Jeffrey C. Stone
Drawing on the recent work of historians of Africa, this volume questions the contemporary wisdom about maps of Africa. Five centuries of pre-colonial mapping took place in the context of what historians see as continuity of imperial purpose by Europe. Consequently, the greatest influence on the evolving map of Africa was not the Age of Reason, but a more recent and short-lived aberration in the otherwise long-standing imperial relationship between Africa and Europe, colonialism. This book suggests that the history of African cartography has been misinterpreted. The transformation or revolution in the evolving cartography occurred not in the 18th century, as much of the literature suggests, but with the imposition of colonial rule, and continued through five or six decades, when map makers responded to totally new requirements. The text reviews the cartography of Africa and its associated literature from earliest times. Detailed studies of the cartographic histories of the former British colonial territories of Zambia, Swaziland and Botswana, from pre-colonial times to independence and beyond, are used to support the author's premise.