North Africa is a region generally considered to include:
The term "North Africa" is also often used to refer to the Maghreb alone (thus excluding the Nile Valley).
Some North African countries, particularly Egypt and Libya, often get included in common definitions of the Middle East due to continuous contacts with the Middle East. In addition, the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt is often considered part of the Middle East.
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North Africa is vastly more uniform ethnically than anywhere in Africa south of the Sahara. It is principally inhabited by Berbers and Arabs, who are scarcely distinguishable physically. The Berbers are the indigenous people in the Maghreb, but their origins are not entirely clear. The majority of people in North-Africa are of Berber descent.
Though North African culture as well as its people have both African and Middle Eastern roots, most North Africans are either Arabic or Berber-speaking Muslims (or, in the Copts' case, Christians). These two languages are related, both being members of the Afro-Asiatic language family. North Africa also had a large Jewish population but most have left largely to Israel or France. Prior to the modern establishment of Israel, There were about 600,000–700,000 Jews in North Africa. Today less than fifteen thousand remain in the region. (See Jewish exodus from Arab lands)
Originally, much of North Africa was inhabited by black Africans, including Upper Egypt, as demonstrated by Saharan rock art throughout the region; however, this does not appear to have been the case as strongly in Lower Egypt, which were inhabited by peoples from Asia and maybe Europe as being a mixture of the native (jet black skinned) Africans speaking Afro-Asiatic languages.
After the Middle Ages the area was loosely under the control of the Ottoman Empire, except Morocco. After the 19th century, it was colonized by France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy. During the 1950's and 60's, and into the 1970's, all of the North African states gained independence, except for a few small Spanish colonies on the far northern tip of Morocco, and the Western Sahara, which went from Spanish to Moroccan rule.
|Regions of the World|
|Africa:||Central Africa | Congo | East Africa | Great Lakes | Guinea | North Africa | Sahel | Southern Africa | Sudan | West Africa|
|Americas:||Andean States | Caribbean | Central America | Great Lakes | Great Plains | Guianas | Southern Cone|
|Asia:||Central Asia | East Asia | East Indies | Far East | Indian subcontinent | North Asia | South Asia | Southeast Asia | Southwest Asia (Middle East, Levant, Anatolia, Arabia)|
|Europe:||Balkans | Baltic region | Benelux | Central Europe | Eastern Europe | Northern Europe | Scandinavia | Southern Europe | Western Europe|
|Other:||Eurasia: Caucasus | Post-Soviet states | Oceania: Australasia | Melanesia | Micronesia | Polynesia | Pacific Rim | Polar: Arctic | Antarctic|