Map of Africa


This 1820 map of Africa by Adrien Hubert Brué (1786-1832), one of the leading French cartographers of the day, shows the state of European geographic knowledge of Africa in the early 19th century. Unlike many sedentary mapmakers, the Parisian Brué had traveled widely from a young age, on long sailing voyages to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and as a midshipman on a French naval expedition along the Australian coast. These voyages damaged Brué’s health, however, so that he returned to Paris where he began to draft maps under the guidance of one of his former commanding officers in the naval cartography bureau. This map was made shortly after the 1818-19 Senegambian expedition of French explorer Gaspard-Théodore Mollien. It includes physical and geographical details that were learned from Mollien’s travels as well as those of predecessors and contemporaries such as Mungo Park, Henry Salt, John Lewis Burckhardt, and George Francis Lyon. A decade before the French conquest of Algeria and more than a half century prior to the European “scramble for Africa,” Brué’s map shows how much of Saharan and sub-Saharan central Africa remained terra incognita for Europeans.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Charles Simonneau, Paris


Title in Original Language

Carte de l'Afrique / par A. H. Brué


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : color ; 35 x 49 centimeters

Last updated: September 18, 2015