Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of eastern North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. The civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh, and it developed over the next three millennia. Its history occurred in a series of stable Kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods. Ancient Egypt reached its pinnacle during the New Kingdom, after which it entered a period of slow decline. Egypt was conquered by a succession of foreign powers in this late period, and the rule of the pharaohs officially ended in 31 BC when the early Roman Empire conquered Egypt and made it a province.
The success of ancient Egyptian civilization stemmed partly from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River Valley. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which fueled social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, and a military intended to defeat foreign enemies and assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, and administrators under the control of a pharaoh who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs.
The many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying, surveying and construction techniques that facilitated the building of monumental pyramids, temples, and obelisks; a system of mathematics, a practical and effective system of medicine, irrigation systems and agricultural production techniques, the first known ships, Egyptian faience and glass technology, new forms of literature, and the earliest known peace treaty. Egypt left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were widely copied, and its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world. Its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of travellers and writers for centuries. A newfound respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy, for Egypt and the world.

Stunning advances in architecture, art, and technology were made during the Old Kingdom, fueled by the increased agricultural productivity made possible by a well developed central administration. Under the direction of the vizier, state officials collected taxes, coordinated irrigation projects to improve crop yield, drafted peasants to work on construction projects, and established a justice system to maintain peace and order. With the surplus resources made available by a productive and stable economy, the state was able to sponsor construction of colossal monuments and to commission exceptional works of art from the royal workshops. The pyramids built by Djoser, Khufu, and their descendants are the most memorable symbols of ancient Egyptian civilization, and the power of the pharaohs that controlled it.
Along with the rising importance of a central administration arose a new class of educated scribes and officials who were granted estates by the pharaoh in payment for their services. Pharaohs also made land grants to their mortuary cults and local temples to ensure that these institutions would have the necessary resources to worship the pharaoh after his death. By the end of the Old Kingdom, five centuries of these feudal practices had slowly eroded the economic power of the pharaoh, who could no longer afford to support a large centralized administration.[28] As the power of the pharaoh diminished, regional governors called nomarchs began to challenge the supremacy of the pharaoh. This, coupled with severe droughts between 2200 and 2150 BC, ultimately caused the country to enter a 140-year period of famine and strife known as the First Intermediate Period.
The New Kingdom pharaohs established a period of unprecedented prosperity by securing their borders and strengthening diplomatic ties with their neighbors. Military campaigns waged under Tuthmosis I and his grandson Tuthmosis III extended the influence of the pharaohs into Syria and Nubia, cementing loyalties and opening access to critical imports such as bronze and wood.The New Kingdom pharaohs began a large-scale building campaign to promote the god Amun, whose growing cult was based in Karnak. They also constructed monuments to glorify their own achievements, both real and imagined. The female pharaoh Hatshepsut used such propaganda to legitimize her claim to the throne. Her successful reign was marked by trading expeditions to Punt, an elegant mortuary temple, a colossal pair of obelisks and a chapel at Karnak. Despite her achievements, Hatshepsut's nephew-stepson Tuthmosis III sought to erase her legacy near the end of his reign, possibly in retaliation for usurping his throne.

Around 1350 BC, the stability of the New Kingdom was threatened when Amenhotep IV ascended the throne and instituted a series of radical and chaotic reforms. Changing his name to Akhenaten, he touted the previously obscure sun god Aten as the supreme deity, suppressed the worship of other deities, and attacked the power of the priestly establishment. Moving the capital to the new city of Akhetaten , Akhenaten turned a deaf ear to foreign affairs and absorbed himself in his new religion and artistic style. After his death, the cult of the Aten was quickly abandoned, and the subsequent pharaohs Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemheb erased all mention of Akhenaten's heresy, now known as the Amarna Period.
Around 1279 BC, Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, ascended the throne, and went on to build more temples, erect more statues and obelisks, and sire more children than any other pharaoh in history. A bold military leader, Ramesses II led his army against the Hittites in the Battle of Kadesh and, after fighting to a stalemate, finally agreed to the first recorded peace treaty around 1258 BC.[49] Egypt's wealth, however, made it a tempting target for invasion, particularly by the Libyans and the Sea Peoples. Initially, the military was able to repel these invasions, but Egypt eventually lost control of Syria and Palestine. The impact of external threats was exacerbated by internal problems such as corruption, tomb robbery and civil unrest. The high priests at the temple of Amun in Thebes accumulated vast tracts of land and wealth, and their growing power splintered the country during the Third Intermediate Period

Costes d'Egypte

Plan de l'Isle de Tarbaque

Plan de Port Farine

Golphe de Tunis


Tunisia is the northernmost country in Africa. It is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its size is almost 165,000 km² with an estimated population of just over 10.3 million. Its name is derived from the capital Tunis located in the north-east.
Tunisia is the smallest of the nations situated along the Atlas mountain range. The south of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile soil and 1,300 km of coastline. Both played a prominent role in ancient times, first with the famous Phoenician city of Carthage, then as the Africa Province which was known as the "bread basket" of the Roman Empire. Later, Tunisia was occupied by Vandals during the 5th century AD, Byzantines in the 6th century, and Arabs in the 8th century. Under the Ottoman Empire, Tunisia was known as "Regency of Tunis". It passed under French protectorate in 1881. After obtaining independence in 1956, the country took the official name of the "Kingdom of Tunisia" at the end of the reign of Lamine Bey and the Husainid Dynasty. With the proclamation of the Tunisian republic in July 25, 1957, the nationalist leader Habib Bourguiba became its first president and led the modernization of the country.
Today Tunisia is an export-oriented country, in the process of liberalizing its economy [6] while, politically it is a dictatorship in all but name. Tunisia has an authoritarian regime in the guise of a procedural democracy led by Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who has governed as President since 1987 and has systematically diminished freedom of press and political pluralism while keeping appearances of democracy.
Tunisia has close relations with both the European Union — with whom it has an association agreement — and the Arab world. Tunisia is also a member of the Arab League and the African union. The regime's claimed success in oppressing political Islam and its pro-western foreign policy, has protected it from criticism for its lack of democratic accountability and its violations of human rights and freedom of press. France, the former colonial power, lends support to the regime in exchange for economic and political subservience.
Every year numerous Tunisians attempt illegal immigration to European countries like Italy by sea. Many die trying when the small boats in which they are riding capsize or go adrift at sea. Others reach their destination but are forcibly repatriated.
At the beginning of known recorded history, Tunisia was inhabited by Berber tribes. Its coast was settled by Phoenicians starting as early as the 10th century B.C. The city of Carthage was founded in the 9th century B.C. by settlers from Tyre, now in modern day Lebanon. Legend says, that Dido founded the city in 814 B.C., as retold in by the Greek writer Timaeus of Tauromenium. The settlers of Carthage brought their culture and religion from the Phoenicians and other Canaanites.

After a series of wars with Greek city-states of Sicily in the 5th century BC, Carthage rose to power and eventually became the dominant civilization in the Western Mediterranean. The people of Carthage worshipped a pantheon of Middle Eastern gods including Baal and Tanit. Tanit's symbol, a simple female figure with extended arms and long dress, is a popular icon found in ancient sites. The founders of Carthage also established a Tophet which was altered in Roman times.
The history of human culture in Tunisia goes back thousands of years. Early farming methods reached the Nile Valley from the Fertile Crescents region in about 5000 B.C from there, farming spread to the Maghreb by about 4000 B.C The humid coastal plains of central Tunisia were home to the early agricultural communities, populated by the ancestors of the Berber tribes.
Around the end of the 7th century and the beginning of 8th century the region was conquered by Arab Muslims, who founded the city of Kairouan which became the first city of Islam in North Africa ; in this period was erected the Great Mosque of Kairouan considered as the oldest and most prestigious sanctuary in the western Islamic world as well as a great masterpiece of Islamic art and architecture. Tunisia flourished under Arab rule. Extensive irrigation installations were constructed to supply towns with water and promote agriculture (especially olive production). This prosperity permitted luxurious court life and was marked by the construction of new Palace cities such as al-Abassiya (809) and Raqadda (877).
Successive Muslim dynasties ruled Tunisia with occasional instabilities caused mainly by Berber rebellions;[citation needed] of these reigns we can cite the Aghlabids (800-900) and Fatimids (909-972). After conquering Cairo, Fatimids abandoned North Africa to the local Zirids and Hammadid.[24] North Africa was submerged by their quarrels; political instability was connected to the decline of Tunisian trade and agriculture. In addition the invasion of Tunisia by Banu Hilal, a warlike Arab Bedouin tribes encouraged by Fatimids of Egypt to seize North Africa, sent the region's urban and economic life into further decline. The Arab historian Ibn Khaldun wrote that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal invaders had become completely arid desert.
The coasts were held briefly by the Normans of Sicily in the 12th century and the following Arab reconquest made the last Christians in Tunisia disappear. In 1159, Tunisia was conquered by the Almohad caliphs. They were succeeded by the Berber Hafsids (c.1230–1574), under whom Tunisia prospered. In the late 16th century the coast became a pirate stronghold .

Tunisia is a country situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Nile Valley. It is bordered by Algeria in the west and Libya in the south-east. An abrupt southern turn of its shoreline gives Tunisia two faces on the Mediterranean.
Despite its relatively small size, Tunisia has great geographical and climatic diversity. The Dorsal, an extension of the Atlas Mountains, traverses Tunisia in a northeasterly direction from the Algerian border in the west to the Cape Bon peninsula. North of the Dorsal is the Tell, a region characterized by low, rolling hills and plains, although in the northwestern corner of Tunisia, the land reaches elevations of 1,050 meters.
The Sahil is a plain along Tunisia's eastern Mediterranean coast famous because of its olive monoculture. Inland from the Sahil, between the Dorsal and a range of hills south of Gafsa, are the Steppes. Much of the southern region is semi-arid and desert.
Tunisia has a coastline 1,148 kilometres in length. In maritime terms, the country claims a contiguous zone of 24 nautical miles , and a territorial sea of 12 nmi.
Tunisia's climate is temperate in the north, with mild rainy winters and hot, dry summers. The south of the country is desert. The terrain in the north is mountainous, which, moving south, gives way to a hot, dry central plain. The south is semiarid, and merges into the Sahara. A series of salt lakes, known as chotts or shatts, lie in an east-west line at the northern edge of the Sahara, extending from the Gulf of Gabes into Algeria. The lowest point is Shatt al Gharsah, at -17 m, and the highest is Jebel ech Chambi, at 1544 metres.

Plan de la Ville de Tunis

Plandes Forts et Canal de la Goulette

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Libya officially the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya , is a country located in North Africa. Bordering the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Libya lies between Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west.
With an area of almost 1,800,000 square kilometres (694,984 sq mi), Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa by area, and the 17th largest in the world. The capital, Tripoli, is home to 1.7 million of Libya's 5.7 million people. The three traditional parts of the country are Tripolitania, Fezzan, and Cyrenaica. Libya has the highest HDI in Africa and the fourth highest GDP per capita in Africa as of 2009, behind Seychelles, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. These are largely due to its large petroleum reserves and low population.
The flag of Libya consists of a green field with no other characteristics. It is the only national flag in the world with just one color and no design, insignia, or other details.

Libya extends over 1,759,540 square kilometres (679,362 sq mi), making it the 17th largest nation in the world by size. Libya is somewhat smaller than Indonesia, and roughly the size of the US state of Alaska. It is bound to the north by the Mediterranean Sea, the west by Tunisia and Algeria, the southwest by Niger, the south by Chad and Sudan and to the east by Egypt. At 1,770 kilometres (1,100 mi), Libya's coastline is the longest of any African country bordering the Mediterranean. The portion of the Mediterranean Sea north of Libya is often called the Libyan Sea. The climate is mostly dry and desertlike in nature. However, the northern regions enjoy a milder Mediterranean climate.
Natural hazards come in the form of hot, dry, dust-laden sirocco . This is a southern wind blowing from one to four days in spring and autumn. There are also dust storms and sandstorms. Oases can also be found scattered throughout Libya, the most important of which are Ghadames and Kufra.

The Libyan Desert, which covers much of Libya, is one of the most arid places on earth. In places, decades may pass without rain, and even in the highlands rainfall seldom happens, once every 5–10 years. At Uweinat, as of 2006 the last recorded rainfall was in September 1998. There is a large depression, the Qattara Depression, just to the south of the northernmost scarp, with Siwa oasis at its western extremity. The depression continues in a shallower form west, to the oases of Jaghbub and Jalo.
Likewise, the temperature in the Libyan desert can be extreme; in 1922, the town of Al 'Aziziyah, which is located Southwest of Tripoli, recorded an air temperature of 57.8 °C (136.0 °F), generally accepted as the highest recorded naturally occurring air temperature reached on Earth.
There are a few scattered uninhabited small oases, usually linked to the major depressions, where water can be found by digging to a few feet in depth. In the west there is a widely dispersed group of oases in unconnected shallow depressions, the Kufra group, consisting of Tazerbo, Rebianae and Kufra. Aside from the scarps, the general flatness is only interrupted by a series of plateaus and massifs near the centre of the Libyan Desert, around the convergence of the Egyptian-Sudanese-Libyan borders.
Slightly further to the south are the massifs of Arkenu, Uweinat and Kissu. These granite mountains are ancient, having formed long before the sandstones surrounding them. Arkenu and Western Uweinat are ring complexes very similar to those in the Aïr Mountains. Eastern Uweinat is a raised sandstone plateau adjacent to the granite part further west. The plain to the north of Uweinat is dotted with eroded volcanic features. With the discovery of oil in the 1950s also came the discovery of a massive aquifer underneath much of the country. The water in this aquifer pre-dates the last ice ages and the Sahara desert itself. The country is also home to the Arkenu craters, double impact craters found in the desert.

The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which constitute practically all export earnings and about one-quarter of gross domestic product . The World Bank defines Libya as an 'Upper Middle Income Economy', along with only seven other African countries. In the early 1980s, Libya was one of the wealthiest countries in the world; its GNP per capita was higher than that of countries such as Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and New Zealand.
Today, high oil revenues and a small population give Libya one of the highest GDPs per person in Africa and have allowed the Libyan state to provide an extensive level of social security, particularly in the fields of housing and education. Many problems still beset Libya's economy however; unemployment is the highest in the region at 21% according to the latest census figures.
Compared to its neighbours, Libya enjoys a low level of both absolute and relative poverty. Libyan officials in the past six years have carried out economic reforms as part of a broader campaign to reintegrate the country into the global capitalist economy.This effort picked up steam after UN sanctions were lifted in September 2003, and as Libya announced in December 2003 that it would abandon programmes to build weapons of mass destruction.
Libya has begun some market-oriented reforms. Initial steps have included applying for membership of the World Trade Organization, reducing subsidies, and announcing plans for privatisation. Authorities have privatised more than 100 government owned companies since 2003 in industries including oil refining, tourism and real estate, of which 29 are 100% foreign owned.[81] The non-oil manufacturing and construction sectors, which account for about 20% of GDP, have expanded from processing mostly agricultural products to include the production of petrochemicals, iron, steel and aluminium.
Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit agricultural output, and Libya imports about 75% of its food. Water is also a problem, with some 28% of the population not having access to safe drinking water in 2000.[82] The Great Manmade River project is tapping into vast underground aquifers of fresh water discovered during the quest for oil, and is intended to improve the country's agricultural output.
Under the previous Prime Minister, Shukri Ghanem, and current prime minister Baghdadi Mahmudi, Libya is undergoing a business boom. Many government-run industries are being privatised. Many international oil companies have returned to the country, including oil giants Shell and ExxonMobil.
Tourism is on the rise, bringing increased demand for hotel accommodation and for capacity at airports such as Tripoli International. A multi-million dollar renovation of Libyan airports has recently been approved by the government to help meet such demands.[84] At present 130,000 people visit the country annually; the Libyan government hopes to increase this figure to 10,000,000 tourists.Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, the oldest son of Muammar al-Gaddafi, is involved in a green development project called the Green Mountain Sustainable Development Area, which seeks to bring tourism to Cyrene and to preserve Greek ruins in the area.

Plan de la Ville et Rade de Tripoli

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago which, in turn, forms one of the Spanish Autonomous Communities and an Outermost Region of the European Union. The archipelago is located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the disputed border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The sea currents which depart from Canary's coasts used to lead ships away to America. The islands from largest to smallest are: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, Alegranza, La Graciosa and Montaña Clara.
Canary Islands has great natural attractions, climate and beaches make the islands a major tourist destination, being visited each year by about 12 million people (11,986,059 in 2007, noting 29% of Britons, 22% of Spanish not canaries and 21% of Germans). Among the islands, Tenerife is the most number of tourists received annually, followed by Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. The archipelago pincipal tourist attraction is the Teide National Park where the highest mountain in Spain and third largest volcano in the world , receives over 2.8 million visitors annually.
Canary Islands currently has a population of 2,098,593 inhabitants, making it the eighth most populous of Spain's autonomous communities, with a density of 281.8 inhabitants per km². Tenerife is its most populous island with approximately one million inhabitants; the island of Gran Canaria is the second most-populous. The total area of the archipelago is 7447 km². It also enjoys sub-tropical climate with longer hot days in summer and cool in winter.
The status of capital city is shared by the cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which in turn are the capitals of the provinces of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas. Until 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the only capital. The third largest city of the Canary Islands is San Cristóbal de La Laguna on the island of Tenerife.

Tenerife, with 865,070 inhabitants, is both the Canary Islands' and Spain's most populous island. Tenerife is also the largest island of the archipelago. The island of Fuerteventura is the second largest in the archipelago and located 100 km from the African coast.
The islands form the Macaronesia ecoregion with the Azores, Cape Verde, Madeira, and the Savage Isles. The archipelago consists of seven large and several smaller islands, all of which are volcanic in origin. The Teide volcano on Tenerife is the highest mountain in Spain, and the third largest volcano on Earth on a volcanic ocean island. All the islands except La Gomera have been active in the last million years; four of them have historical records of eruptions since European discovery. The islands rise from Jurassic oceanic crust associated with the opening of the Atlantic. Underwater magmatism commenced during the Cretaceous, and reached the ocean's surface during the Miocene. The islands are considered as a distinct physiographic section of the Atlas Mountains province, which in turn is part of the larger African Alpine System division.
According to the position of the islands with respect to the NE trade winds, the climate can be mild and wet or very dry. Several native species form laurisilva forests.
Four of Spain's thirteen national parks are located in the Canary Islands, more than any other autonomous community. In the early 90's, there were only five Spanish national parks, four of them being the Canarian parks, and the other one Doñana. The parks are:

Carte des Isles Canaries

Monday, March 29, 2010


Morocco is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of nearly 32 million and an area of 710.850 km².
Its capital is Rabat, and its largest city is Casablanca; other large cities includes Fes, Salé, Marrakesh, Tangier, Meknes, Oujda and Tetouan.
Morocco has a rich culture and civilization, which remained mainly indigenous throughout times and the Moroccan cuisine has long been considered as one of the most diversified cuisines in the world.
Morocco has a coast on the Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Spain to the north , Algeria to the east, and Mauritania to the south.
The information technology and communications sectors have been witnessing significant expansion as well. Morocco is the first country in North Africa to install a 3G network. The number of Internet subscribers in the country jumped 73% in 2006 over the year-ago period. Further, a new offshore site at Casablanca, with state-of-the-art technologies and other incentives, has grabbed the attention of many global multinationals. Setting up offshore service centers in the nation has become tempting. Such is the rate of growth, that off-shoring and IT activities are estimated to contribute $500 million to the country’s GDP and employ 30,000 people by 2015. The communications sector already accounts for half of all foreign direct investments Morocco received over the past five years.
Morocco is the world's third-largest producer of phosphorus and the price fluctuations of phosphates on the international market greatly influence Morocco's economy
Berbers constitute the largest ethnic group in the country although arabization played a key role in the moroccan culture, which resulted in a majority of arabic speaking berber-ethnic population.

Because of the conflict over Western Sahara, the status of both regions of "Saguia el-Hamra" and "Río de Oro" is disputed. The United Nations views Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory, and as a case of unfinished decolonization. Morocco's rule in the territory is not internationally recognized, nor is the independent republic proposed by Polisario, a Saharawi group which fought against the Spanish colonial rule and then for Western Sahara's independence as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic . There is a ceasefire in effect since 1991, and a UN mission is tasked with organizing a referendum on whether the territory should become independent or recognized as a part of Morocco. At the time, both parties signed an agreement to this effect, but Morocco has since 2000 refused to accept such a referendum, while Polisario demands that it be held.
The territory is mostly administered as the Southern Provinces by Morocco since Spain handed over the territory to Morocco and Mauritania after the Madrid Accords in 1975-76. Part of the territory, the Free Zone, is controlled by the Polisario Front as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. A UN-administered cease-fire has been in effect since September, 1991.

The geography of Morocco spans from the Atlantic Ocean, to mountainous areas, to the Sahara . Morocco is a Northern African country, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and the annexed Western Sahara.
A large part of Morocco is mountainous. The Atlas Mountains are located mainly in the center and the south of the country. The Rif Mountains are located in the north of the country. Both ranges are mainly inhabited by the Berber people. At 172,402 sq mi , Morocco is the fifty-seventh largest country in the world . Algeria borders Morocco to the east and southeast though the border between the two countries has been closed since 1994.
There are also four Spanish enclaves on the Mediterranean coast: Ceuta, Melilla, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, Peñón de Alhucemas, and the Chafarinas islands, as well as the disputed islet Perejil. Off the Atlantic coast the Canary Islands belong to Spain, whereas Madeira to the north is Portuguese. To the north, Morocco is bordered by and controls part of the Strait of Gibraltar, giving it power over the waterways in and out of the Mediterranean sea.
The Rif mountains occupy the region bordering the Mediterranean from the north-west to the north-east. The Atlas Mountains run down the backbone of the country, from the south west to the north east. Most of the south east portion of the country is in the Sahara Desert and as such is generally sparsely populated and unproductive economically. Most of the population lives to the north of these mountains, while to the south is the desert. To the south, lies the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Morocco claims that the Western Sahara is part of its territory and refers to that as its Southern Provinces.
Morocco's capital city is Rabat; its largest city is its main port, Casablanca. Other cities include Agadir, Essaouira, Fes, Marrakech, Meknes, Mohammadia, Oujda, Ouarzazat, Safi, Salé, Tangier and Tétouan.
Morocco is represented in the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 geographical encoding standard by the symbol MA. This code was used as the basis for Morocco's internet domain, .ma.
The climate is Mediterranean in the North and in some mountains , which becomes more extreme towards the interior regions. The terrain is such that the coastal plains are rich and accordingly, they comprise the backbone for agriculture, especially in the North. Forests cover about 12% of the land while arable land accounts for 18%. 5% is irrigated. In the Atlas ( Middle Atlas), there's some different climates: Mediterranean , Maritime Temperate that allow different species of oaks, moss carpets, junipers, atlantic cedars and many other plants, to form extensive and very rich humid cloud forests. In the highest peaks a different climate may occur. On the other side of Atlas mountains , the climate changes, due to the barrier/shelter effect of these mountainous system, turning it very dry and extremely warm during the summer , especially on the lowlands and on the valleys faced to the Sahara. Here it starts the big Desert Sahara and it's perfectly visible, for example, on the Draa Valley, on which it's possible to find oasis, sand dunes and rocky desert landscapes. So the climate in this region is desert.

Carte des Royaumes de Fez et de Maroc

Isle de Mogador

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Alexandria, with a population of 4.1 million, is the second-largest city in Egypt, and is the country's largest seaport, serving about 80% of Egypt's imports and exports. Alexandria is also an important tourist resort. Alexandria extends about 32 km (20 mi) along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in north-central Egypt. It is home to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina , It is an important industrial centre because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez, another city in Egypt.
In ancient times, Alexandria was one of the most famous cities in the world. It was founded around a small pharaonic town c. 331 BC by Alexander the Great. It remained Egypt's capital for nearly a thousand years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in AD 641 when a new capital was founded at Fustat. Alexandria was known because of its lighthouse (Pharos), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; its library ; and the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbour of Alexandria, which began in 1994, is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhacotis existed there, and during the Ptolemaic dynasty.
From the late 19th century, it became a major centre of the international shipping industry and one the most important trading centres in the world, both because it profited from the easy overland connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, and the lucrative trade in Egyptian cotton.

Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in April 331 BC . Alexander's chief architect for the project was Dinocrates. Alexandria was intended to supersede Naucratis as a Hellenistic centre in Egypt, and to be the link between Greece and the rich Nile Valley. An Egyptian city, Rhakotis, already existed on the shore, and later gave its name to Alexandria in the Egyptian language . It continued to exist as the Egyptian quarter of the city. A few months after the foundation, Alexander left Egypt for the East and never returned to his city. After Alexander departed, his viceroy, Cleomenes, continued the expansion. Following a struggle with the other successors of Alexander, his general Ptolemy succeeded in bringing Alexander's body to Alexandria.
Although Cleomenes was mainly in charge of seeing to Alexandria's continuous development, the Heptastadion and the mainland quarters seem to have been primarily Ptolemaic work. Inheriting the trade of ruined Tyre and becoming the centre of the new commerce between Europe and the Arabian and Indian East, the city grew in less than a generation to be larger than Carthage. In a century, Alexandria had become the largest city in the world and for some centuries more, was second only to Rome. It became the main Greek city of Egypt, with an extraordinary mix of Greeks from many cities and backgrounds.
Alexandria was not only a centre of Hellenism but was also home to the largest Jewish community in the world. The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, was produced there. The early Ptolemies kept it in order and fostered the development of its museum into the leading Hellenistic centre of learning but were careful to maintain the distinction of its population's three largest ethnicities: Greek, Jewish, and Egyptian. From this division arose much of the later turbulence, which began to manifest itself under Ptolemy Philopater who reigned from 221–204 BC. The reign of Ptolemy VIII Physcon from 144–116 BC was marked by purges and civil warfare.
The city passed formally under Roman jurisdiction in 80 BC, according to the will of Ptolemy Alexander but only after it had been under Roman influence for more than a hundred years. It was captured by Julius Caesar in 47 BC during a Roman intervention in the domestic civil war between king Ptolemy XIII and his advisors, and usurper queen Cleopatra VII. It was finally captured by Octavian, future emperor Augustus on 1 August 30 BC, with the name of the month later being changed to august to commemorate his victory.
In AD 115, vast parts of Alexandria were destroyed during the Greek-Jewish civil wars, which gave Hadrian and his architect, Decriannus, an opportunity to rebuild it. In 215 the emperor Caracalla visited the city and, because of some insulting satires that the inhabitants had directed at him, abruptly commanded his troops to put to death all youths capable of bearing arms. On 21 July 365, Alexandria was devastated by a tsunami (365 Crete earthquake), an event two hundred years later still annually commemorated as "day of horror".[4] In the late 4th century, persecution of pagans by newly Christian Romans had reached new levels of intensity. In 391, the Patriarch Theophilus destroyed all pagan temples in Alexandria under orders from Emperor Theodosius I. The Brucheum and Jewish quarters were desolate in the 5th century. On the mainland, life seemed to have centered in the vicinity of the Serapeum and Caesareum, both which became Christian churches. The Pharos and Heptastadium quarters, however, remained populous and were left intact.

In 619, Alexandria fell to the Sassanid Persians. Although the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius recovered it in 629, in 641 the Arabs under the general Amr ibn al-As captured it after a siege that lasted fourteen months.
Alexandria figured prominently in the military operations of Napoleon's expedition to Egypt in 1798. French troops stormed the city on 2 July 1798, and it remained in their hands until the arrival of a British expedition in 1801. The British won a considerable victory over the French at the Battle of Alexandria on 21 March 1801, following which they besieged the city, which fell to them on 2 September 1801. Mohammed Ali, the Ottoman Governor of Egypt, began rebuilding the city around 1810, and by 1850, Alexandria had returned to something akin to its former glory. In July 1882, the city came under bombardment from British naval forces and was occupied. In July 1954, the city was a target of an Israeli bombing campaign that later became known as the Lavon Affair. Only a few months later, Alexandria's Mansheyya Square was the site of a failed assassination attempt on Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Persistent efforts have been made to explore the antiquities of Alexandria. Encouragement and help have been given by the local Archaeological Society, and by many individuals, notably Greeks proud of a city which is one of the glories of their national history.
The past and present directors of the museum have been enabled from time to time to carry out systematic excavations whenever opportunity is offered; D. G. Hogarth made tentative researches on behalf of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies in 1895; and a German expedition worked for two years (1898–1899). But two difficulties face the would-be excavator in Alexandria: lack of space for excavation and the underwater location of some areas of interest.
Since the great and growing modern city stands immediately over the ancient one, it is almost impossible to find any considerable space in which to dig, except at enormous cost. Also, the general subsidence of the coast has submerged the lower-lying parts of the ancient town under water. This underwater section, containing many of the most interesting sections of the Hellenistic city, including the palace quarter, is still being extensively investigated by the French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio and his team. It raised a noted head of Caesarion. These are being opened up to tourists, to some controversy. The spaces that are most open are the low grounds to northeast and southwest, where it is practically impossible to get below the Roman strata.
The most important results were those achieved by Dr. G. Botti, late director of the museum, in the neighbourhood of “Pompey's Pillar”, where there is a good deal of open ground. Here substructures of a large building or group of buildings have been exposed, which are perhaps part of the Serapeum. Nearby, immense catacombs and columbaria have been opened which may have been appendages of the temple. These contain one very remarkable vault with curious painted reliefs, now artificially lit and open to visitors.
The objects found in these researches are in the museum, the most notable being a great basalt bull, probably once an object of cult in the Serapeum. Other catacombs and tombs have been opened in Kom al-Shoqqafa and Ras al-Tiin .
The German excavation team found remains of a Ptolemaic colonnade and streets in the north-east of the city, but little else. Hogarth explored part of an immense brick structure under the mound of Kom al-Dikka, which may have been part of the Paneum, the Mausolea, or a Roman fortress.
The making of the new foreshore led to the dredging up of remains of the Patriarchal Church; and the foundations of modern buildings are seldom laid without some objects of antiquity being discovered. The wealth underground is doubtlessly immense; but despite all efforts, there is not much for antiquarians to see in Alexandria outside the museum and the neighbourhood of “Pompey's Pillar”. The native tomb-robbers, well-sinkers, dredgers, and the like, however, come upon valuable objects from time to time, most of which find their way into private collections.

Plan des Ports et Ville d'Alexandrie

Plan du Fort et du Village du Bequier

Rade du Bequier

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Nile

The Nile is a major north-flowing river in Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world.
The Nile has two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile, the latter being the source of most of the Nile's water and fertile soil, but the former being the longer of the two. The White Nile rises in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, with the most distant source in southern Rwanda at 2°16′55.92″S 29°19′52.32″E, and flows north from there through Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Uganda and southern Sudan, while the Blue Nile starts at Lake Tana in Ethiopia at 12°2′8.8″N 37°15′53.11″E, flowing into Sudan from the southeast. The two rivers meet near the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.
The northern section of the river flows almost entirely through desert, from Sudan into Egypt, a country whose civilization has depended on the river since ancient times. Most of the population and cities of Egypt lie along those parts of the Nile valley north of Aswan, and nearly all the cultural and historical sites of Ancient Egypt are found along the banks of the river. The Nile ends in a large delta that empties into the Mediterranean Sea.

The source of the Nile is sometimes considered to be Lake Victoria, but the lake itself has feeder rivers of considerable size. The most distant stream—and thus the ultimate source of the Nile—emerges from Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda, via the Rukarara, Mwogo, Nyabarongo and Kagera rivers, before flowing into Lake Victoria in Tanzania near the town of Bukoba.
The Nile leaves Lake Victoria at Ripon Falls near Jinja, Uganda, as the Victoria Nile. It flows for approximately 500 kilometres (300 mi) farther, through Lake Kyoga, until it reaches Lake Albert. After leaving Lake Albert, the river is known as the Albert Nile. It then flows into Sudan, where it is known as the Bahr al Jabal . The Bahr al Ghazal, itself 716 kilometres (445 mi) long, joins the Bahr al Jabal at a small lagoon called Lake No, after which the Nile becomes known as the Bahr al Abyad, or the White Nile, from the whitish clay suspended in its waters. When the Nile flooded it left a rich silty deposit which fertilised the soil. The Nile no longer floods annually since the completion of the Aswan Dam in 1970. From Lake No, the river flows to Khartoum. An anabranch river, the Bahr el Zeraf, flows out of the Nile's Bahr al Jabal section and rejoins the White Nile.
The term "White Nile" is used in both a general sense, referring to the entire river above Khartoum, and in a limited sense, describing the section between Lake No and Khartoum.
The flow rate of the Albert Nile at Mongalla is almost constant throughout the year and averages 1,048 m3/s (37,000 cu ft/s). After Mongalla, the Nile is known as the Bahr El Jebel, which enters the enormous swamps of the Sudd region of Sudan. More than half of the Nile's water is lost in this swamp to evaporation and transpiration. The average flow rate in the Bahr El Jebel at the tails of the swamps is about 510 m3/s (18,000 cu ft/s). From here it soon meets with the Sobat River and forms the White Nile.
The Bahr al Ghazal and the Sobat River are the two most important tributaries of the White Nile in terms of drainage area and discharge. The Bahr al Ghazal's drainage basin is the largest of any of the Nile's sub-basins, measuring 520,000 square kilometres (200,000 sq mi) in size, but it contributes a relatively small amount of water, about 2 m3/s (71 cu ft/s) annually, due to tremendous volumes of water being lost in the Sudd wetlands. The Sobat River, which joins the Nile a short distance below Lake No, drains about half as much land, 225,000 km2 (86,900 sq mi), but contributes 412 cubic metres per second (14,500 cu ft/s) annually to the Nile.[4] When in flood the Sobat carries a large amount of sediment, adding greatly to the White Nile's color.
The average flow of the White Nile at Malakal, just below the Sobat River, is 924 m3/s (32,600 cu ft/s); the peak flow is approximately 1,218 m3/s (43,000 cu ft/s) in early March and minimum flow is about 609 m3/s (21,500 cu ft/s) in late August. This fluctuation is due the substantial variation in the flow of the Sobat, which has a minimum flow of about 99 m3/s (3,500 cu ft/s) in August and a peak flow of over 680 m3/s (24,000 cu ft/s) in early March. During the dry season (January to June) the White Nile contributes between 70% and 90% of the total discharge from the Nile.
The Blue Nile to Ethiopians springs from Lake Tana in the Ethiopian Highlands. The Blue Nile flows about 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) to Khartoum, where the Blue Nile and White Nile join to form the Nile. 90% of the water and 96% of the transported sediment carried by the Nile originates in Ethiopia, with 59% of the water from the Blue Nile (the rest being from the Tekezé, Atbarah, Sobat, and small tributaries). The erosion and transportation of silt only occurs during the Ethiopian rainy season in the summer, however, when rainfall is especially high on the Ethiopian Plateau; the rest of the year, the great rivers draining Ethiopia into the Nile (Sobat, Blue Nile, Tekezé, and Atbarah) have a weaker flow.
The Blue Nile contributes approximately 80-90% of the Nile River discharge. The flow of the Blue Nile varies considerably over its yearly cycle and is the main contribution to the large natural variation of the Nile flow. During the wet season the peak flow of the Blue Nile will often exceed 5,663 m3/s (200,000 cu ft/s) in late August. During the dry season the natural discharge of the Blue Nile can be as low as 113 m3/s (4,000 cu ft/s), although upstream dams regulate the flow of the river.
Before the placement of dams on the river the yearly discharge varied by a factor of 15 at Aswan. Peak flows of over 8,212 m3/s (290,000 cu ft/s) would occur during late August and early September and minimum flows of about 552 m3/s (19,500 cu ft/s) would occur during late April and early May.

Carte des Embouchures du Nil

Carte du Cours du Nil

Costes d'Afrique

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Teneriffe Island

Tenerife, a Spanish island, is the largest of the seven Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. Tenerife has an area of 2034.38 square kilometers, and 899,833 inhabitants. It is the most populated island of the Canary Islands and Spain. About 43% of the population of the Canary Islands housing on this island, this is almost half the total population of the archipelago. About five million tourists visit Tenerife each year, which is also one of the busiest Spain resorts and the first of Canary Islands. Tenerife also has one of the world's largest carnivals, and the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife now aspires to become a World Heritage Site. The island's capital contains the architectural symbol of the Canary Islands, the modern Auditorio de Tenerife. Tenerife is the only Spanish island that has two airports and two ports .
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital of the island and the seat of the island council . The city is capital of the autonomous community of Canary Islands , sharing governmental institutions such as Presidency and ministries. Between the 1833 territorial division of Spain and 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands, until in 1927 a decree ordered that the capital of the Canary Islands be shared, as it remains as at present.
The island is home to the University of San Fernando de La Laguna, which was founded in 1792. The University of La Laguna is the oldest university in the Canaries. San Cristóbal de La Laguna is the second city of the island and the third one of the archipelago. The city of La Laguna was also capital of the Canary Islands until Santa Cruz replaced it in 1833.
Tenerife also has the highest elevation of Spain, a World Heritage Site that is the third largest volcano in the world from its base, El Teide.
Tenerife is a rugged and volcanic island sculpted by successive eruptions throughout its history. There are four historically recorded volcanic eruptions, none of which has led to casualties. The first occurred in 1704, when the Arafo, Fasnia and Siete Fuentes volcanoes erupted simultaneously. Two years later, in 1706, the greatest eruption occurred at Trevejo. This volcano produced great quantities of lava which buried the city and port of Garachico. The last eruption of the 18th century happened in 1798 at Cañadas de Teide, in Chahorra. Finally, and most recently, in 1909 the Chinyero volcano, in the municipality of Santiago del Teide, erupted.
The island is located between 28º and 29º N and the 16º and 17º meridian. It is situated north of the Tropic of Cancer, occupying a central position between the other Canary Islands of Gran Canaria, La Gomera and La Palma. The island is about 300 km (186 mi) from the African coast, and approximately 1,000 km from the Iberian Peninsula. Tenerife is the largest island of the Canary Islands archipelago, with a surface area of 2,034.38 km2 and the longest coastline amounting to 342 km.
In addition, the highest point, Mount Teide, with an elevation of 3,718 m above sea level is the highest point in all of Spain. It comprises about 200 small barren islets or large rocks including Roques de Anaga, Roque de Garachico, and Fasnia adding a further 213,835 m2 to the total area.
Tenerife is known internationally as the "Island of Eternal Spring" (Isla de la Eterna Primavera).[36] The island, being on a latitude of the Sahara Desert, enjoys a warm climate year-round with an average of 20° - 22°C in the winter and 26° - 28°C in the summer and high sunshine totals. The moderate climate of Tenerife is controlled to a great extent by the tradewinds, whose humidity, principally, is condensed over the north and northeast of the island, creating cloud banks that range between 600 and 1,800 meters in height. The cold sea currents of the Canary Islands, also have a cooling effect on the coasts and its beaches and the topography of the landscape plays a role in climatic differences on the island with its many valleys.

The average temperatures, however, can fluctuate between 17-18°C and 24-25°C in the winter season. Evidently there are climatic contrasts which do occur on the island, particularly during the winter months when it is possible to enjoy the warm sunshine on the coast and experience snow within just miles, 3000 metres above sea level on Teide. There is also a contrast in climate between different parts of the island at a lower altitude, even in proximity, notably between the cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and San Cristóbal de La Laguna. Santa Cruz generally experiences a warm climate throughout the year with temperatures noticeably greater than at the bordering La Laguna, where frequently it is colder with a greater chance of rainfall.
The north and the south of Tenerife similarly have different climatic characteristics. The windward side of the island receives 73% of all precipitation on the island, and the relative humidity of the air is superior and the insolation inferior. The pluviometric maximums are registered on the windward side at an average altitude of between 1.000-1.200 ms, almost exclusively in the La Orotava mountain range. However, although climatic differences in rainfall and sunshine on the island exist, overall annual precipitation is very low with some of the summer months often not receiving any days of rainfall. In June and July in particular it is rare to receive any. The wettest season is during the winter, but in December, for instance, an average of five days of rainfall can be expected, and even this is partly attributed to snowfall on Teide.

Isle de Teneriffe


The Republic of Guinea-Bissau is located in West Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north, and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west.
It covers nearly 37,000 square kilometres with an estimated population of 1,600,000. Formerly the Portuguese colony of Portuguese Guinea, upon independence, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country's name to prevent confusion with the Republic of Guinea. The country's per-capita gross domestic product is one of the lowest in the world.
Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Gabu, part of the Mali Empire; parts of this kingdom persisted until the eighteenth century, while others were part of the Portuguese Empire. Portuguese Guinea was known also, from its main economic activity, as the Slave Coast.
Early reports of Europeans reaching this area include those of the Venetian Alvise Cadamosto's voyage of 1455, the 1479-1480 voyage by Flemish-French trader Eustache de la Fosse, and Diogo Cão who in the 1480s reached the Congo River and the lands of Bakongo, setting up thus the foundations of modern Angola, some 1200 km down the African coast from Guinea-Bissau.
Although the rivers and coast of this area were among the first places colonized by the Portuguese, since the 16th century, the interior was not explored until the nineteenth century. The local African rulers in Guinea, some of whom prospered greatly from the slave trade, had no interest in allowing the Europeans any further inland than the fortified coastal settlements where the trading took place. African communities that fought back against slave traders had even greater incentives to distrust European adventurers and would-be settlers. The Portuguese presence in Guinea was therefore largely limited to the port of Bissau and Cacheu, although isolated European farmer-settlers established farms along Bissau's inland rivers.
For a brief period in the 1790s the British attempted to establish a rival foothold on an offshore island, at Bolama. But by the 19th century the Portuguese were sufficiently secure in Bissau to regard the neighbouring coastline as their own special territory, also up north in part of present South Senegal.
An armed rebellion beginning in 1956 by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde under the leadership of Amílcar Cabral gradually consolidated its hold on then Portuguese Guinea. Unlike guerrilla movements in other Portuguese colonies, the PAIGC rapidly extended its military control over large portions of the territory, aided by the jungle-like terrain, its easily reached borderlines with neighbouring allies and large quantities of arms from Cuba, China, the Soviet Union, and left-leaning African countries.
Cuba also agreed to supply artillery experts, doctors and technicians. The PAIGC even managed to acquire a significant anti-aircraft capability in order to defend itself against aerial attack. By 1973, the PAIGC was in control of many parts of Guinea. Independence was unilaterally declared on September 24, 1973. Recognition became universal following the April 25, 1974 socialist-inspired military coup in Portugal which overthrew Lisbon's Estado Novo regime.
Luís Cabral was appointed the first President of Guinea-Bissau. Following independence local black soldiers that fought along with the Portuguese Army against the PAIGC guerrillas were slaughtered by the thousands. Some managed to escape and settled in Portugal or other African nations, one of the massacres occurred in the town of Bissorã. In 1980 the PAIGC admitted in its newspaper "Nó Pintcha" that many were executed and buried in unmarked collective graves in the woods of Cumerá, Portogole and Mansabá.
The country was controlled by a revolutionary council until 1984. The first multi-party elections were held in 1994, but an army uprising in 1998 led to the president's ousting and the Guinea-Bissau Civil War. Elections were held again in 2000 and Kumba Ialá was elected president.
In September 2003, a coup took place in which the military arrested Ialá on the charge of being "unable to solve the problems." After being delayed several times, legislative elections were held in March 2004 . A mutiny of military factions in October 2004 resulted in the death of the head of the armed forces, and caused widespread unrest.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Senegal Guinea Bissau

Cours de la Riviere de Senaga ou Senegal


Senegal is a country south of the Sénégal River in western Africa.It owes its name to the river that borders it to the East and North and that originates from the Fouta Djallon in Guinea. Senegal is externally bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south; internally it almost completely surrounds The Gambia, namely on the north, east and south, exempting Gambia's short Atlantic Ocean coastline. Senegal covers a land area of almost 197,000 km², and has an estimated population of about 13.7 million.The climate is tropical with two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.
Dakar the capital city of Senegal,is located to the westernmost tip of the country, about 300 miles away the Cape Verde Island, off the Atlantic Ocean. During colonial times, numerous trading Counters, belonging to various colonial empires were established along the coast. The town of St Louis became the capital of French Western Africa before it was moved to Dakar in 1902. Dakar later became its capital in 1960 at the time of independence from France.
Senegal is located on the west of the African continent. The Senegalese landscape consists mainly of the rolling sandy plains of the western Sahel which rise to foothills in the southeast. Here is also found Senegal's highest point, an otherwise unnamed feature near Nepen Diakha at 584 m (1,916 ft). The northern border is formed by the Senegal River, other rivers include the Gambia and Casamance Rivers. The capital Dakar lies on the Cap-Vert peninsula, the westernmost point of continental Africa.
The local climate is tropical with well-defined dry and humid seasons that result from northeast winter winds and southwest summer winds. Dakar's annual rainfall of about 600 mm (23.6 in) occurs between June and October when maximum temperatures average 27 °C (80.6 °F); December to February minimum temperatures are about 17 °C (62.6 °F). Interior temperatures can be substantially higher than along the coast, and rainfall increases substantially farther south, exceeding 1,500 mm (59.1 in) annually in some areas. The far interior of the country, in the region of Tambacounda, particularly on the border of Mali, temperatures can reach as high as 54 °C (129.2 °F).
The Cape Verde islands lie some 560 kilometers (348 mi) off the Senegalese coast, but Cap Vert ("Cape Green") is a maritime placemark, set at the foot of "Les Mammelles" , a 105-metre (344 ft) cliff resting at one end of the Cap Vert peninsula onto which is settled Senegal's capital Dakar, and 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) south of the "Pointe des Almadies", the western-most point in Africa.

Coste du Senegal

The Senagal River

The Sénégal River is a 1,790 km long river in West Africa, that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania. It was called Bambotus by Pliny the Elder and Nias by Claudius Ptolemy. It was visited by Hanno the Carthaginian around 450 BC at his navigation from Carthage through the pillars of Herakles to Theon Ochema in the Gulf of Guinea. There was trade from here to the Mediterranean World, until the destruction of Carthage and its west African trade net in 146 BC.
The Sénégal is formed by the confluence of the Semefé and Bafing rivers at Bafoulabé. These rivers have their mutual source in Guinea; the Bafing River flows through Mali and the Semefé is on the Malian-Senegalese border. The Senegal is considered a sweet water river. From Bafoulabé the river flows west and then north through the spectacular Talari Gorges near Galougo and over the Gouina Falls, then flows more gently past Kayes and through semi-arid land along the northern border of Senegal to the Atlantic. Approaching its mouth, the Senegal passes through and the island on which the city of Saint-Louis, Senegal is located, then turns south. It is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a thin strip of sand called the Langue de Barbarie before it pours into the ocean itself.
The river has two large dams along its course, the Manantali Dam in Mali, and the Maka-Diama dam on the Mauritania-Senegal border, near the outlet to the sea. The Manantali dam was built as a reservoir. The Maka-Diama dam prevents access of salt water into the inner country.
The Senegal River has a drainage basin of 483,181 km2 , a mean flow of 640 m3/s at its mouth, and an estimated annual discharge of 20,000 cubic hectometers.[citation needed] Important tributaries are the Faleme River, Karakoro River, and the Gorgol River.
In 1972 Mali, Mauritania and Senegal founded the Organisation pour la mise en valeur du fleuve Sénégal to manage the river basin. Guinea joined in 2005.

Carte de la Riviere Senaga ou Senegal

Monday, March 22, 2010


The Gambia , commonly known as Gambia by its residents, is a country in Western Africa. The Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, bordered to the north, east, and south by Senegal, with a small coast on the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
Its borders roughly correspond to the path of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the country's center and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Its size is almost 10,500 km² with an estimated population of 1,700,000.
On 18 February 1965, Gambia was granted independence from the United Kingdom and joined The Commonwealth. Banjul is Gambia's capital, but the largest conurbation is Serekunda.
The Gambia shares historical roots with many other west African nations in the slave trade, which was key to the establishment of a colony on the Gambia river, first by the Portuguese and later by the British. Since gaining independence in 1965, The Gambia has enjoyed relative stability, with the exception of a brief period of military rule in 1994.
An agriculturally rich country, its economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism. About a third of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

The Gambia is a very small and narrow country whose borders mirror the meandering Gambia River. The country is less than 30 miles wide at its widest point, with a total area of 11,300 km². Approximately 1,300 km² of the Gambia's area is covered by water. It is almost an enclave of Senegal, with all of the 460 mile border zones touching Senegal. The Gambia is the smallest country on the continent of Africa. In comparative terms the Gambia has a total area which is slightly less than that of the island of Jamaica. The western side of the country borders the North Atlantic Ocean with 50 miles of coastline.
The general climate for the Gambia is tropical. During the period from June until November, there is a period of hot weather and a very rainy season. From November until May, there are cool temperatures and is part of a dry season. The climate in the Gambia is the same found in neighboring Senegal, southern Mali and the northern part of Benin.
Its present boundaries were defined in 1889 after an agreement between the United Kingdom and France. During the negotiations between the French and the British in Paris, the French initially gave the British approximately 200 miles of the Gambia River to control. Starting with the placement of boundary markers in 1891, it took nearly fifteen years after the Paris meetings to determine the final boundary of the Gambia. The resulting series of straight lines and arcs gave the British control of areas that are approximately 10 miles ( north and south of the Gambia River.

Carte de la Riviere de Gambra ou Gambie

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is a country in Western Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, by Senegal on the southwest, by Mali on the east and southeast, by Algeria on the northeast, and by the Morocco-controlled Western Sahara on the northwest. It is named after the Roman province of Mauretania, even though the modern state covers a territory far to the southwest of the old province. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast.
The civilian government of Mauritania was overthrown on 6 August 2008, in a military coup d'état led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. On April 16, 2009, General Aziz resigned from the military to run for president in the July 19 elections, which he won. In Mauritania about 20% of the population live on less than US $1.25 per day.

At 397,929 square miles , Mauritania is the world's 29th-largest country . It is comparable in size to Egypt.
Mauritania is generally flat, its 1,030,700 square kilometers forming vast, arid plains broken by occasional ridges and clifflike outcroppings. A series of scarps face southwest, longitudinally bisecting these plains in the center of the country. The scarps also separate a series of sandstone plateaus, the highest of which is the Adrar Plateau, reaching an elevation of 500 meters . Spring-fed oases lie at the foot of some of the scarps. Isolated peaks, often rich in minerals, rise above the plateaus; the smaller peaks are called guelbs and the larger ones kedias. The concentric Guelb er Richat (also known as the Richat Structure) is a prominent feature of the north-central region. Kediet ej Jill, near the city of Zouîrât, has an elevation of 1,000 meters and is the highest peak.

Approximately three quarters of Mauritania is desert or semidesert. As a result of extended, severe drought, the desert has been expanding since the mid-1960s. To the west, between the ocean and the plateaus, are alternating areas of clayey plains and sand dunes , some of which shift from place to place, gradually moved by high winds. The dunes generally increase in size and mobility toward the north.

From the fifth to seventh centuries, the migration of Berber tribes from North Africa displaced the Bafours, the original inhabitants of present-day Mauritania and the ancestors of the Soninke. The Bafours were primarily agriculturalist, and among the first Saharan people to abandon their historically nomadic lifestyle. With the gradual desiccation of the Sahara, they headed south.
Following them came a migration of not only Central Saharans into West Africa, but in 1076, Moorish Islamic warrior monks attacked and conquered the ancient Ghana Empire. Over the next 500 years, Arabs overcame fierce resistance from the local population (Berber and non-Berber alike) and came to dominate Mauritania. The Mauritanian Thirty-Year War was the unsuccessful final effort to repel the Yemeni Maqil Arab invaders led by the Beni Hassan tribe.
The descendants of the Beni Hassan warriors became the upper stratum of Moorish society. Berbers retained influence by producing the majority of the region's Marabouts—those who preserve and teach Islamic tradition. Many of the Berber tribes claimed Yemeni origin: there is little evidence to suggest this, though some studies do make a connection between the two. Hassaniya, a Berber-influenced Arabic dialect that derives its name from the Beni Hassan, became the dominant language among the largely nomadic population.
French colonization gradually absorbed the territories of present-day Mauritania from the Senegal river area and upwards, starting in the late 1800s. In 1901, Xavier Coppolani took charge of the colonial mission. Through a combination of strategic alliances with Zawiya tribes and military pressure on the Hassane warrior nomads, he managed to extend French rule over the Mauritanian emirates: Trarza, Brakna and Tagant quickly submitted to treaties with the colonial power , but the northern emirate of Adrar held out longer, aided by the anticolonial rebellion of shaykh Maa al-Aynayn. It was finally defeated militarily in 1912, and incorporated into the territory of Mauritania, which had been drawn up in 1904. Mauritania would subsequently form part of French West Africa, from 1920.
French rule brought legal prohibitions against slavery and an end to interclan warfare. During the colonial period, the population remained nomadic, but many sedentary peoples, whose ancestors had been expelled centuries earlier, began to trickle back into Mauritania. As the country gained independence in 1960, the capital city Nouakchott was founded at the site of a small colonial village, the Ksar, while 90% of the population was still nomadic.
The great Sahel droughts of the early 1970s caused massive problems in Mauritania. With independence, larger numbers of indigenous Sub-Saharan African peoples entered Mauritania, moving into the area north of the Senegal River. Educated in French language and customs, many of these recent arrivals became clerks, soldiers, and administrators in the new state. This occurred as France militarily suppressed the most intransigent Hassane tribes of the Moorish north, shifting old balances of power, and creating new cause for conflict between the southern populations and Moors. Between these groups stood the Haratin, a very large population of Arabized slaves of black African origins, who lived within Moorish society, integrated into a low-caste social position. Modern day slavery is still a common practice in this country.[8] According to some estimates, up to 600,000 Mauritanians, or 20% of the population, are still enslaved. This social discrimination concerns mainly the Haratin ("black Moors) in the northern part of the country, where tribal elites among "white Moors" hold sway, but low-caste groups within the black African communities of the south are also affected by similar practices.
Moors reacted to the change, and to Arab nationalist calls from abroad, by increasing pressure to Arabize many aspects of Mauritanian life, such as law and language. A schism developed between those Moors who consider Mauritania to be an Arab country and those who seek a dominant role for the non-Moorish peoples, with various models for containing the country's cultural diversity suggested, but none implemented successfully.
This ethnic discord was evident during intercommunal violence that broke out in April 1989 but has since subsided. Some 70,000 black African Mauritanians were expelled from Mauritania in the late 1980s. The ethnic tension and the sensitive issue of slavery – past and, in some areas, present – is still a powerful theme in the country's political debate. A significant number from all groups, however, seek a more diverse, pluralistic society.

The government bureaucracy is composed of traditional ministries, special agencies, and parastatal companies. The Ministry of Interior spearheads a system of regional governors and prefects modeled on the French system of local administration. Under this system, Mauritania is divided into thirteen regions , including the capital district, Nouakchott. Control is tightly concentrated in the executive branch of the central government, but a series of national and municipal elections since 1992 have produced limited decentralization.
Mauritania, along with Morocco, annexed the territory of Western Sahara in 1976, with Mauritania taking the lower one-third at the request of former colonial power Spain. After several military losses to the Polisario – heavily armed and supported by Algeria, the local hegemon and rival to Morocco –Mauritania retreated in 1979, and its claims were taken over by Morocco. Due to economic weakness, Mauritania has been a negligible player in the territorial dispute, with its official position being that it wishes for an expedient solution that is mutually agreeable to all parties. While most of the former Spanish or Western Sahara has been woven into Morocco, the UN still considers the Western Sahara a territory that needs to express its wishes with respect to statehood: a referendum is still supposed to be held sometimes in the future, under UN auspices, to determine whether or not the “saharaouis” wish to remain part of Morocco. The Moroccan authorities, on their part, wish the saharaouis to remain part of Morocco and therefore have made significant investments in the area.

Plan de la Baye et Isle d'Arguim

Friday, March 19, 2010


Cap-Vert is a peninsula in Senegal, and the westernmost part of the continent of Africa. Originally called Cabo Verde or "Cape Green" by Portuguese explorers, it is not to be confused with the Cape Verde islands, which are some 560 kilometres further west. Dakar, the capital of Senegal, is located near the southern tip.
Cap-Vert is a rocky promontory extending west from the main sandy areas of Senegal. Cap-Vert has an excellent harbor, facing Gorée Island.
Formed by a combination of volcanic offshore islands and a land bridge produced by coastal currents, it projects into the Atlantic Ocean, bending back to the southeast at its tip. Exposure to southwesterly winds contributes to Cape Verde's seasonal verdant appearance, in contrast to the undulating yellow dunes to the north.
The peninsula is shaped like a triangle , with the base of the triangle roughly along the north and its apex on the south, near Dakar. Near Pointe des Almadies, the north-western tip of the cape, lies Dakar's international airport, famous as a transatlantic ferrying point during World War II. Twin volcanic cones, the Deux Mamelles ("Two Teats"), dominate the landscape along the coast northwest of Dakar. The peninsula embraces a bay and a natural harbour in the southwest.
The indigenous inhabitants of the peninsula, the Lebou, lived as fishermen and farmers. Since about 1444, when the Portuguese first sighted the cape, it has been an entrepôt for African-European trade. The French later established the city of Dakar on the cape in 1857.

The Cape Verde archipelago is located approximately 604 kilometres off the coast of West Africa. It is composed of ten islands and eight islets. The islands have a combined size of just over 4,000 square kilometers.[11] The islands are divided into the Barlavento islands (Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, and Boa Vista) and the Sotavento islands .The largest island, both in size and population, is Santiago, where the capital of Praia is located.

Though Cape Verde's islands are all volcanic in origin, they vary widely in terrain. A still-active volcano on the island of Fogo is the highest point on the archipelago. Extensive salt flats are found on Sal and Maio. On Santiago, Santo Antão, and São Nicolau, arid slopes give way in places to sugarcane fields or banana plantations spread along the base of towering mountains.
Cape Verde’s climate is milder than that of the African mainland; because the island is surrounded by the sea, temperatures are generally moderate. Average daily high temperatures range from 25 °C in January to 29 °C in September. Cape Verde is part of the Sahelian arid belt, with nothing like the rainfall levels of nearby West Africa. It does rain irregularly between August and October, with frequent brief-but-heavy downpours. A desert is usually defined as terrain which receives less than 250 mm of annual rainfall. Cape Verde's total is slightly above this criterion, which makes the area climate semi-desert.
Cape Verde's isolation has resulted in the islands having a number of endemic species, particularly bird and reptiles, many of which are endangered by human development. Endemic birds include Alexander's Swift , Bourne's Heron , the Raso Lark , the Cape Verde Warbler , and the Iago Sparrow . The islands are also an important breeding area for seabirds including the Cape Verde Shearwater. Reptiles include the Cape Verde Giant Gecko.
The islands are geologically principally composed of igneous rocks, with basic volcanics and pyroclastics comprising the majority of the total volume. The volcanic and plutonic rocks are distinctly basic in character. The archipelago is an example of a soda-alkaline petrographic province, with a petrologic succession which is similar to that found in other Mid Atlantic islands. Mount Fogo is an active volcano which most recently erupted in 1995. Fogo’s caldera is 8 km in diameter, the rim is at an elevation of 1600 m with an interior cone rising to 2830 m from the crater's floor level. Calderas probably result from the subsidence, following the partial evacuation of the magma chamber, of a cylindrical block into the supplying magma chamber, in this case lying at a depth of some 8 km. The archipelago has been dated at approximately 180 million years old.
Hurricanes that form near the Cape Verde Islands are sometimes referred to as Cape Verde-type hurricanes. These hurricanes can become very intense as they cross warm Atlantic waters.

Carte des Isles du Cap Vert

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Goree Island

Île de Gorée is one of the 19 communes d'arrondissement of the city of Dakar, Senegal. It is a 0.182 square kilometres (45 acres) island located 2 kilometres (1.1 nmi; 1.2 mi) at sea from the main harbor of Dakar (14°40′0″N 17°24′0″W).
Its population as of 31 January 2005 official estimates is 1,056 inhabitants, giving a density of 5,802 inh. per km² (15,028 inh. per sq. mile), which is only half the average density of the city of Dakar. Gorée is both the smallest and the least populated of the 19 communes d'arrondissement of Dakar.
Gorée is famous as a destination for people interested in the Atlantic slave trade. In fact, however, relatively few slaves were processed or transported from there. The more important centers for the slave trade from Senegal were north, at Saint-Louis, Senegal or to the south in the Gambia, at the mouths of major rivers for trade.

Gorée is a small island 900 m in length and 350 m in width sheltered by the Cape Vert Peninsula. Now part of the city of Dakar, it was a minor port and site of European settlement along the coast. Being almost devoid of drinking water, the island was not settled before the arrival of Europeans. The Portuguese were the first to establish a presence on Gorée (c. 1450), where they built a small stone chapel and used land as a cemetery.
Gorée is known as the location of the House of Slaves (French: Maison des esclaves), built by an Afro-French Métis family about 1780–1784. The House of Slaves is one of the oldest houses on the island. It is now used as a tourist destination to show the horrors of the slave trade throughout the Atlantic world.
Gorée was actually relatively unimportant in the slave trade. The claim that the "house of slaves" was a slave-shipping point was refuted in 1959 by Raymond Mauny, who shortly afterward was appointed the first professor of African history at the Sorbonne.

Probably no more than a few hundred slaves a year departed from here for transportation to the Americas. They were more often incidental passengers on ships carrying other cargoes rather than transported on slave ships. After the decline of the slave trade from Senegal in the 1770s and 1780s, the town became an important port for the shipment of peanuts, peanut oil, gum arabic, ivory, and other products of the "legitimate" trade. It was probably in relation to this trade that the Maison des Esclaves was built.
The island of Gorée was one of the first places in Africa to be settled by Europeans, the Portuguese setting foot on the island in 1444. It was captured by the United Netherlands in 1588, then the Portuguese again, again the Dutch — who named it after the Dutch island of Goeree, and the British took it over under Robert Holmes in 1664.
After the French gained control in 1677, the island remained continuously French, with brief periods of British occupation during the various wars fought by France and Britain, until 1960, when Senegal was granted independence. The island was notably taken and occupied by the British between 1758 and 1763 following the Capture of Gorée and wider Capture of Senegal during the Seven Years War before being returned to France at the Treaty of Paris.
Gorée was principally a trading post, administratively attached to Saint-Louis, capital of the Colony of Senegal. Apart from slaves, beeswax, hides and grain were also traded. The population of the island fluctuated according to circumstances, from a few hundred free Africans and Creoles to about 1,500. There would have been few European residents at any one time.
In the 18th and 19th century, Gorée was home to a Franco-African Creole, or Métis, community of merchants with links to similar communities in Saint-Louis and the Gambia, and across the Atlantic to France's colonies in the Americas. Métis women, called signares from the Portuguese senhora, were especially important to the city’s business life. The signares owned ships and property and commanded male clerks. They were also famous for cultivating fashion and entertainment. One such signare, Anne Rossignol, lived in Saint-Domingue in the 1780s before the Haitian Revolution.

In February 1794 during the French Revolution, France was the first nation in the world to abolish slavery. The slave trade from Senegal stopped. However, in May 1802 Napoleon reestablished slavery after intense lobbying from sugar plantation owners of the Caribbean départements of France. The wife of Napoleon, Joséphine de Beauharnais, daughter of a rich plantation owner from Martinique, supported their position.
In March 1815, during his political comeback known as the Hundred Days, Napoleon definitively abolished the slave trade to build relations with Great Britain. (Scotland had never recognized slavery and England finally abolished the slave trade in 1807.) This time, abolition continued.
As the trade in slaves declined in the late eighteenth century, Gorée converted to legitimate commerce. The tiny city and port were ill situated for the shipment of industrial quantities of peanuts, which began arriving in bulk from the mainland. Consequently, its merchants established a presence directly on the mainland, first in Rufisque (1840) and then in Dakar (1857). Many of the established families started to leave the island.
Civic franchise for the citizens of Gorée was institutionalized in 1872, when it became a French “commune” with an elected mayor and a municipal council. Blaise Diagne, the first African deputy elected to the French National Assembly (served 1914 to 1934), was born on Gorée. From a peak of about 4,500 in 1845, the population fell to 1,500 in 1904. In 1940 Gorée was annexed to the municipality of Dakar.
Gorée is connected to the mainland by regular 30-minute ferry service, for pedestrians only; there are no cars on the island. It is Senegal’s premier tourist site and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. It now serves mostly as a memorial to the slave trade. Many of the historic commercial and residential buildings have been turned into restaurants and hotels.

Plan de l'Isle de Gore

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Angola, ; Kongo: , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean. The exclave province of Cabinda has a border with the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Angola was a Portuguese overseas territory from the 16th century to 1975. After independence, Angola was the scene of an intense civil war from 1975 to 2002. The country is the second-largest petroleum and diamond producer in sub-Saharan Africa; however, its life expectancy and infant mortality rates are both among the worst ranked in the world . In August 2006, a peace treaty was signed with a faction of the FLEC, a separatist guerrilla group from the Cabinda exclave in the North, which is still active.[4] About 65% of Angola's oil comes from that region.
The geographical areas now designated as Angola, first became subject to incursions by the Portuguese in the late 15th century. In 1483, when Portugal established relations with the Kongo State, Ndongo and Lunda existed. The Kongo State stretched from modern Gabon in the north to the Kwanza River in the south. Angola became a link in European trade with India and Southeast Asia. The Portuguese explorer Paulo Dias de Novais founded Luanda in 1575 as "São Paulo de Loanda", with a hundred families of settlers and four hundred soldiers.
Benguela, a Portuguese fort from 1587 which became a town in 1617, was another important early settlement they founded and ruled. The Portuguese would establish several settlements, forts and trading posts along the coastal strip of current-day Angola, which relied on slave trade, commerce in raw materials, and exchange of goods for survival. The African slave trade provided a large number of black slaves to Europeans and their African agents. For example, in what is now Angola, the Imbangala economy was heavily focused on the slave trade.
European traders would export manufactured goods to the coast of Africa where they would be exchanged for slaves. Within the Portuguese Empire, most black African slaves were traded to Portuguese merchants who bought them to sell as cheap labour for use on Brazilian agricultural plantations. This trade would last until the first half of the 1800s.

The Portuguese gradually took control of the coastal strip during the sixteenth century by a series of treaties and wars forming the Portuguese colony of Angola. Taking advantage of the Portuguese Restoration War, the Dutch occupied Luanda from 1641 to 1648, where they allied with local peoples, consolidating their colonial rule against the remaining Portuguese resistance.
In 1648, a fleet under the command of Salvador de Sá retook Luanda for Portugal and initiated a conquest of the lost territories, which restored Portugal to its former possessions by 1650. Treaties regulated relations with Congo in 1649 and Njinga's Kingdom of Matamba and Ndongo in 1656. The conquest of Pungo Andongo in 1671 was the last great Portuguese expansion, as attempts to invade Congo in 1670 and Matamba in 1681 failed. Portugal expanded its territory behind the colony of Benguela in the eighteenth century, and began the attempt to occupy other regions in the mid-nineteenth century.
The process resulted in few gains until the 1880s. Development of the hinterland began after the Berlin Conference in 1885 fixed the colony's borders, and British and Portuguese investment fostered mining, railways, and agriculture. Full Portuguese administrative control of the hinterland did not occur until the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1951, the colony was designated as an overseas province, called Overseas Province of Angola. Portugal had a presence in Angola for nearly five hundred years, and the population's initial reaction to calls for independence was mixed. More overtly political organisations first appeared in the 1950s, and began to make organised demands for their rights, especially in international forums such as the Non-Aligned Movement.
The Portuguese regime, meanwhile, refused to accede to the nationalists' demands of separatism, provoking an armed conflict that started in 1961 when black guerrillas attacked both white and black civilians in cross-border operations in northeastern Angola. The war came to be known as the Colonial War. In this struggle, the principal protagonists were the MPLA , founded in 1956, the FNLA , which appeared in 1961, and UNITA , founded in 1966. After many years of conflict, Angola gained its independence on 11 November 1975, after the 1974 coup d'état in the metropole's capital city of Lisbon which overthrew the Portuguese regime headed by Marcelo Caetano.
Portugal's new revolutionary leaders began a process of democratic change at home and acceptance of its former colonies' independence abroad. These events prompted a mass exodus of Portuguese citizens from Portugal's African territories , creating over a million destitute Portuguese refugees — the retornados.
At 481,321 square miles , Angola is the world's twenty-third largest country . It is comparable in size to Mali and is nearly twice the size of the US state of Texas, or five times the area of the United Kingdom.
Angola is bordered by Namibia to the south, Zambia to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north-east, and the South Atlantic Ocean to the west. The exclave of Cabinda also borders the Republic of the Congo to the north. Angola's capital, Luanda, lies on the Atlantic coast in the north-west of the country. Angola's average temperature on the coast is 60 °F in the winter and 70 °F in the summer.