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Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent.
It contains 54 fully recognized sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition.
Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria by population. ergaster – with the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) found in Ethiopia being dated to circa 200,000 years ago.
Africa, particularly central Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors, as well as later ones that have been dated to around seven million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages.
In the late 19th century European countries colonized most of Africa.
Most present states in Africa originate from a process of decolonization in the 20th century.