National Geographic : 1891 Apr 30
32 Herbert G. Ogden-Geography of the Land. The professions of the African powers are peaceful, but in the division of these unknown millions of square miles it requires but little penetration to discern the elements for protracted strife in future generations. The agreement between Germany and England, by far the most important of the compacts to extend the protection of European nations to particular zones not em braced in the Kongo Free State, exemplifies in a marked degree the disputes that may arise, and with what avidity the civilized nations have sought mutual recognition of their right to domi nate in specified spheres. As might have been expected, how ever, in an attempt to divide great areas that have not even been mapped, and with an economic value still to be determined, the boundaries of the spheres are oftentimes indefinite, and instead of settling disputed questions, but defer them to the generations yet to come. There are colonies, protectorates, and spheres of influence, with boundaries sometimes so ill defined that we may conceive they have been purposely left indeterminate, that at the proper time the most powerful may push their frontiers to in clude regions that the adventurous may proclaim desirable ac quisitions. The area of Africa is computed at nearly 12,000,000 square miles; and about 9,500,000 square miles are claimed by the powers as under their control, protectorate, or influence within the tentative boundaries that seem to have been very generally agreed upon. Fully 83 per cent. of this area has been acquired during the past fifteen years. We have seen during this period the possessions of Spain increase from 3,500 to 200,000 square miles; England, from 280,000 to 2,000,000; France, from 280,000 to 2,300,000, while Italy and Germany, that were without a square rod a few years ago, now claim extensive areas-Italy about 360,000 and Germany over 1,000,000 square miles. Portugal, though not less grasping, seems to have been less successful, as she has acquired less than 100,000 square miles. Perhaps hav ing encountered a more powerful nation in her path may account for this, but the total area within her " sphere " is nevertheless not insignificant, reaching as it does over three-quarters of a million of square miles. In the Kongo Free State we find an other million square miles, which many believe will ultimately become a Belgian colony ; but in any event, occupying as it does the larger part of the basin of the Kongo, it is destined to be the scene of an activity in the development of the continent fruitful of the most important results.
1891 Mar 28