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  • North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes seven countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia. Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and often Mauritania and Western Sahara are the Maghreb, while Egypt and Sudan comprise the Nile Valley. Egypt is a transcontinental country because of the Sinai Peninsula, which geographically lies in West Asia. North Africa also includes a number of Spanish possessions. The Canary Islands and the Portuguese Madeira Islands, in the North Atlantic Ocean northwest of the African mainland, are sometimes included in considerations of the region. The distinction between North Africa and much of Sub-Saharan Africa is historically and ecologically significant because of the effective barrier created by the Sahara Desert for much of modern history. From 3500 BCE, following the abrupt desertification of the Sahara due to gradual changes in the Earth's orbit, this barrier has culturally separated the North from the rest of the continent.

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