National Geographic : 1960 Sep
NEW PORTRAIT OF AFRICA'S CHANGING FACE SELDOM in history, even in the wake of cataclysmic wars, has the world seen such a spawning of independent na tions as has occurred in Africa during the past decade. Yet newly won freedom is only one of the forces that in recent years have rocked this second largest continent. In this issue NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC has gone to unusual lengths to bring its 2,500,000 members a vivid picture of a continent in ferment. Four illustrated articles tell Africa's story-from the exciting discovery of Zinjan thropus, which its finders believe is the world's earliest known man (page 420), to the rise of Africa's newest countries and the continent's surge toward economic development. Africa, the accompanying 10-color Atlas Map,* fills in the details: new names, new capitals, new boundaries, newly important places-symbols of freedom gained. On The Society's last complete map of Africa, published 10 years ago, there appeared only four sovereign nations-Ethiopia, Li 360 beria, the Union of South Africa, and Egypt among the continent's sixty-odd territorial units. This new map lists 19 newcomers, an average of nearly two new nations a year. To keep pace with this rapid face lifting, the map shows nations not even in existence when the plates were made. For instance, the states of Chad, Ubangi-Shari, and Middle Congo-all former parts of French Equatorial Africa-appear as the Union of Central Afri can Republics, a federation due to take shape some time this summer or fall. With its attainment of freedom, Belgian Congo created confusion by choosing the same name as its neighbor state across the river: To distinguish between the two, the new map shows the troubled former Belgian colony as the Republic of the Congo. Some of the new states-Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia-retain their familiar names. Others merely dropped portions of their titles: Anglo-Egyptian Sudan becomes Sudan, French Guinea simply Guinea. Though still under the British Crown, Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasa land have merged. And through Gamal Abdel Nasser's efforts to federate the Arab world, ancient Egypt has acquired new ties and a new title (with Syria)--the United Arab Republic. Aswan Dam Will Dwarf the Pyramids Africa's transition is by no means entirely political. Red road lines lacing the new map trace highways greatly improved over those of a decade ago. Black railway lines have lengthened, notably in Nigeria and Sudan. More than 120 new red stars-making a total of 390-spot airports in the ever-expanding aerial communications that serve the conti nent's 225,000,000 people. Staff writer Nathaniel Kenney visited Egypt shortly after work had begun on the Aswan High Dam. He reports that the structure whose name appears on the map beside the Nile above Aswan-will create a lake 300 miles long to irrigate 2,000,000 acres of desert land. Farther south, in the triangle between the Blue and White Nile above Khartoum, Sudan has built the new 75-mile Manaqil Canal to bring agricultural life to 600,000 barren acres. To dig it, engineers tackled a strip of ground three-fourths the length of the Suez Canal. But against the 10 years' labor of tens of thousands of workers cutting Suez, 750 men, with modern machinery and financial aid from United States and international banks, finished Manaqil Canal in 20 months.