Is Egypt in Africa or Asia? On Sporcle, we consider it to be part of Africa, but technically, it can be both. Here’s why.
Is Egypt in Africa or Asia?
Officially known as the Arab Republic of Egypt, Egypt spans from the northwest corner of Africa to the southwest corner of Asia. Given this geographical location, Egypt is considered a transcontinental country: a country that has part of its landmass located in two different continents.
Formally, the Suez Canal (which runs through Egypt) is the dividing line between Asia and Africa. This body of water, also known as “The Highway to India,” is a manmade waterway, which connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. It was constructed to allow transportation of goods between Europe and Asia, without having to navigate around Africa.
While it appears as if this answers the continental question, the issue lies in that Egypt is not completely located on one side of the canal or the other. There is a small part of the country, known as the Sinai Peninsula, which lies on the side of the canal that is formally known as Asia. The majority of the country is on the other side, in Africa, with a land bridge connecting the mainland of Egypt to the Sinai Peninsula.
By Landmass and Politics
Many claim Egypt is in Africa because this is where the majority of the country’s landmass lies. The Sinai Peninsula has a land area of only about 60,000 square kilometers, while Egypt is nearly one million square kilometers in area.
In addition, Egypt is part of African groups and organizations, including the African Collaboration League. The country is not a part of any Asian organizations or groups.
Politically, the country is based on a republicanism system, similar to that of many countries in Africa, and in contrast to that of the Islamic governing laws in many of the countries in the Middle East.
Things are a little different however if you look at it from a religious and historical perspective. Ancient Egyptian religion was a complex system of polytheistic rituals and beliefs, many of which were deeply rooted in African thought and practices. Many Egyptian artifacts are similar to those considered African artifacts, and the art history of Egypt shows pieces very similar to those found in other areas of Africa.
Today, Egypt is considered an Arab country, and has an active practicing Islam population. For many, this indicates Egypt is more accurately a part of the Middle East, falling in with its Asian neighbors across the canal.
So, is Egypt in Africa or Asia? Like many countries experiencing geographical uncertainty, Egypt may be in a different continent according to different people. Depending on whether you choose to analyze it by landmass, religious following, or political tendencies, most point to Africa as the continent housing Egypt. But if you are really against it, there is indeed a small piece that sits in Asia. And we can’t deny that that bit is Asian!
Mark Heald is an Associate Product Manager and Sporcle Admin. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and bemoaning the fact the Sonics left Seattle.