An Atlas of African Affairs

By Andrew Boyd; Patrick Van Rensburg | Go to book overview

B. Regions and Barriers

The Sahara is the most obvious of the natural barriers that divide Africa. Although speckled with oases and crossed by well-established tracks (1), this great expanse of sand desert and arid steppe separates the Arab north from the rest of the continent so effectively that ' Africa south of the Sahara', or 'sub-Saharan Africa', is a familiar conventional term. The Nile (8) flows across one end of the Sahara but its value as a link between north and south is reduced by its cataracts, and by the way its headwaters are entangled in swamps and in the precipitous Ethiopian mountains.

Just south of the desert, the broad belt of open savannah or pasture land known as the Sudan -- not to be confused with the Sudan republic (10) -- runs nearly the full width of the continent, embracing the upper Niger and the Chad basin. Relative ease of movement in this belt has in the past permitted the creation of extensive African states, and the spreading out of peoples like the Fulani over wide areas (C, E).

South of the Sudan, dense tropical rain-forest blankets parts of the Guinea Coast and most of the Congo basin. The Congo, the lower Niger and other rivers provide a few routes through it (P).

Southern and eastern Africa is dominated by a great mass of high plateaux and mountains, much of it open grassland with only a limited amount of tree cover. While movement is easier here than in the rain-forest, there are few natural routes except the scattered waterways provided by the eastern lakes (P). Africa's major rivers are all blocked to navigation by falls or rapids, particularly where they descend from the plateaux to the coastal lowlands. There are, moreover, few natural harbours along its coasts, and no intrusive arms of the sea of the kind that give almost all of Europe easy access to maritime trade. In general, the interior is more isolated from the outside world than that of any other continent.

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An Atlas of African Affairs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • A. Population 10
  • B. Regions and Barriers 12
  • C. Languages and Peoples 14
  • D. European and Asian Settlement 20
  • E. 'Pre-European' History 22
  • F. Europeans on the Coast 24
  • G. the European 'scramble' 26
  • H. the New Political Map 28
  • I. British and French Heritages 30
  • J. United Nations Activity 32
  • K. Pan-Africanism and Regional Unity 34
  • L. Africa Overseas 36
  • M. Education 38
  • N. Health and Pests 40
  • O. Minerals 42
  • P. Transport 44
  • Q. Power, Development And Research 46
  • 1. the Maghreb 48
  • 2. Morocco and Mauritania 50
  • 3. Algeria 52
  • 4. Tunisia and Libya 54
  • 5. Egypt and Its Neighbours 57
  • 6. Suez Canal 58
  • 7. Suez-Sinai Conflict, 1956 60
  • 8. the Nile 62
  • 9. Egypt 64
  • 10. the Sudan 66
  • 11. Ethiopia 68
  • 12. the Somalis 70
  • 13. West Africa 72
  • 14. Ex-French Africa 74
  • 15. Ex-French West Africa 76
  • 16. 'Equatorial' Africa 78
  • 17. Commonwealth West Africa 80
  • 18- Senegambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia 82
  • 19. Ghana and Its Neighbours 84
  • 20. Nigeria 86
  • 21. Cameroons 88
  • 22. Two Congos 90
  • 23. Post-Belgian Congo 92
  • 24. Lower Congo 94
  • 25. Between the Lakes 96
  • 26. Ruanda-Urundi 98
  • 27. British East and Central Africa 100
  • 28. Uganda 102
  • 29. Kenya 104
  • 30. Tanganyika and Zanzibar 106
  • 31. the Rhodesias 108
  • 32. Katanga and Copperbelt 110
  • 33. Nyasaland 112
  • 34. Angola and Mozambique 114
  • 35. Malagasy (madagascar) 116
  • 36. South Africa and Its Neighbours 118
  • 37. Protectorates and S.W. Africa 120
  • 38. Eastern South Africa 122
  • Index 125
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