The continent of Africa has a rich and fascinating history. It is thought that the first human beings originated in Africa and some of the world's greatest civilizations emerged here, such as Ancient Egypt and the Kingdoms of Mali and Ghana.
From the 15th to 19th century, the transatlantic slave trade devastated West Africa as millions of men, women and children were transported and sold as slaves in Brazil, the Caribbean and the USA.
During the late 19th century, European countries began to occupy and colonise most of the continent, missionaries began to spread Christianity and western education and infrastructure developed in many parts of the continent. European countries often exploited Africa's natural resources, at great cost to the people of Africa.
After the end of World War II in 1945, many European powers were weakened and independence movements in Africa grew. Today there are 53 independent countries in Africa, including the islands off the coast.
- What images of Africa do you have in your head? Where do these images come from?
- What do you know about Africa? Where does your information come from?
- Have you seen any recent news stories from Africa? What were the stories, and what issues did they highlight?
- Have you ever seen a film set in Africa? If so, what was it about? If not, why do you think this is?
- How many of the 53 countries in Africa do you think you could name?