15th Century Map of Africa

This Portuguese map shows a surprisingly sophisticated understanding of certain aspects of Africa, including the shape of West Africa. However, it also shows some major misconceptions, such as the placement of Ethiopia and the fact that the Niger is shown as a tributary to the Nile. It is interesting that the king of Ethiopia is represented as a Christian King - which was technically correct, but he looks far more like a European king than an African one. It does show that the diligent mapping of the coastline by the Portuguese navigators was proving to be very useful - at least as far as the coastline was concerned.

Africa | Africa Maps


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by Stephen Luscombe