L’Afrique, Georeferencing

L'Afrique, a map from 1784
L’Afrique (1784)

Walking through the georeferencing lab, I found a french map of Africa from 1784 titled, L’Afrique. Created by a french map maker, I saw this project and georeferencing to be beneficial for showing desparities in understanding of the world.

I found the georeferencing of this map to be hard when rectifying points between the two maps. As it is a map from 1784, we expect the scale of countries and regions to be a bit off, but this map seemed wholly different than the map of Africa we have to day. I have a few ideas as to why it’s different, starting with the history of western exploration. In many parts of Africa, western influence was not taken lightly and many travelers were likely pushed out of exploring. This kept travelers and map makers to the outskirts of Africa, assuming that inland Africa was simply and extension of the costal empires. Mali and Ghana are ancient civilizations of Africa but seem left off of the map. That being said, our updated maps show the extreme colonization of Africa since 1784. Another explanation of why the rectification was hard is because my French isn’t as great as I’d like it to be and the names of these cities don’t map to English very well.

Spooky Nuggets


  1. I think it’s important that you included theories in your post about why the map is inaccurate. Always good to ask questions like this in my opinion, and also interesting and informative when you find answers.

  2. Language barrier is another interesting way that the fixed mapping project might run into problems. Your thoughts here are really interesting and valuable!

  3. Good stuff, Mr. Nuggets. I like your discussion of potential points of inaccuracies. I find this to be an overlooked part of studying maps.

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