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However, most present states in Africa originate from a process of decolonisation in the 20th century.
African nations have attempted to cooperate through the establishment of the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.
Since this time, dry conditions have prevailed in Eastern Africa and, increasingly during the last 200 years, in Ethiopia.
The later Muslim kingdom of Ifriqiya, located in modern-day Tunisia, also preserved a form of the name.
It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition.
The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos.
As Europeans came to understand the real extent of the continent, the idea of "Africa" expanded with their knowledge.