Africa - Geography


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  • Arno Peters, German map maker, historian and journalist, developed an equal area map projection in the early 1970’s in order to counter the commonly used "Eurocentric" Mercator map projection. He stated, "In our epoch, relatively young nations of the world have cast off the colonial dependencies and now fight for equal rights. It seems important to me that developed nations are no longer at the center of the world, but are plotted according to their true size." He points out that on the Mercator map Europe’s 3.8 million square miles are made to appear larger than South America’s 6.9 million square miles. Peters initially wrote a controversial world history text and found that "the quest for the causes of arrogance and xenophobia has led me repeatedly back to the global map as being primarily responsible for forming people’s impression of the world." It is important to note that the Mercator projection is rarely used today except for the purpose it was originally designed for - navigation. Of course, many Mercator maps can still be found in use by graphic designers, in older classroom materials, and as inexpensive wall maps. Cartographers have criticized the Peters map in part due to its distortion of the shapes of continents - one cartographer went so far as to describe the effect as being "the resulting land masses are somewhat reminiscent of wet, ragged, long winter underwear hung out to dry on the Arctic Circle." While each continent is reflected accurately in terms of area proportion, the overall effect of the maps is not a realistic portrayal of the earth. Cartographers argue that numerous projections developed since the Mercator projection (such as the Robinson and the Goode) succeed in achieving a more realistic image without a Europe centered focus. In fact, equal area projections had existed since 1772, but the press, the United Nations, the World Council of Churches, and the National Council of Churches heralded the Peters map as a way for the "Third World" to break away from colonial constructs. Thus, timing was everything; many nations of the world had just achieved independence from colonial powers within the previous decade. Peters, as an accomplished journalist, knew the art of generating publicity. There ensued an on-going debate over the use of this map between cartographers on the one hand, and people who believed the map would change people’s perceptions about the Third World on the other.
  • 2nd Largest Continent: Africa is the second largest continent in the world. (Asia is the largest.) Africa is three times the size of the continental United States. Measuring north to south, Africa is 5,200 miles long!  At its widest point, Africa is nearly as wide as it is long.   Rivers: Africa has five huge river systems. The big three, in order of size, are the Nile, the Congo, and the Niger. Oceans: In spite of its size, Africa has few natural harbors. If you wanted to visit Africa by boat, you would have to hunt for a safe place to land. Without a safe harbor, powerful ocean current would slam your boat into the rocks along the coastline. The Atlantic Ocean borders Africa to the west, the Indian Ocean borders Africa to the east, and the Mediterranean borders Africa to the north.  The Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet to border Africa to the south. Africa is nearly surrounded by water. Landforms: Africa has rainforests, grasslands, and is home to the largest desert in the world, the Sahara. Africa does have a few mountain ranges, like the Atlas Mountains in the north. These are good size mountains, but they would appear to be hills if you put them next to the Alps or the Himalayas. Africa does not have a huge mountain range.  Prime Meridian: The prime meridian, which is the imaginary line that separates the world into Eastern and Western Hemispheres runs vertically through Africa. Another imaginary line runs horizontally though Africa – the Equator.
  • Africa - Geography

    1. 1. Africa Map Day! <ul><li>Cross out the following countries: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Botswana </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cameroon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gabon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lesotho </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bodies of water: Label in BLUE </li></ul><ul><li>Landforms: Label in BROWN or GREEN </li></ul><ul><li>OUTLINE all countries using the color of your choice </li></ul><ul><li>Use p. 57 & 62 in the CP textbook </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Malawi </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mauritania </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Namibia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Swaziland </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Zambia </li></ul></ul>
    2. 2. “What is Africa to Me?” <ul><li>Later this week, we’ll be reading an excerpt from Countee Cullen’s poem,“Heritage,” where he eloquently describes what Africa means to him, an African American. </li></ul><ul><li>For this assignment, either draw a picture, or write a poem that is representative of your view of Africa.  There is no right answer here - only your impressions from what you've learned in school, seen on the news, or heard from relatives who may live there. DUE TOMORROW! </li></ul>
    3. 3. What is Africa to Me? <ul><li>On the back of your picture/poem, please answer the following questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Describe the picture that you drew, OR explain the message of your poem. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What led you to choose the subject matter for your picture/poem? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where do you think your impressions of Africa have come from? Specific examples of movies, books, etc.? </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Heritage (excerpt) By Countee Cullen What is Africa to me: Copper sun or scarlet sea, Jungle star or jungle track, Strong bronzed men, or regal black Women from whose loins I sprang When the birds of Eden sang? One three centuries removed From the scenes his fathers loved, Spicy grove, cinnamon tree, What is Africa to me?
    5. 5. Peters Map AREA ACCURATE (1970s) Mercator Map (1569) For navigation; “true direction” &quot;the quest for the causes of arrogance and xenophobia has led me repeatedly back to the global map as being primarily responsible for forming people’s impression of the world.“ ~Peters
    6. 7. <ul><li>11,357,866,667 square miles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>that’s over 11 billion football fields. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you were to give each person on earth - that's almost 6 billion people - land in Africa, you could give everyone almost two football fields </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pennsylvania = 46,058 square miles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Approximately 246,599 PA’s would fit inside Africa! </li></ul></ul>
    7. 9. What do you notice about the boundaries that have been drawn on this map?
    8. 11. Essential Question <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>How has Africa’s geography and history impacted its progress? </li></ul>
    9. 12. How has the continent on which modern humans evolved become associated with so many problems?
    10. 13. How has geography thwarted Africa’s progress?  <ul><ul><li>Agricultural revolution –  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Africa’s north-south orientation made it difficult for crops/livestock to spread </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>different latitudes require adaptation to different climates, day lengths, , diseases etc. . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Africa’s native animals proved impossible to domesticate. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Shape of Africa – Jared Diamond </li></ul>
    11. 14. Geographic Challenges  <ul><ul><li>nearly a third of the countries of mainland Africa are landlocked </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the only African river navigable from the ocean for long distances inland is the Nile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>waterways provide the cheapest way to transport goods </li></ul></ul></ul>Of mainland Africa's ten richest countries—the only ones with annual per capita gross domestic products over $3,500—nine lie partly or entirely within its temperate zones
    12. 15. Disease Prevalence  <ul><li>Malaria, yellow fever, HIV/AIDS, African Sleeping sickness </li></ul><ul><li>microbes have had time to adapt from one species to another (Africa = cradle of humankind) </li></ul><ul><li>microbes required the least adaptation to jump species (great apes, monkeys to humans) </li></ul>
    13. 16. Is the continent, or at least its big tropical core, doomed eternally to wars, poverty, and devastating diseases?
    14. 17. The Path to Improvement? <ul><li>Overcome govt. corruption </li></ul><ul><li>Harness natural resources: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rivers - hydroelectric power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>big animals –ecotourism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tropical rain forests – could be renewable, lucrative sources of income. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fund public health programs </li></ul><ul><li>Take advantage of GLOBALIZATION – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology - New connections geography has denied it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>English-speaking workforce could attract service jobs. </li></ul></ul>Nearly half of all African countries are English speaking
    15. 18. Essential Question   How has Africa’s geography impacted its progress throughout history?
    16. 19. <ul><li>Second largest continent </li></ul><ul><li>54 independent nations </li></ul>
    17. 20. Pre Class  <ul><li>Read the following statements, and write T or F to indicate whether or not each statement is true. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The values that Westerners hold dear today like political freedom and democracy had and have no tradition or history in Africa. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Africans are primarily tribespeople; Africans are organized first and foremost into tribes while Europeans are primarily organized into nations. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Africans are essentially primitive in lifestyle, art and technology because few or no innovations took or take place in Africa. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Africans have no literary, philosophical and historical traditions in either the recent or the far past. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Africans are not culturally diverse. Africans share an essentially unified culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Africa is one country and the people there speak a language called “African.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Africa is mostly jungle, with some desert, and is highly overpopulated. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>North Africa is not considered a part of Africa. </li></ul></ul>
    18. 22. <ul><li>Abuja, Nigeria </li></ul><ul><li>Addis Ababa, Ethiopia </li></ul><ul><li>Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo </li></ul><ul><li>Mogadishu, Somalia </li></ul><ul><li>Khartoum, Sudan </li></ul><ul><li>Nairobi, Kenya </li></ul><ul><li>Dar es Salaam, Tanzania </li></ul><ul><li>Cape Town, South Africa </li></ul>