The True Size of Africa


Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Megan Pizarro, Centurion staff

For Black History Month Bucks County Community College’s main campus held an event named “The True Size of Africa” on Thursday February 16 at 12:30 p.m. talking about how map makers have depicted the African continent as much smaller than it is.

Kevin Antoine, Associate Vice President Government Relations & DE, discussed how throughout history the true size of Africa has been perceived smaller than it is in reality. Adding, “It’s no accident that for more than 400 years, map makers have depicted Northern Hemisphere as much larger than they are and the African continent as much smaller than it is.

Unfortunately, this mistake has never been corrected on today’s maps. This “mistake” dates back to when the American slave trade was in full effect.

Antoine explains how the Euro-Americans created maps to navigate the Atlantic but noticed it wasn’t very beneficial to acknowledge Africa’s large size.

They believed that the size of a continent equaled power, and since they didn’t even want to acknowledge Africans as people there was no way they wanted them to have any form of power.

The Euro-Americans knew this and wanted to make sure to keep control over Africa since it was much larger and valuable than anticipated.

Antoine states “Africa is resource dense such as oil, agriculture as well as precious metals. But its value was mostly in the population for slavery reasons.”

Although still depicted small on global maps, Africa is much larger than perceived in comparison to its neighboring countries.

“We are able to fit many countries together within Africa. China, the United States, Europe, India and Japan all fit comfortably together inside Africa.” Antoine explains.

It’s been over 200 years since the American slave trade ended but our global maps were never corrected or revised to the public.

In the “True Size of Africa” event held by Antoine, he explained that after all these years the unrevised map is what’s still being used to educate with.

Which proved very educational since many attendees were also unaware of Africa’s larger size.

Education surrounding Africa’s size is rarely discussed today even though its size is factually larger than what map makers depict it to be.

So why hasn’t it been fixed?

Antoine explains “We as a society have gotten so used to our current map that changing it would be a mass shock, so the education system continues to use the unrevised mapping.”

Antoine discussed how back then and even today Africa is extremely valuable to our societal future.

“40 percent of Africa’s population is under 15, and has the youngest median age which is 19.” Antoine states.

Since today there is no reason to depict Africa as smaller than it is, revising our global maps would be crucial in acknowledging their population and size.

Africa and Africans are a huge population and size of our future as a world and should be acknowledged as such.

Thank you to Kevin Antoine for sharing “The True Size of Africa” and providing students and staff an amazing and insightful educational event.