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I was reading news and I ended up on the BBC site where they have this interesting slideshow of old maps of the African continent that are part of the exhibition by the Royal Geographical Society, Rediscovering African Geographies.
I’ve learned a lot, for example that the name of the continent comes from a tribe of the Sahara, the Berber, who called themselves the Afarika and that in a 14th century map are positioned in what is now Sudan. There are other theories of where the name comes from, but I prefer this one since attributes the name to the Africans and not to white colonizers.
I’ve also learned that the old name of the south Atlantic Ocean was “The Ethiopian Ocean” and that comes from the Greek word Ethiopia that refers to someone who’s black, so that means that they considered it the “black people sea”. In a map of 1625, the names of many tribes of Africa appear written with a lot of detail and again this has been attributed to the the African population that traveled throughout the continent and then told the European explorers of their knowledge.

1625 Africa map

The Ethiopian Ocean - 1625

There are more modern maps of Africa marking the trading routes of the different products that were exchanged, including unfortunately, slaves. Later maps of the 19th century appear with the first straight borders drawn by Europeans, not Africans and have lost all the richness of the different African tribes. The culture and the original owners of the land have been erased becoming instead a land to conquer and possess.
Do you want to see a part of the oldest map of Africa ever discovered? Do you know when it was drawn and by whom? Here it is:

1389 Map of Africa

It dates from 1389 and was created by China about 100 years before Western explorers reached the continent! 
Here I include two maps of Abyssinia/Ethiopia. One from 1658 by Sanson d’Abberi and the other by cartographer O. Dapper: :

Ethiopia Map - 1658

Abyssinia Map - 1690

It’s incredible how much a map says about the times it was made and about the people who made it and the political power it contains.
Watch the short slide show about mapping Africa at the BBC site.
The exhibition just ended in London.

Royal Geographical Society
Early Maps of Africa
African Maps
Africa’s oldest map unveiled
Mapping Africa: Problems of Regional Definition and Colonial/National Boundaries by Ralph A. Austen
The History of Cartography related to Africa

A Short Story

A Short History of the Cartography of Africa (African Studies) Jeffrey C. Stone

Maps of Africa

Maps of Africa to 1900: A Checklist of Maps in Atlases and Geographical Journals in the Collections of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Thomas J. & Yvette Scheven

The Rediscovery of Africa

The Rediscovery of Africa, 1400-1900: Antique Maps & Illustrations William R. Jacobson

Maps and Politics

Maps and Politics Jeremy Black