# Why has the map of Africa been shrunk? How big is the African continent?

Text by Hakizimana Maurice

At school, we are presented with planispheres and globes that have very, very wrong dimensions. We are thus presented with giant Europe, but with Africa and South America shrinking. Yes, Africa looks much smaller than it really is. Here I tell you one thing: the whole map of the world as we know it today is biased.

How do we explain that Greenland (2,175,600 km2) on the world map is larger than Africa (30,415,873 km2)? In reality, the surface area of the African continent is fourteen times larger than that of the Groenland. The world map needs to be redesigned and redefined. Here I tell you a little bit about the true size of the African continent.

Did you know that Africa is larger than the United States, Europe and China combined?

## The Mercator Projection versus the Peters Projection

It is important to remember this: the maps we have all studied are based on the Mercator projection (Gerardus Mercator). The Mercator projection is a cartographic projection of the “cylindrical” Earth, tangent to the equator of the terrestrial globe on a flat map formalized by the Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569.

Gerardus Mercator 1574.

This projection, which was created in the 16th century, deliberately magnifies the size of European countries in order to symbolize their power at the time.

Mercator projection of the Earth.

In the 19th century, another man looked at the size of continents and created the Peters projection. The Peters projection is a cartographic projection which, unlike the Mercator projection, allows us to take into account the real surface area of the continents. For the latter, the proportions are respected thanks to new technologies.

Peters projection of the Earth.

## So how big is Africa?

The true size of the African continent

Based on Peters’ projection, we make a map of Africa that is more faithful to its true surface area, and we understand very easily that the African continent is much larger than the dimensions presented to us in school and in the media.

Here are some irrefutable figures: Africa is 30 million km2 while China and the United States are spread over 10 million km2 each. They can therefore enter Africa entirely and there will still be 10 million km2 left to place India (3 million km2) and the tiny countries of Europe.

If we take a closer look at these two projections (i.e. the Peters projection in brown and the Mercator projection in green), we can see the significant reduction of Africa and South America on the map we know.

The European, Chinese, Russian and American supremacists have reduced the size of the African continent to brainwash learners and inculcate in them the ideology that Africa is nothing, weak, a continent that must submit to their gigantic and stronger continents and countries.

We are the generation that needs to set the record straight through different platforms and social media. It is time that African school curricula redraw the true image of the continent instead of assimilating the curricula imposed on Africans by these smaller and supremacist countries.

## Why is it important to redesign Africa?

This is important because an African child, who grows up seeing these false maps, without the nuances being explained to him, can tell himself that the continent is so small anyway that it is not surprising that it is not a priority.

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