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Is Africa European? [Analyzing the Africa-Europe Connection]

Africa and Europe

Africa is the second-largest continent both by landmass and population after Asia. In the past, Africa has established several contacts with different civilizations from Asia to Europe and to the Americas which has significantly affected Africa’s societal composition. 

Is Africa an European Country?

Although Africa had had contacts with Europeans during the days of slavery and colonial rule, it is not a European country. Interestingly, some European territories are located in mainland Africa. Melilla and Cruella are located in Africa and are only separated by Morocco by a wire mesh fence. 

Also, there is a significant white population in African countries such as South Africa.

To understand the relationship between Africa and Europe we need to go back to history a little bit. 

1. The first African Contact with Europe

The Duyfken off Australia, 1606 The Duyfken off Australia, 1606
The Portuguese sailed across Africa in the 15th Century 

The Portuguese are believed to be the first set of Europeans to establish contacts with Africa from the 15th century. The Portuguese sailed across the coasts of Africa in a bid to fight off Islam and find sea access to the Indies. They arrived at Angola in 1482 and sailed around the continent. Although this first Portuguese journey into Africa was not successful, it marked the beginning of European contact with Africa. 

A few years later the Portuguese faced new challenges. With the growing resistance by Africans and the rise of the British empire, the Portuguese power diminished massively.

2. The Dutch

After the Portuguese era of influence came the Dutch, who settled in Southern Africa in the Cape of Good Hope in the early 17th century. The Dutch however did not have much influence on the rest of Africa but ushered in the slavery regime in Africa. 

3. The British and French Rule

The British and French arrived in Africa in the early 18th century. Britain established colonies in most Western African regions. They did this through a concept known as indirect rule. When the British came, most of Western Africa was not organized.

The highest level of organization was empires and kingdoms, with the Benin empire having vast influences in the region. However, the British rule organized these kingdoms and empires into colonies which are today organized countries. 

Is Africa in the European Union?

According to the European Union membership treaty, the criteria for admission as a member into the European Union is that the country must be a European state that respects the general EU shared values and have the willingness to keep and promote them. To this end, Africa is not in the European Union. 

The Copenhagen criteria which were set out at the Copenhagen summit of 1993 provide the economic and political conditions for membership into the European Union. 

Is Africa near Europe

Africa and Europe are near each other. It will take less than 10 minutes to travel from Morocco to the Italian city of Cruella. The average travel distance to mainland Spain from Morocco is about 1000km, and will take an travel time of about 2 hrs by Air.

From Morocco to Madrid Spain is about about 1000km.
From Morocco to Madrid Spain is about about 1000km.

Will Europe become Africa?

It is believed that Africa and Europe will someday meet at the Strait of Gibraltar, which will pave way for an African connection to mainland Europe by land. In the event such a thing happened, the line that separate both continents will become even blurred. In the past, the Mediterranean was said to have evaporated but was filled up again during a great flood that occurred 5.3 million years ago.

Is South Africa an European Country?

Although South Africa has a significant White population, the number is too small for it to be considered a western country. 

However, South Africa has been heavily influenced by European ways of life due to years of Apartheid, no wonder South Africa has become a hotbed of western liberal policies.

Is South Africa in the European Union?

South Africa is not a member of the European Union, it is however a highly influential member of the African Union. According to the European Union membership treaty, the criteria for admission as a member into the European Union is that the country must be a European state that respects the general EU shared values and possess the willingness to keep and promote them. 

The Copenhagen criteria which were set out at the Copenhagen summit of 1993 provide the economic and political conditions for membership into the European Union.

Is North Africa part of the EU?

Although Northern African countries have strong economic and trade relations with much of Europe, they are not part of the European Union. Although Morocco left the Africa Union in 1984 due to the controversy surrounding the Western Sahara region, it did not join the EU and has since returned to the African Union on 31st January 2017. 

It is important to note that some European administered territories and cities such and Cuella, Melila, and Gibraltar are located in North Africa

Is Africa, Europe, and Asia connected? 

The connection points between Africa, Asia
The connection points between Africa, Asia

The term used to explain the connections between Africa, Europe, and Asia is known as Afro-Eurasia. The Afro-Eurasia comprises a large intercontinental landmass of about a 32million km2, it is the most populous landmass on Earth. The connection points between Africa, Europe, and Asia are in the following geographic points:

  • East point – Cape Dezhnev, Russia
  • North point – Cape Chelyuskin, Russia
  • South point – Cape Agulhas, South Africa
  • West point – Cap-Vert Senegal
  • Suez Canal – Egypt 
  • Gibraltar Island – Morocco
The 180th Meridian also crosses both Africa, Asia and Europe.
The 180th Meridian (Red Line) also crosses both Africa, Asia and Europe.

Apart from Geographic connections, the three continents are connected by religious (Christianity, and Islam) groups of Asian origins. Another area of shared connection is trade, diplomacy, health, education, security, and politics. 

Is Africa and Europe connected? 

A map showing the connections between Africa and Europe

Africa and Europe are connected by both land and Sea. The Mediterranean Sea is the major connection point between Africa and Europe.

Author Profile

John Aina has a Masters degree as an engineer and has over 3 years of teaching and research experience. John is happiest when he is on a bike and is also interested in Solar technology.
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    Is Africa European? [Analyzing the Africa-Europe Connection]

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