northern gulf lands
AFRICA LOCATION Africa lies between the latitudes of 38° N. and 35° S., and is of all the continents the most truly tropical. It is, strictly speaking, an enormous peninsula attached to Asia by the isthmus of Suez. The most northern point is the Cape, situated a little to the west of Cabo Blanco, and opposite Sicily, which lies in lat. 37° 20' 40" N., long. 9° 41' E. Its southernmost point is Cabo d'Agulhas, in 34° 49' 15" S.; the distance between these two points being 4330 geographical, or about 5000 English miles. The westernmost point is Cabo Verde, in long. 17° 33' W., its easternmost Cape Jerdaffun, in long. 51° 21' E., lat. 10° 25' N., the distance between the two points being about the same as its length. The western coasts are washed by the Atlantic, the northern by the Mediterranean, and the eastern by the Indian Ocean.
The form has been likened to a triangle, or to an oval, but such a comparison is scarcely warranted, it being of an irregular shape, the northern half rounding off, the southern one contracting and terminating in a point.
The superficial extent of Africa has never been accurately determined, but may be taken at 9,858,000 geographical square miles, exclusive of the islands. It is larger than either Europe or Australia, but smaller than Asia and the New World.
The coast line of Africa is very regular and unbroken, presenting few bays and peninsulas. The chief indentation is formed by the Gulf of Guinea, with its two secondary divisions, the Bight of Benin and the Bight of Biafra. On the northern coast, the Gulf of Sidra and the Gulf of Babes must be mentioned, and on the eastern coast the Gulf of Arabia.
The physical configuration may be considered under two heads, the great lower-lands and plains of Northern Africa, and the great table-lands, with their mountain ranges and groups, of Central and Southern Africa. The great northern lower-land comprises the Sahara, the Lake Chad region, and the valley of the Lowor Nile. The Sahara is by no means a plain throughout, but for the greater part it rises into table-lands, interspersed with mountain groups of 6000 feet elevation, and probably more, and the term lower-lands can only be applied to it in a general way, to distinguish it from the more elevated region to the south.
The Sahara has often been pictured as a monotonous and immense expanse of sand ; but nothing could be more erroneous, as the greatest variety exists in the physical configuration of its surface, as well as in its geological features. Our knowledge is as yet too scanty to enable us to trace its features in every part. On the north, this great' desert is fringed with extensive table-lands, which in sonic places rise abruptly from the Mediterranean, as the great plateau of Barbary, extending through Marocco, Algeria, and Tunis, and the table-land of Barca, elevated 1500 feet, and gradually descending towards the Delta of the Nile, This elevated ground is succeeded to the south by a depressed region, which extends from the Great Syrtis or Gulf of Sidra, in a general direction as far as Middle Egypt, and comprises the oases of Augila and Siwah. So greatly depressed is this region, that the level of the oasis of Siwah is 100 feet, and in one place (Bahrein) even 167 feet below the level of the sea. The western portions of this country, between the oases of Augila and Siwah, explored in