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It contains 54 fully recognized sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition.Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria by population. ergaster – with the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) found in Ethiopia being dated to circa 200,000 years ago.A definite line was drawn between the two continents by the geographer Ptolemy (85–165 AD), indicating Alexandria along the Prime Meridian and making the isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea the boundary between Asia and Africa.As Europeans came to understand the real extent of the continent, the idea of "Africa" expanded with their knowledge.Africa, particularly central Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors, as well as later ones that have been dated to around seven million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages.
Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent.At about 30.3 million km² (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers six per cent of Earth's total surface area and 20.4 per cent of its total land area.Most present states in Africa originate from a process of decolonization in the 20th century.The Latin suffix -ica can sometimes be used to denote a land (e.g., in Celtica from Celtae, as used by Julius Caesar).
The later Muslim kingdom of Ifriqiya, modern-day Tunisia, also preserved a form of the name.
According to the Romans, Africa lay to the west of Egypt, while "Asia" was used to refer to Anatolia and lands to the east.