Great Trading Routes of the Sahara
This 1889 map of trans-Saharan trading routes by French explorer Edouard Blanc reflects the growing priority that Europeans gave to land-based trade during the late 19th-century imperial “scramble for Africa.” In articles about his work, Blanc stressed the importance of identifying “natural” geographic routes that would connect French colonial possessions in west Africa, such as Senegal, to Algeria in north Africa, and link the Mediterranean coast to Sudan and central Africa. Blanc based his maps not only on his own travels but also on nearly a century of reports from ...
Africa, or Greater Libya
This map of Africa by Nicolas Sanson, royal geographer to Kings Louis XIII and XIV, and commonly known as the father of French cartography, was published by Sanson’s own house in 1679 in Paris. The map was based, according to Sanson, on a composite of information drawn from other maps as well as “upon the observations of Samuel Blomart.” It also may have drawn on the Dutch writer Olfert Dapper’s work of 1668, Naukeurige Beschrijvingen der Afrikaensche gewesten (Description of Africa). The continent is presented as “Greater Libya ...
Map of the Western Sahara
This map by Ernest George Ravenstein (1834-1913) appeared in the London Geographical Magazine in 1876. Ravenstein was a British geographer and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is best remembered for his pioneering Laws of Migration, published in 1885, which provided the theoretical underpinning for much subsequent scientific work on migration. This map shows the Sahara Desert, from present-day eastern Mali to the Atlantic Ocean. Shown in red are the tracks of the important 19th-century explorers who crossed the desert, including the Frenchman René-Auguste Callié (1799-1838), who in 1827-28 ...