From colonial cartographers to digital depictions the continent is being sold short, says Think Africa Press. About halfway through Jonathan Swift's boisterously witty epic poem On Poetry: A Rhapsody , the 18th century Anglo-Irish satirist briefly turns his attention to maps of Africa, writing:. So geographers, in Afric maps, With savage pictures fill their gaps, And o'er uninhabitable downs Place elephants for want of towns. In Swift's time, European explorers had only skirted around the coastal edges of Africa and its interior remained, to all intents and purposes, a mystery. But as the poet pointed out, rather than just leave the middle of the continent blank, mapmakers would instead "fill their gaps" with things they thought might reside in such exotic corners of the world, such as strange monkeys, roaming lions, and "elephants for want of towns. These elephants were largely marched off maps of Africa in the 19th century as expeditions by the likes of David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley provided more information to Europeans about the continent's geography.
Map of Africa - Countries of Africa - Nations Online Project
The earliest obtainable map of the whole continent of Africa. By soliciting descriptions and maps from German scholars and foreigners, he was able over time to include up-to-date information in the various editions of his atlases, becoming the most influential cartographer of the midth century. The Niger River begins and ends in lakes. The source of the Nile lies in two lakes fed by waters from the fabled Mountains of the Moon, graphically presented as small brown mounds. Few coastal towns are noted, and there is no Madagascar yet.