arabs conquered much of North Africa. They brought the Arabic language and Islam to the region. Later North African History European Influence By 1912 European countries such as Britain, Spain, France, and Italy had taken over North Africa. North Africa regained independence beginning in the 1920s. The last country to become free was Algeria in 1962. Modern North Africa Since independence the countries of North Africa have tried to build stronger ties with other Arab countries.
People and Language Egyptians, Berbers, Bedouins, and people of mixed ancestry live in North Africa. The majority of people in the region speak Arabic. Main Idea 2: Islam influences the cultures of North Africa and most people speak Arabic. Religion Most North Africans are Muslims, people who practice Islam. Islam influences many aspects of life in North Africa. A small percentage of people in the region practice Christianity or other non-Islamic religions.
Government Economy Governments are torn over how much influence Islam should have in the running of countries. Oil is the most important resource in Libya and Algeria. Money from oil pays for schools, health care, and military equipment. Farmers in the region grow wheat, olives, fruits, and nuts. Tourism is also an important activity. Main Idea 2: People in the other countries of North Africa are mostly pastoral nomads or farmers, and oil is an important resource in the region. Together, western Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco are called the Maghreb, from the Arabic for “west.”