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The Sahara is the world's largest desert, over 3,500,000 sq mi (9,065,000 sq km), located in northern Africa and is 2.5 million years old. The whole land area of United States of America fits inside it. Its name is derived from the Arabic Sahhra, meaning desert. Which was derived from the Sumerian term 'sahar'. sahar: silt, dust, sand, earth, mud, loam; rubbish; sediment (cf., kuš7) (sa5, 'red-brown', + hara, 'crushed, pulverized').

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 Natural Resources
3 History
4 See also
5 External links
6 References


The boundaries of the Sahara are the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the Atlas Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea on the north, the Red Sea and Egypt on the east, and the Sudan and the valley of the Niger River on the south. Sahara is divided into western Sahara, the central Ahaggar Mountains, the Tibesti massif (a region of desert mountains and high plateaus), and the Libyan desert (the most arid region).

The Sahara divides the continent into North and Sub-Saharan Africa. These two regions are culturally and climatically distinct. The southern border of the Sahara is marked by a band of semiarid savanna called the Sahel; south of the Sahel lies the lusher Sudan.

Humans have lived on the edge of the desert for almost 500,000 years. During the last Ice Age, the Sahara was a much wetter place, much like East Africa, than it is today. Over 30,000 Petroglyphs of river animals such as crocodiles survive in total with half found in Tissil Algeria. Fossils of dinosaurs have also been found here. The modern Sahara, though, is generally devoid of vegetation, except in the Nile Valley and at a few oases and in some scattered mountain ranges and has been this way since about 3000 b.c.e.

2.5 million people live in Sahara, most of these in Mauritania, Morocco and Algeria. Dominant groups of people are Sahrawis, Tuareg and Negroids. The largest city is Nouakchott, Mauritania's capital. Other important cities are Tamanrasset, Algeria and Ghat, Libya.

Natural Resources

There are large deposits of oil and gas in Algeria and Libya and phosphates in Morocco and Western Sahara.


Bubalus Period, (35,000 - 8,000 BCE), remains show artistic stone engravings petroglyphs and pictographs made of pigment mixed with milk of animals that became extinct in the area, including the buffalo (Bubalus antiquus), elephant, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus. This is mainly found in the southeaster area of modern Algeria, Chad and Libya. Men are armed with clubs, throwing sticks, axes and bows, but never spears. The men are often wearing round helmets (10,000 b.c.e - 8,000 b.c.e).

Cattle Period, (7,500 - 4,000 BCE), beginning of a pastoral economy, domesticated cattle, sheep and goats, and the discovery of pottery making. Manufacture of polished stone axes, grindstones and arrowheads, and the predominant use of bow and arrows for hunting. Domesticated animals are Asian imports. The later era shows the origins of villages supporting large populations and cattle herding.

Imazighen Period, (3,000 - 700 BCE), The early period shows the importation of horses, camels and milking cows and large scale agriculture. The use and forging of Iron came about from trade with the Phoenicians (c 1220 BCE). They created a confederation of kingdoms across the entire Sahara to Egypt, generally settling on the coasts but settled in the desert also.

Carthage, (ca 700 BCE)

Rome, (ca 200 BCE)

Vandals (ca 429 CE)

Roman Reconquest, (ca 532 CE)

Arab Conquest, (ca 647 CE)

European Conquest of Ottomans, (ca 1500 CE)

See also

External links