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Number: 3665
Continent: Africa
Region: West
Place Names: Mountains of Kong
Year of Origin: 1798
Title: A Map shewing the Progress of Discovery & Improvement, in the Geography of North Africa.
Language: English
Publish Origin: London
Height: 39.0
Width: 69.4
Units: centimeters
Size Class.: Medium
Scale: 1 : 11,293,600
Color Type: No Color
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Cartographer: James Rennell
Engraver: J. Walker
Other Contributors: Mungo Park
Northernmost Latitude: 38.0
Southernmost Latitude: -2.0
Westernmost Longitude: -20.0
Easternmost Longitude: 50.0
Notes: [Altea source] Original first edtion map of North and West Africa compiled by James Rennell to illustrate his appendix to Mungo Park's 'Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa', the account of Park's first travels to search for the source of the River Niger. Under the patronage of Sir Joseph Banks and the African Association, Park travelled to Africa to seek the source of the River Niger (1795-7). His expedition was delayed by captivity and illness (he spent seven months convalescing in a man's home), he turned back a Silla on the Niger river near Jenne, but short of Timbuctu, and he was believed dead when he returned to Britain. Because Park had little experience as a cartographer, the job of compiling the maps for the official account fell to Major James Rennell (1742-1830), former cartographer to the East India Company in Bengal. He too had fallen foul of locals and had to retire from active service because of the wounds he had received. He became a research cartographer, pioneering oceanography. He used a variety of sources to compile this map and in doing so made his greatest cartographic error: he extrapolated a single mountain seen by Park into a huge range, creating the 'Mountains of Kong', running across West Africa. Such was Rennell's reputation that his theory was instantly accepted and the 'Mountains of Kong' misled map readers of Africa for most of the nineteenth century and occasionally beyond.In this map Rennell designated the 'Mountains of Kong' which was a mythical divide of climate, water, trade, races, and religion as a line running west/east dividing North Africa from Sub-Sahara Africa as the Sahal climate and water drainage divided from the Sub-Sahara coastal plain; the myth also created a divide of trade involving Tuareg and Negro races, and formed a mythical divide of Islam and other indiginous religions; Ref. Thomas Bassett, 'Of the Best Authorities...' as a definitive study of this myth and its long term effects on relations in Africa.
Last updated: Jun 22, 2020