European exploration of Africa

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**1. Early European Exploration of Africa:**
– Phoenician colonies in North Africa and alleged circumnavigation of Africa
– Greek and Roman knowledge limited to North Africa and Horn of Africa
– Viking raids, Sicilian Kingdom of Africa, and Genoese expeditions
– Portuguese expeditions led by Prince Henry the Navigator
– Discoveries of Canary Islands, Cape Bojador, and Cape of Good Hope

**2. Portuguese Exploration and Influence in Africa:**
Exploration of West Africa and voyages to India
– Establishment of bases along the eastern coast of Africa
– Portuguese influence in Zanzibar, Congo, and Mutapa
– Queen Nzinga’s resistance in Ndongo and Portuguese intervention in Angola
– Dutch colonization and impact in South Africa

**3. European Presence and Expansion in Africa:**
– Dutch exploration and colonization in Africa
– English, French, Swedish, Danish, and Prussian presence in Africa
– Spanish and Portuguese expansion and British interest in African exploration
– Focus on the slave trade and limited exploration of the African interior
– Influence of Napoleonic Wars on Egypt, South Africa, and missionary work

**4. Exploration and Discoveries in Africa:**
– David Livingstone’s missionary work and explorations
– List of African explorers and their achievements
Exploration goals like discovering the source of the Nile and Lake Victoria
– Impact of modern cartography on exploration and geographical knowledge
– Evolution of European understanding of African geography and cultures

**5. Contributions and References:**
– Contributions of explorers like Georg Schweinfurth and Gustav Nachtigal
– Bibliography of key works on African exploration and history
– Impact on the economy through copper exports and major discoveries
Exploration activities in Southern Morocco, Sahara, and Sudan
– Popularization of African knowledge and confirmation of Greek legends

The geography of North Africa has been reasonably well known among Europeans since classical antiquity in Greco-Roman geography. Northwest Africa (the Maghreb) was known as either Libya or Africa, while Egypt was considered part of Asia.

Map of Africa by John Thomson, 1813. Much of the continent is simply labeled "unknown parts". The map still includes Ptolemy's Mountains of the Moon, which have since been credited to ranges varying from the Rwenzori to Kilimanjaro to the peaks of Ethiopia at the head of the Blue Nile.

European exploration of sub-Saharan Africa begins with the Age of Discovery in the 15th century, pioneered by the Kingdom of Portugal under Henry the Navigator. The Cape of Good Hope was first reached by Bartolomeu Dias on 12 March 1488, opening the important sea route to India and the Far East, but European exploration of Africa itself remained very limited during the 16th and 17th centuries. The European powers were content to establish trading posts along the coast while they were actively exploring and colonizing the New World. Exploration of the interior of Africa was thus mostly left to the Muslim slave traders, who in tandem with the Muslim conquest of Sudan established far-reaching networks and supported the economy of a number of Sahelian kingdoms during the 15th to 18th centuries.

At the beginning of the 19th century, European knowledge of the geography of the interior of sub-Saharan Africa was still rather limited. Expeditions exploring Southern Africa were made during the 1830s and 1840s, so that around the midpoint of the 19th century and the beginning of the colonial Scramble for Africa, the unexplored parts were now limited to what would turn out to be the Congo Basin and the African Great Lakes. This "Heart of Africa" remained one of the last remaining "blank spots" on world maps of the later 19th century (alongside the Arctic, Antarctic, and interior of the Amazon Basin). It was left for 19th-century European explorers, including those searching for the famed sources of the Nile, notably John Hanning Speke, Richard Francis Burton, David Livingstone, and Henry Morton Stanley, to complete the exploration of Africa by the 1870s. After this, the general geography of Africa was known, but it was left to further expeditions during the 1880s onward, notably, those led by Oskar Lenz, to flesh out more detail such as the continent's geological makeup.

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