West Africa (otherwise called Western Africa) comprise of 18 nations covering an estimated area of around 1,974,103 sq. m (5,112,903 kilometer) with a total general population of around 340,000,000 according to 2013 estimated count. Many ethic tribes occupy this part of Africa with differences in cultural beliefs and practices but possess similarities and broad likenesses to things like music, attires and food. On this post we outlined few facts about West Africa including vital information on their similarities and differences.
Here is the comprehensive list of West African Countries.
Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Sao Tome and Principe
Intriguing facts about West Africa
- The southern and western part of West Africa is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. The Northern part is mainly surrounded by the Sahara Desert. There are no geographical features that distinctively defines the eastern borders and isn’t precise as the South, West and North borders.
- The largest urban communities in West Africa comprises of:
Abidjan (Ivory Coast)
- Islam is the major religion in West Africa. More than half the West African population is Muslim.
- Most of the languages used in communication in West Africa are basically the languages derived from the Niger-Congo dialect, classified under one of the world’s major languages.
- The Bantu language is not spoken in West Africa unlike the Southern and Central Africa where the Bantu speaking population are concentrated.
- Most of the West African cultures are very similar. These similarities is also noticeable in the closely related food eg, meat, vegetables, fruits they eat.
- Some of the widely grown crops in West Africa include Cassava, Coffee, Cotton, Rice, Plantain, Cocoa and Yam.
- The type of clothing worn by people from West Africa is very similar. Although they come in variety of colors and shape, the wrapper is commonly worn by women while the Bouba or Boubou is worn by men.
- “Oware” is a special board game played by people in West Africa. The Akan tribe inhabiting parts of Ghana and Cote I’voire are believed to have invented the game.
- The West African country with the largest population is Nigeria with an estimated population of 200 Million people. In Africa, Nigeria has the biggest population.
- Ghana has one of the largest artificial lakes in West Africa and the world at large. Lake Volta was created from dredging of river Volta.
The History of West Africa
Facts from Archaeological findings indicate that the humans began settling in West Africa during the period 12,000 BC.
People in the West African region started using iron to form various kinds of tools. This special ability enhanced their farming skills and began civilization in the region.
Nok Culture is the oldest in West Africa. Nigeria is said to be where Nok started in 1000BC.
Other civilizations in West Africa were discovered after Nok civilization. This included the Mali Empire, the Songhai Empire, the Ashanti Empire, The Ghana Empire and the Nri Kingdom.
Beginning from the 1400s, the Europeans began building settlements alongside the shoreline of West Africa. The Europeans built up provinces in most parts of West Africa and began controlling the region.
Most of the slaves sold to slavery and sent to Europe from Africa were from West Africa.
The nationalist movement across West Africa started immediately after the World War II. Countries with the region began fighting for independence. Ghana in 1957 became the first country in West Africa to gain her independence.