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At the end of the Ice ages, estimated to have been around 10,500 BC, the Sahara had again become a green fertile valley, and its African populations returned from the interior and coastal highlands in Sub-Saharan Africa, with rock art paintings depicting a fertile Sahara and large populations discovered in Tassili n'Ajjer dating back perhaps 10 millennia.
However, the warming and drying climate meant that by 5000 BC, the Sahara region was becoming increasingly dry and hostile.
This climate change caused lakes and rivers to shrink significantly and caused increasing desertification.
This, in turn, decreased the amount of land conducive to settlements and helped to cause migrations of farming communities to the more tropical climate of West Africa.
A major climatic recession occurred, lessening the heavy and persistent rains in Central and Eastern Africa.
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 majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.Africa's average population is the youngest amongst all the continents; Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is its largest by population. ergaster—with the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) found in Ethiopia being dated to circa 200,000 years ago.African nations cooperate through the establishment of the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.The Latin suffix -ica can sometimes be used to denote a land (e.g., in Celtica from Celtae, as used by Julius Caesar).