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Africa


1570, Africae Tabula Nova, Antwerp, Abraham Ortelius

1630, Africae nova descripto... Amsterdam, Willem Janszoon Blaeu
This map, which appears in Volume X of Blaeu's Grand Atlas, is notable for its decorative and artistic merit as well as its relative geographic accuracy. The shape of the continent is almost perfect, and the coastal cities and rivers are named in m eticulous detail. However, the names of places are, in many cases, engraved inwards to give an impression of fullness, and there are still many blank spaces on the map - which, as with earlier maps, are filled with elephants, ostriches, and camels. The empty spaces in the ocean are decorated with animals as well, but in this case, they are fanciful creatures such as flying fish and sea monsters. But realism and pragmatism are not entirely lost: the seas are also dotted with ships flying the Dutch flag, reminders of the naval power of the Netherlands at this time.1

1635, Aethiopia Inferior vel ExteriorAmsterdam, Willem Janszoon Blaeu.
This map was made before Dutch settlement of South Africa, so some areas are still largely unknown. Still, this was a standard reference map throughout the seventeenth century.2

c. 1642, Aethiopia Superior vel Interior vulgo Abissinorum sive Presbiteri Ioannis Imperium,Amsterdam, Johannes Blaeu
The mythical realm of King John Presbyter - or as he is more commonly known, Prester John - was a common element of European folklore since at least as far back as the thirteenth century. His court, an idealized Christian stronghold in the midst of pagan s, was usually said to be located somewhere in central Asia, and closely associated with China.3 From the fourteenth century onwards, however, it was increasingly indentified with Ethiopia, and the Coptic Christian rul ers of that nation were said to be descendents of the original Prester John.4

1700, Archipelagus Atlanticus cum suis Insulis Canariis, Hesperidibus, et Azoribus, maker and place of origin unknown

1729, Africa, London, Herman Moll

1760, Carte de la Haute et de la Basse Guinée, depuis la Riviere de Sierra Leona, jusqu'a Cap Negro, Paris, M. Bonne/Dien.

1760, Partie Occidentale de l'Ancien Continent, depuis Lisbonne jusqu'a la Riviere de Sierra Leona. Avec l'Isle Madere, les Isles Canaries, et celles du C. Verd, Paris, M. Bonne/Dien.

1795, Afrique, Paris(?), Blondeau

1821, Africa, Hartford, Connecticut, William C. Woodbridge
This was probably part of a school atlas accompanying Woodbridge's Rudiments of Geography5

1824, Africa, Philadelphia, Anthony Finley
From Anthony Finley's A New General Atlas...compiled from the best authorities and corrected by the most recent discoveries.

1870, Africa, Tokyo, maker unknown
From the World Atlas in the Lanman Collection



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Last updated August 10, 2000.