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Early Africana

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Africa Exploration

Africa Maps

Africa Books

Africa Journals

Vintage Maps & Books of Africa 1500 ~ 1920

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Short history of mapping Africa

unknown Africa

the view of African map making in 1895 (du Toit, 'Rhodesia Past and Present')

dark Africa

The continent of Africa was for a long time kept safe from exploration by the mistaken belief of early Greece, India and China until the 17th century, that the earth was flat, encircled by a river called 'Okeanos' (= Ocean), a shared belief confirmed by Roman historian Tacitus (58-117AD), referring to the earth's edges as 'flat' and the ocean beyond Scandinavia as 'the end of the earth', where 'the sun does not fully set'. Galileo did not argue against the church, but against scientists who held to the ancient Greek beliefs that the earth was the centre of the universe. Muslim slave traders for a 1000 years on the East African coast believed the world to be 'flat like a carpet', as per Koranic teachings. This was not unlike the yet later American Indian's logic as recorded in Marcy's 1859 'Praire Traveler', that 'if the prairies and oceans be flat, so must the world be'.

Flat Earth

While none of these peoples were hindered by Biblical knowledge that the world was round (the Bible frequently mentions the 'stretching out of the heavens' as in: 'around the world', and 'God sits above the vault (circle) of the earth', eg. Job9:8, 22:14, 26:7,10, 36:29, 37:18, 2Sam22:10, Neh9:6, Ps18:9, 104:2, 144:5, Prov8:27, Isaiah36:11, 40:22, 42:5, 44:24, 45:12, 45:12, 48:13, 51:13,Jer 10:12, 51:15, Ez 1:22, Zech12:1), ancient pre-Arab Egyptians appear in 455BC to have successfully rounded the African Cape according to Herodotus (484-425BC), ref. p4 in Stigand's 'the Land Of Zinj'. In a comparable way, the ocean currents were discovered in the 19th century by US Commodore Matthew Maury, who had read about the 'paths of the seas' in Psalm 8 of the Bible. The rounding of the Cape, however, was disputed as 'impossible' by Greek mathematician / historian Ptolemy (100 - 168AD), who reasoned that Africa and Asia were connected, a general belief seen in early world maps which lasted until the Portuguese rounding of the Cape in 1488. That Europeans knew the world was round is also shown in the first complete map of the world with America as separate continent, the Waldseemuller map of 1507.

Early maps of Africa's unknown interior parts also show a strong influence by Ptolemy until well past the 17th century, who claimed in antiquity that the Nile river originated near the Mountains of the Moon (thought to be the Ruwenzori Mountains) in the vicinity of two lakes, which the first maps of Africa by Juan de la Cosa and Juan Vespucci reflect. While the odd Pygmy and giraffe from central Africa were somehow brought to the Romans as curiosities and source of wonder, their origins remained a mystery as shown by the many animal cartouches on early maps of Africa, of which the coast was first charted by Portuguese sailors Dias and da Gama, but whose interior did not lightly give up its secrets.

Unknown Interior

As with the Americas, in the search by Europeans for a passage to India and China, Africa also was an obstacle to finding the passage to India for the entire 16th century, before explorers became interested in looking for access to the unknown African interior itself.

Beginning with Mercator, the late 16th century maps started venturing more into the interior, showing the region of Monomotapa (near the Zambezi), thought to be the source of Solomon's mines. Scotsman Mungo Park was one of the first Westerners to explore inland Africa in 1795. He discovered that the Niger river was not connected to the Congo as he thought (nor to the Nile). He was robbed by the Africans, and tortured mercilessly by the Arabs, but survived. He was killed on his second trip in 1805. In 1821 Scotsmen Hugh Clapperton and Englishman Richard Denham were charged to find business opportunities and traveled to lake Chad hoping to find the source of Africa's big rivers. They were not only disappointed, but robbed bare. On the next trip in 1826, with young Cornish explorer Richard Landon, Clapperton died of dysentery. Lander and his younger brother John returned in 1830, and despite being robbed and held for ransom by a local chief, escaped onto a British ship on the coast, and confirmed the Niger's course into the gulf of Guinea. Englishmen polyglot Richard Burton and officer Hanning Speke's Nile exploration in 1859, after much sickness, being held by fierce interior tribes, and paying various ransoms, established Lake Victoria as likely source of the Nile. Scotsman David Livingstone, in an attempt to open Africa for business opportunities, was the first to traverse Africa east to west along the Zambezi to the Angolan coast and back. He returned in 1866 to confirm the exact source of the Nile, thought it might be the Lualaba, but was struck by disease and died in Ujiji in 1873, a virtual captive to Arab slave traders in central Africa (who saw the Christian's release as a threat to their lucrative slave trade). Welch-American Morton Stanley, after having located 'Mr. Livingstone, I presume', ventured to confirm the exact source of the Nile, and followed the Lualaba, to confirm the course of the Congo river instead, having been confronted by at least seven man-eating tribes along the river, suffering much deprivation including the loss more than half his crew of 288 men, and being rescued by the Portuguese near the coast in 1877. The muslim Arabs of North Africa, after their expulsion from Spain, proceeded over three centuries to kidnap well over a million white slaves from Europe's coastlands, as described in 'Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters' by Davis. The muslim Arabs of southern Arabia ventured deep into Africa's interior to buy and transport black slaves to sell to Arabia (women) and China (men as eunuchs), well into the 20th century, along ill-trodden, skeleton-lined paths. But not until after a thousand years of slave trade, and four centuries of exploration since the first recorded rounding of the cape in 1488 by Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias, did Africa's unknown interior finally give up its last secrets to the world.

Color map of 500 years of Africa's interior exploration routes

One can say Africa came full circle with the conference of Berlin in 1884, where Christianized nations agreed spheres of influence and sought to 'terminate slavery by black and Islamic powers in Africa' and its recrudescence, which took another century as below books, articles and journals affirm. (Islam continues to this day a form of the practice by forced payments of tributes by native non-muslims). By developing the continent, the colonial powers eventually brought it into the age of flight, independence, and satelite technology to where we can now view every detail of Africa from space.

Africa by Satelite

Vintage Maps of Africa

Ptolemy's 150AD constructed world map, Africa and Asia connected, Hi-Res

1500 Africa - Juan de la Cosa, after da Gama, Lo-Res

1500 Africa - Detail Juan de la Cosa, Niger & Nile connected

1507 Africa - Waldseemuller Carta Marina, Lo Res

1554 Africa - Munster, Hi Res

1573 Africa Domingos Teixeira

1582 Africa Tertia Pars Terrae - Heinrich Bunting

1584 Africa Tabula Noua - Ortelius,Hi-Res

1595 Africa Gerard Mercator Ex magna Orbis, Hi-Res

1603 Africa - Ionnis presbyteri - Ortelius, Hi-Res

1606 Africa - Jodocus Hondius

1625 Africa Descriptio Jodocus Hondius

1627 Africa - Petrus Bertius & Melchior Tavernier

1635 Africa - Willem Blaeuw

1636 Africa - Descriptio Abraham Goos

1639 Africae Tabula Nova - Abraham Ortelius

1640 Africa - Jodocus Hondius

1644 Africa - Willem Janszoon Blaeuw

1652 Africa - Nicolaes Visscher

1661 Africa - Petrus Bertius & Melchior Tavernier

1679 Africa - Nicolaes Visscher & Geraldo_Schaep

1686 Ancient Africa - Mallett

1688 Totius Africa - Frederik de Wit

1689 Africa Accurata Tabula - by van Schagen, Hi-Res

1689 Africa - Vincenzo Coronellis

1691 Africa - Vincenzo Coronelli

1700s Africa by E Bowers

1705 'l'Afrique' - Pierre Moriter

1710 Africa - Herman Moll, HiRes

1713 Africa Delices du Monde - P van der AA

1725 Africa - John Senex

1730 Africa - Seutter

1737 Africa Terra Nigritarum - Hase, Hi Res

1745 Africa - Guillaume de L'isle

1745 Africa - Russian Map, Hi Res

1745 Africa - Guillaume Delisle

1762 Africa - Pays des Hotentots - Janvier

1766 Africa - Danville Bolton, Hi Res

1771 Africa - Latest Improvements, R Reynolds

1786 'l'Afrique' - de la Porte, Hi Res

1787 Africa - Manomotapa - Jean-Baptiste Clouet, Hi Res

1792 Africa - 'From the best Authorities'

1799 Africa - Clement Cruttwell

1800 L'Afrique - Delamarche

1800 Africa - Robert Wilkinson

1803 Africa - Ottoman map, Hi-Res

1805 Africa - John Cary

1805 Africa - Wild Hottentots and Kousi Kaffrs - John Cary, Hi Res

1806 Africa - from the Best Authorities Brightly & Kinnersley, Lo-Res

1810s Africa Hottentottia, German

1812 Africa Arrowsmith and Lewis

1812 Africa - Malte Brun

1813 Africa - Thomson

1821 Africa - New General Atlas - John Thompson, Hi Res


1827 Afrcia - Regions Unexplored - A Finley

1828 L'Afrique - Vintage Map of Africa, Lo Res

1830 Africa - John Grigg

1835 Africa - Cornelus

1839 Africa Map14 - Unexplored Regions, Mitchell

1839 Africa - Mitchell

1840 Africa - Olsen School Atlas, Hi Res

1842 Africa Thomas Smiley

1843 Africa - Delamarche, Lo Res

1843 Africa - Tanner

1849 Africa - Tanner

1851 Africa - John Tallis, Hi Res

1851 Africa - School Atlas Mitchell

1852 Africa - Cafrarie - Victor Levasseur, Hi Res

1855 Africa - Arrival of the Portuguese 14th Century Spruner, Hi Res

1856 Afrique Transvaal & Orange Republiques - Goujon Andriveau, Hi Res

1860 Africa - Recent Discoveries Mitchell

1862 Africa Stieler

1862 Transvaal Republic, by Johnson

1864 Africa - Recent Discoveries - Mitchell, Hires

1866 Africa map30 by Mitchell

1879 Africa - J Bartholomew

1880 Afrique - Andriveau Goujon, Hi Res

1881 Gray's new map of Africa, Lo Res

1885 Africa, John Bartholomew

1890 Africa, McNally

1899 Colonisaion of Africa by Mohammedans

1909 Africa - Bartholomew, Hi Res

1910 Africa - Hammond

1910 Africa - Nouveau Larousse illustre, Hi Res

1912 Africa - Inset 1902 Boer Republics - Shepherd

1920 Africa - London Geographical Institute

1922 Africa - Comparative Geography Atlas, by Bartholomew

1928 Africa - 3 voyages of Cook Mer des Caffres - Herrison

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African Books

Online books of the colonial period, pdf, and/or epub

1817 James Riley 'Account of the Sufferings of the Officers and Crew in the Desert of Zahahrah'. 19th century Bestseller

1851 Archibald Robbins 'Slavery and Sufferings upon the Desert of Zahara'. Same True Story. Bestseller

1844 Robert Moffat's 'Missionary Labours and Scenes in Southern Africa'

1874 William H.G. Kingston, 'Great African Travelers' (Mungo Park to Livngstone & Stanley)

1887 Joseph Thompson's 'Through Masai-land'

1889 JT Headley - 'Stanley's Wonderful Adventures in Africa'

1891 Stanley's 'In Darkest Africa'

1895 du Toit's 'Rhodesia Past and Present', eye witness account

1902 Sir Harry Johnston's ' The Uganda Protectorate'

1902 English - Swahili Dictionary

1907 Frederick Courtney Selous 'A Hunter's Wanderings in Africa'

1908 Abel Chapman 'On Safari - Big-Game Hunting in British East Africa'

1909 Stigand and Lyell's 'Central African Game and its Spoor'

1910 Burton's 'First Footsteps East Africa'

1910 Duke Adolphus Fredrick of Mecklenburg's 'In the Heart of Africa'

1909 Stigand's profusely illustrated "the Game of British East Africa'

1910 Richard Tjaarder 'The Big Game of Africa"

1910 Stigand's 'To Abyssinia through an unknown Land'

1913 Stigand's 'Hunting the elephant in Africa'

1913 Stigand's ancient history and present inhabitants of 'the Land of Zinj'

1914 Stigand's 'Black Tales for White Children'

1914 Stigand's 'Administration in Tropical Africa'

1920 G.D. Hale Carpenter on Sleeping Sickness in 'A Naturalist on Lake Victoria'

1921 J.H Patterson's 'The Man-Eaters of Tsavo'

More recent

'The Untold Story of White Slavery' (by Ottoman Turks, Arabs, and Berbers), 13min video

'Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, The Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800' by Robert Davis

'Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters' by Davis (archive.org online version)

'White Gold' by Giles Milton: the Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow (1716) and Islam's One Million White Slaves

1970 'Scramble for Africa -the great trek to the Boer War' by A.Nutting, exerpt

2012 - Belgium and the Congo, 1885-1980 - Economic analysis by Guy Vanthemsche (Eng)

2012 - Congo - De impact van de kolonie op Belgie - Guy Vanthemsche (Dutch)

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African Journals

Volume 1 (1901)

West African Finances

British Nigeria

Trade of German Protectorates

Century of Exploration in South Africa

Ophir and Punt in South Africa

Vocabulary of the Lombe dialect of Makwa (Mosambique)

Volume 2 (1902)

Cultivation of Cotton in West Africa

Islam in Western Sudan

The position of British Merchants in the French Congo

Iron-smelting and native blacksmithing in Ondulu country in South-East Angola

The native labour question in Africa

The Development of German West Africa (Kamerun)

Volume 3 (1903)

Volume 4 (1904)

Cultivation of Cotton in Western Africa

The Gold Coast at the End of the Seventeenth Century

Hisotrical Chart of the Gold Coast and Ashanti

The Opening up of the British East Africa

The fight against Malaria

The Berbers

Volume 5 (1905)

Rain Making in Equatorial Africa

The Poison Arrows of Northern Nigeria

The Colonization of British East Africa

Customs of the Awuna Tribes

Languages of Northern Nigeria

The Idem Secret Society

The Bavili Alphabet restored

Recent Work on Bantu Philology

The Sleeping Sickness

Native Affairs in Natal

Sanitary Instructions by Liverpool School of Medicine

Volume 6 (1906)

Cultivation of Cotton in Western Africa

The Progress of Uganda

Notes on the Bahima of Ankole

the Future of the Transvaal

Native affairs in South Africa

Sir Harry Johnstons's "Liberia"

Volume 7 (1907) Not Found

Gathering Rubber

The Basis for a Comparative Grammar of the Bantu Languages

Volume 8 (1908) Not Found

Volume 9 (1909)

The Gold Coast of today

The End of Slavery in Zanzibar and British East Africa

Development of the Cocoa industry

The Syllabic writing of the VAI people

Native Affairs of South Africa

Volume 10 (1910)

Edo-Speaking Tribes of Nigeria

Native Races of German East Africa

Law of succesion among the Akras and the Ga Tribes Proper of the Gold Coast

Volume 11 (1911)

The Economic Conditon of Egypt

Wemba War paths

The Proposed South African Native College

Linguistic Bibliography of Northern Nigeria

Volume 12 (1912)

Notes on Collection fo Ancient Stone Implements form Ejura Ahsanti

Law and Policy Relating to the Natives of the Gold Coast

Liberia in the Political Psychology

The Bornu Girgam

Volume 13 (1913) Not Found

Volume 14 (1904) Not Found

Volume 15 (1915)

The Germans in East and West Africa

Early Stages in Speech and thought in Bantu

Science and Progress in South Africa

Customary Law of the Awemba

The Lala People and their customs

German South-West Africa Campaign

The Palm Kernel Industry

Slavery in East Africa (2 pages missing)

Savage Man in Central Africa

Volume 16 (1916)

Experiences in German South-West Africa

General Botha's Native Land Policy

The Ogboni and other secret Societies in Nigeria

Science and Progress in South Africa

Nyika Proverbs

The Bantu and semi-Bantu Languages

Economic Resources of the German Colonies in Africa

Nyika Enigmas, East Africa

The Death of Lewanika, King of Barotseland

German East Africa during the war

A Great Hunter, by Pycraft

Lake Bangweulu and its Inhabitants

Witchcraft amongst the Wahadimu

How the Yoruba count

Volume 17 (1917)

Standards of Bantu Speech

Personal Names in some West African Tribes

Rubber Cultivation and Native Industries

German East Africa

The Revision of the Berlin Act

Bantu Speech: a Philological Study

Sisol Planting in British East Africa

Volume 18 (1918)

Railways and Communicaiton in South Africa

The Forest and Forest Department of Nigeria

Bantu Speech: a Philological Study

Some Random notes on the Customs of the Konkomba

African Bantu Melodies

Volume 19 (1919)

General Botha

The Basis of African Religion

An Archeological Puzzle form West Africa

The Mysterious Islands

African Bush and Forest

Tribal Mixture of the Gold Coast

Somali Songs and Little Texts

Notes on Certain Substitutes used by the Germans in the Cameroun

The Kishasi (Kisasi) language

The Bantu in Madagascar

Volume 20 (1920)

The Kalahari and its possibilities

Some English Words in Fulani and Hausa

Land Tenure amongst the Bantu

Ostrich Farming in South Africa

"Mulombe": A Kaonde Superstition

Somali Songs

Cape to Cairo Railway and River route

Volume 21 (1921)

United Nigeria

Samal Marriage

The Guild System fo Bantu Races

Somali Songs and Littel Texts

The African Elephant

The Romance of the new Souith African Farm

The Tide of Colour

Native Administration fo Northern Rhodesia

The African Elephant Part2

The Cotton Growing Industry of Northern Nigeria

The Semi-Bantu Languages of the Beneu Valey

Volume 22 (1922)

Adultery in Ankole

Early Traverlers in Abyssinia

Big Game Shooting in Africa

The African Elephant

Slave Trade

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