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There are 16 countries that make up West Africa. They are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.


Great Britain and France were the major European countries to colonize West Africa. Most countries in the region have English or French as their national language.


Liberia is the only country to remain independent during the colonial era. Ghana was the first to gain independence in 1957, and all countries in the region had independence by 1974.



Since gaining independence, many countries in West Africa were ruled by corrupt governments led by military dictators. In recent years, most of these nations are trying a democratic form of governance, but corruption still exists.



Islam and Christianity are the major religions in West Africa. Soccer is the most popular sport.



Many slaves in the trans-Atlantic slave trade were captured from West Africa. Large populations of these descendants live in the United States, Brazil, the Caribbean and other parts of Latin America.