South-Africa in 36 historical maps
The name Africa may be derived from the Phoenician word afar, meaning “dust”. The name Africa Terra (“Land of the dust”) was introduced by the ancient Romans to identify the northern part of the continent that corresponds to modern-day Tunisia. On classical Greek maps (e.g. Strabo’s world map) the name Libia was mostly used to identify the third known continent. During the Middle Ages, as the Europeans increased their knowledge and awareness of the size of the African continent, they progressively extended the name of Africa to the rest of the continent. Waldseemuller’s large map of 1507 - being partly based on Ptolemy’s ideas and new discovery’s - was one of the first world maps depicting the whole continent, including the South-African coastline. On the earlier world map of Martellus (1490) the southern part was truly out of shape; on Cantino’s world map (1502) it was corrected on account of information provided by Portuguese explorers. The first separately printed maps of the southern part of Africa appeared in the 16th century. The city Cape Town (Kaapstad) was founded in 1652 by Dutchman Jan van Riebeeck. Today it’s the political capital of South-Africa. The first maps of the city were (re)drawn by cartographers of the VOC (Dutch East-Indies Company).