Is Africa a Country or Continent?

(Last Updated On: July 13, 2018)

Is Africa a Country or Continent

Is Africa a Country or Continent- The Short Version

Africa is not a country.

Africa is a continent.

Is Africa a Country or Continent – The Longer Version

A few years ago, there was a bit of a confusing rumor going around which started in America, courtesy of Sarah Palin, claiming that Africa was a country.  This novel bit of information, news to many, and questionable to most, circled its way around the fields of the curious and the educated, and started making many people question whether Africa was indeed a continent like we had been taught. If you are confused as well, let’s go back to understanding the definition of a continent to help clear things up.

Governmental Systems

In order for a place to be considered a country, it must have its own government, and be occupying a particular, defined piece of land.  When it comes to Africa, and the land mass that defines it, while it may be very specific, it does not have one specific governmental system.  Indeed, several different administrative councils govern Africa, each with their own laws, systems, and procedures.  This means it is not a country, and offers evidence towards Africa actually being a continent.

Expanse of Land

A continent is defined as “a large, continuous expanse of land,” that is ideally separated by water.  Looking at the area on a map that is defined as Africa, this is exactly what you see: the Indian Ocean surrounds a large land mass.  This land mass is Africa, and by these words, does indeed meet the criteria of what defines a continent.  In terms of geography, a country may meet these same criteria, but it is differentiated from a continent in that a continent does not have political, cultural or military-related boundaries.

Independent Nations

Perhaps the most telling piece of evidence to support Africa as a continent is the fact that within the region defined as Africa, there are 54 fully recognized, independent countries.  Each of these has their own military, government and social systems, and each is functioning independently. And no, there is no known country of Wakanda

With a better understanding of the definition of a country versus a continent, as well as a visual interpretation of Africa, hopefully this allows you to understand why Africa is considered a continent and not a country. Even if Sarah Palin tries to claim otherwise!

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