Other territories (3)
North Africa, or Northern Africa, is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal in the east.
The most common definition for the region's boundaries includes Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Western Sahara, the territory disputed between Morocco and the partially recognized Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. The United Nations' definition includes all these countries as well as the Sudan. The African Union defines the region similarly, only differing from the UN in excluding the Sudan. The Sahel, south of the Sahara Desert, can be considered as the southern boundary of North Africa. North Africa includes the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla, and the plazas de soberanía. It can also be considered to include Malta, as well as other British, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish regions such as Gibraltar, Lampedusa and Lampione, the Azores and Madeira, and the Canary Islands, which are all closer or as close to the African continent than Europe.
Northwest Africa has been inhabited by Berbers since the beginning of recorded history, while the eastern part of North Africa has been home to the Egyptians. In the seventh and eighth centuries, Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula swept across the region during the early Muslim conquests. The Arab migrations to the Maghreb began immediately after, shifting the demographic scope of North Africa in favor of the Arabs. Many but not all Berbers and Egyptians gradually merged into Arab-Islamic culture. These processes of Arabization and Islamization has defined the cultural landscape of North Africa ever since.
The countries of North Africa share a large amount of their genetic, ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity and influence with the Middle East, a process that began with the Neolithic Revolution c. 10,000 BC and pre Dynastic Egypt. The countries of North Africa are also a major part of the Arab world. The Islamic influence in North Africa is significant, with the region being major part of the Muslim world. North Africa is associated with the Middle East in the realm of geopolitics to form the Middle East-North Africa region.