How much do you know about the region of West Africa? Test your knowledge with these tidbits from CultureGrams:
1. The biggest country in West Africa, this nation is roughly three times the size of California.
2. What is the term for the people who were the traditional storytellers and orators of West Africa?
3. This nation was brought into existence by freed U.S. slaves in the early 19th century; it became the first independent republic in Africa.
4. Which West African country is the most populous country in Africa and the eighth most populous in the world?
5. This country’s presidential elections have been repeatedly delayed since 2005.
6. Portuguese explorers first called this country by the Portuguese term for “Lion Range” because of the roar of waves crashing into the steep, peninsular mountains.
7. What city, located in present-day Mali, was a center for trans-Saharan trade and Islamic learning over one thousand years ago?
8. Though there are hundreds of languages spoken within West Africa, which language is the official language of half of the West African countries?
9. Cachupa, a stew made of corn, manioc (cassava), and meat or fish, is the national dish of which country?
10. What is the dominant religion in West Africa?
Did You Know?
In Benin, and in other West African countries, it is disrespectful to call older people by their first names. Instead, one uses familial terms such as “brother” or “sister.”
Although on the decline, traditional facial scarring is practiced by some tribes in Burkina Faso to distinguish between ethnic groups.
In The Gambia, eating and drinking at the same time is not acceptable, so drinks are served after the meal.
Mauritania was the last country in the Sahara region to abolish slavery. (It did so in 1980.)
The flag of Guinea uses the same colors as many other African flags: red represents the blood of martyrs who died fighting for independence, yellow symbolizes gold and the sun, and green represents the land and prosperity.
Answers: 1) Niger. 2) Griots. 3) Liberia. 4) Nigeria. 5) Ivory Coast. 6) Sierra Leone. 7) Timbuktu. 8) French. 9) Cape Verde. 10) Islam.