The world is divided into four hemispheres based on lines of latitude and longitude.
The Equator Divides the Northern and Southern Hemispheres
The equator is an imaginary line that is equidistant from the North and South Poles. This line falls at zero degrees latitude.
The part of the Earth that is north of the equator is known as the Northern Hemisphere. The part of the Earth that is south of the equator is known as the Southern Hemisphere.
Prime Meridian Divides the Eastern and Western Hemispheres
The Western and Eastern Hemisphere are divided by zero degrees longitude which is known as the Prime Meridian.
The Western Hemisphere occupies the geographic space west of the prime meridian and east of the antemeridian which lies at 180 degrees longitude.
The Eastern Hemisphere is found east of the Prime Meridian and west of the antemeridian.
The Only Continent That Can Be Found in All Four Hemispheres
While several of the world’s continents are traversed by the separation between two hemispheres, there is only one continent in the world that lies in all four hemispheres: Africa.
This geography fact also means that Africa is the only continent to have land both at the Equator and the Prime Meridian.
These two maps show how the continent of Africa lies in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and the Western and Eastern Hemispheres.
Map of Africa and the Northern and Southern Hemispheres
How many African countries does the Equator pass through?
The Equator passed through a total of seven countries in Africa. Starting from the west to east these countries are: the island country of São Tomé and Príncipe, Gabon, Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia.
Map of Africa and the Western and Eastern Hemispheres
How many African countries does the Prime Meridian pass through?
The Prime Meridian crosses through five African countries. Starting from north to south, these countries are: Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Tongo, and Ghana.