15 Fun Pieces Of African Trivia You Didn’t Know
Okay, so at this point most people know there are around 54 countries in Africa, and that only two (Liberia and Ethiopia) were never colonized by Europeans. But do you know where the world’s first heart transplant was performed? And were you aware there was an African country that has double the number of pyramids as Egypt? Here are 15 more fun pieces of African trivia you didn’t know:
1. Sudan has the most pyramids in Africa
Although Egypt is famous for its pyramids, there are actually many more located in Sudan. The country is home to some 230 plus pyramids, which is double the number found in Egypt. The pyramids in Sudan, however, are much smaller and steeper in structure.
2. It’s where the world’s first heart transplant took place
The world’s first heart transplant was performed in Cape Town, South Africa on Dec 3, 1967. The patient was 53-year-old Lewis Washkansky and he received the transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital.
3. It has four of five fastest land animals
Of the world’s five fastest land animals, four reside in Africa. The cheetah, in the No. 1 spot is no surprise. But did you know the wildebeest, Thompson’s gazelle and lion round out the list? All can run around 50 mph, except for the cheetah which can sprint at around 70 mph briefly.
4. It’s the most central continent
Africa is the world’s most centrally located continent with both the prime meridian (0 degrees longitude) and the equator passing through it.
5. A quarter of world’s languages are spoken here
The African continent may only account for 16% of the global population. However, a full 25% of the world’s languages (around 2,000 in total) are only spoken in Africa!
6. Arabic is the most common language.
Arabic is the most common language spoken on the continent with some 170 million speakers located mostly in North Africa.
7. It has 99% of the world’s wild lions
Out of the 11 major biomes found around the world, eight exist in Africa. The continent is also home to 99% of the world’s remaining lions (the other 1% are in Asia). It is also home to 85% of the world’s elephant population.
8. It’s the second most populous continent
Africa is the world’s second most populous continent with a total population of 1.1 billion or 16% of the people living on this planet.
9. It has the world’s largest desert
The Sahara desert in North Africa is the world’s largest and you could actually fit the entire continental U.S. inside its boundaries.
10. It’s heaven for ‘Star Wars’ fans…
Planet Tatooine in the original Star Wars movie was actually the Tunisian desert. Today the sets are still preserved well and visitors can even spend the night in Luke Skywalker’s home.
11. It makes an appearance in ‘The Iliad’ and ‘The Odyssey’
That would be Ethiopia, which is mentioned by Homer in both of his epic poems. In them he refers to Ethiopians as a “blameless race” and “amongst the noblest of men.”
12. It had 10,000 different states
Prior to colonization, historians believe that the African continent was divided into some 10,000 different states ranging in size from larger hunter gatherer groups to small family tribes.
13. It’s home to the first nation to declare independence
South Africa was technically the first of the colonized nations to gain independence from a European power, however, because of the apartheid system implemented after, it is Libya that is considered the first of the colonized African nations to gain true independence in 1951.
14. Fewer people have internet than in New York City
And finally… There are more people in NYC living with home internet access than their are on the entire African continent. That’s not to say that in certain countries, like South Africa, Morocco and Egypt internet access doesn’t come pretty standard, but in others it can almost non-existent, especially in rural areas. Fortunately, many Africans can get it on their mobile phones.
15. It has the shortest coastline of any continent
Africa may be the world’s second largest continent, but it has the shortest coastline thanks to few jutting bays or edges.