It contains 54 fully recognized sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition.
The Latin suffix -ica can sometimes be used to denote a land (e.g., in Celtica from Celtae, as used by Julius Caesar).
The later Muslim kingdom of Ifriqiya, modern-day Tunisia, also preserved a form of the name.
According to the Romans, Africa lay to the west of Egypt, while "Asia" was used to refer to Anatolia and lands to the east.
A definite line was drawn between the two continents by the geographer Ptolemy (85–165 AD), indicating Alexandria along the Prime Meridian and making the isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea the boundary between Asia and Africa.
Africa also varies greatly with regard to environments, economics, historical ties and government systems.