The coast of this area of Africa is on the south Atlantic Ocean, much of it trending east-west. Portions of this coast were once known as the Grain Coast, the Gold Coast, and the Ivory Coast.
Nations in this area (with the former colonial powers that controlled them), bordering the Atlantic, from northwest to southeast are:
Interior countries include:
Colonial boundaries as reflected in the modern boundaries between contemporary West African nations, cut across ethnic and cultural lines, often dividing single ethnic groups between two or more countries.
Historically, the area was home to several major African empires, including: