Africa is, compared to the Americas as a whole, the second largest continent in the world. The Suez canal, which was artificially excavated by man, separates it from Asia and the Mediterranean Sea from Europe. It is surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. From a historical point of view, Africa has always been separated from the north by the Sahara, which was occupied first by the Romans, then the Arabs and then the Turks, and that which extends south of the great desert, was object to the "Scramble for Africa" in the 19th century. Most of the nations that populate the continent became independent after the Second World War. Currently, Africa is the fastest growing continent in terms of population, but also have the most serious problems with poverty and underdevelopment.