North Africa Physical features, climate and Resources The Sahara 1

North Africa
Physical features, climate and Resources
The Sahara
1. Covers most of North Africa
2. Largest desert in the world – all of the USA would fit in it
3. Contains “ergs” or sand dunes and “regs” which are gravel plains
1. The Ahaggar Mountains are located in central Sahara Desert
2. The Atlas Mountains are on the northwest edge of the Sahara in Morocco and Algeria
The Nile
1. The World’s longest river flows northward from central Africa and empties in the Mediterranean Sea
in Egypt.
2. It has two parts. The Blue and the White Nile.
3. Water from the Nile and its floods has been sustaining farmers and the food supply for centuries.
The Sinai and Suez Canal
1. The Sinai peninsula is a arrowhead shaped landform east the Nile in Egypt
2. Between Egypt and the Sinai is the Suez Canal which connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red
Sea. A vital waterway for worldwide trade.
1. There are three climates in North Africa
a. Desert (Sahara) hot and dry and cold at night. Low humidity
b. Mediterranean – Mild and moist near the coast of the sea
c. Steppe – Area between the Mediterranean and the Sahara where shrubs and grasses grow.
1. Farming along the Nile produces wheat, barley, olives, grapes, citrus fruits and cotton
2. Fishing – in the Mediterranean
3. Oil and gas are found in Libya, Algeria and Egypt
4. Iron ore, copper, gold and silver are found in the region
History and Culture
A. The Nile River Valley
1. Home to some of the world’s oldest civilizations
2. Egyptian kingdoms ruled the area with pharaohs, or kings. They built pyramids and huge
3. They used hieroglyphics as a writing system. Hieroglyphics are pictures and symbols that
stand for ideas or words.
B. Invaders
1. The region was open to invasion by Greeks, Romans and Alexander the Great in ancient
2. In the 600’s, Arab armies swept across Africa and brought the Arabic language and Islam to
the region
C. European Control
1. In the 1800’s European countries began to take over the region. By 1912 Italy captured
Libya, Spain controlled Northern Morocco, and France ruled the rest of Morocco as well as
Tunisia and Algeria. Egypt was under British control.
2. Egypt gained limited independence in 1922. After World War II, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia
were free and Algeria gained independence in 1962
D. Modern North Africa
1. The countries of North Africa have tried to form close ties with other Arab countries. In the
1960’s and 1970’s Egypt led other Arab countries in failed wars against Israel.
2. In 1979, Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel called the Camp David Accords.
3. Today, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have or are on the brink of overthrowing oppressive
presidents or dictators.
E. Language and Religion
1. Arabic is the major language
2. Islam is the major religion
F. Food and festivals
1. Grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts are common
2. Couscous is small pasta pellets served with vegetables, meat and olive oil
G. Art and Literature
1. Architecture, wood carving, crafts, textiles (clothes) and carpets with geometric designs and
bright colors.
2. Music and poetry are popular
A. Rural Egypt
1. Most rural Egyptians are farmers called fellahin. They live on small plots of land and work on
large farms owned by powerful families.
B. Cities
1. Cairo – largest city with 16 million people
2. Alexandria – 4 million and Giza
C. Economy
1. Textiles, tourism and oil are the three most important industries
2. The Suez Canal is another source of income because ships have to pay tolls to go through.
3. 30% of Egyptians are farmers
D. Challenges
1. Keeping the Nile River valley farmland productive
2. Role in the world: be a leader among Arab countries or focus more on improving lives of
3. Role of Government: In 2011, protesters want President Mubarak out of office because he has
become oppressive after 30 years in office or keep Mubarak because he has close ties with the
USA. The USA gives the 2nd most aid to Egypt behind Israel.
4. Role of Islam: Some Muslims want to shape the government and society along Islamic principles
while others want to allow religious toleration and freedom to attract tourists and promote
personal freedoms.
Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco
A. People and Cities
1. People of these countries are concentrated in cities along the Mediterranean Sea and the
Atlantic Ocean.
2. Tripoli, Libya = 5 million people/Algiers, Algeria/Tunis, Tunisia/ Rabat and Casablanca, Morocco
are the largest cities in the region.
B. Economies
1. Oil, mining and tourism
a. Oil is the most importance resource, especially in Libya. It pays for schools, health care and
social programs.
b. Iron ore, natural gas and lead are mined in the region.
c. Ties between North Africa and Europe encourage trade and tourism
C. Challenges
1. Political and economic freedoms are limited due to command economies, government owned
business and dictators.
2. For example, Libya has been ruled by a dictator, Mu’ammar al Gadhafi. Gadhafi has supported
terrorist bombings (Pan Am 103), hijackings, and other acts of violence against Israel and
American citizens.
3. The role of Islam is a contested issue.