Africa and its European and Asian environment, by Jean Jolly

A historical atlas for everyone

Couverture de l'atlas. Grand Prix algérianiste 2009. Grand Prix Afrique noire 2009.

Precise and well documented, Jean Jolly's atlas, L'Afrique et son environnement européen et asiatique (Africa and its European and Asian environment), shows us the comparative development of Africa, Europe and Asia, from prehistoric times to the present day. The 50 coloured maps (28x28 format), commented by clear and informative captions, are one of the original features of this work.

This book is an excellent introduction to the history of Africa. It is an initiatory voyage through the centuries and the fascinating discovery of a continent which was the cradle of humanity. Today, this continent has become, by virtue of its natural resources and wealth, the theatre for renewed competition between Europe, Asia and America. Very diversified peoples have left behind them admirable vestiges (Egyptians, Sudanese, Ethiopians, Bantus, Berbers, Carthaginians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Indonesians, Arabs, Chinese, Turks, Europeans, etc.) ; some have left behind them indelible cultural landmarks (animists, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and even secular authorities).

To the east of the continent, some advanced civilisations, such as the Axum, founded by a mythical descendant of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, established, from Ancient times, very strong links with the peoples of the forest.

To the North, in Roman Africa, invaded by the Barbarians coming from Germany, Saint Augustine, father of the Latin Church, planted the basic tenets of Christianity. It was the rulers of Cairo who first repelled the Mongols of Genghis Khan, saving Africa from a devastating occupation. It was from these Mediterranean coasts that Islam extended its domination up to Spain and into the very heartlands of the kingdoms of the savannah. At the same time, Arabs and Persians, both before and after Islam, the Indonesians and even the Chinese, led by the eunuch admiral Chen Ho, took a foothold on its banks.

The Portuguese, on the lookout for a new route to India, took root here. The African peoples, from Ghana, Mali and Zimbabwe, possessing gold and precious stones, were the subject of the dreams of generations of Asians and Europeans. The latter, though primarily attracted by the Americas, have contributed to modernising the African continent. They have reaped great financial benefits but also political advantages, many Africans having contributed to the Allied victories in both World Wars.

The fruit of many years of research in France and abroad, this reference book is a precious aide-memoire which restores to African history its rightful place in world history.

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