The Size of Africa

Africa is the second largest continent behind Asia and covers 6% of the globe’s surface or 20% of the globe’s land surface.

Projector maps misrepresent the actual size of the continent of Africa. The true sizes of landmasses become increasingly distorted the further away from the equator they get. Mercator’s map inadvertently pumps up the sizes of Europe and North America (Routley 2017). The scale of the continent is woefully not to scale in favor of the European perspective. Africa, South Asia, and South America all appear much smaller in relation to countries further from the equator (Routley 2017).

The Mercator map (still most widely used since 1569) drew criticism in 1973 by the German filmmaker and journalist Arno Peters. Peters argued that by enlarging Europe and North America, Mercator maps were giving white nations a sense of supremacy over non-white nations (Singh 2017).

Since that time, many maps have attempted to represent the globe to scale, such as the Gall-Peters or the Robinson maps. The most recent AuthaGraph map is by far the most accurate. For example, when viewing the AuthaGraph, one can tell the United States could comfortably fit inside the African continent 3 times!

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