North Africa has been known to Europeans for a long time. After all, there, on the banks of the Nile, there was one of the first developed civilizations – Ancient Egypt.
In the east of the Mediterranean coast, on a narrow coastal strip lived a people of mariners – Phoenicians, known since biblical times for their distant travels. At the end of the VI. BC. e. Egyptian Pharaoh Neho instructed them to find out how far the south stretches Libya. The Phoenicians on the sailboats left the Red Sea and headed south. For three years, overcoming sea storms, heat, famine, seafarers skirted the mainland. During this time, without knowing it, they twice crossed the equator. The expedition members completed their journey to Carthage, on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The
The modern name of the continent appeared much later. In the northern part, tribes of Africa lived, so Africa was called the territory around the ancient Carthage, and later the name spread to the whole continent.
The Egyptian pharaohs were the organizers of the first studies of the central regions of Africa. They sent armed detachments to the south of the continent for valuable timber, gold, ivory. These trips were carried out mainly along the Nile. The vast desert of the Sahara did not allow penetrating into the central regions of the continent in any other way. Over time, information about the Phoenicians’ voyage, as well as other expeditions of the Egyptians were forgotten.
Studies of Africa during the search for a sea route to India. A new stage in the study of Africa began at the end of the XV century. In search of sea routes to India, which attracted Europeans with precious stones, gold, spices, the Portuguese royal family organized a sea expedition to the south of the Atlantic Ocean along the coast of Africa, hoping to round it and get to India.
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In 1497 under the guidance of seafarer Vasco da Gama, an expedition was again equipped to search for a sea route to India. Having rounded Africa and crossed the Indian Ocean. Vasco da Gama reached India. During the expedition the Portuguese got acquainted with the eastern coast of Africa. Returning home in 1499, the seafarers brought the first black slaves to Portugal. Thus began the most terrible era in African history – the era of the slave trade, which brought much suffering to the peoples of the mainland.