АФРИКА. / [Africa].
35.25 x 41.25 in (89.535 x 104.775 cm)
1 : 10000000
This is a c. 1952 Russian Cold War-era wall map of Africa. Dating from the beginning of the age of decolonization, color explain complex colonial claims. Pink marks French territory in West Africa and Madagascar, while green illustrates British territory. Anglo-Egyptian Sudan is filled with green and tan stripes, underlining the 'power-sharing' agreement in then effect. A golden color highlights Portuguese holdings in modern-day Angola and Mozambique. Black dashed lines mark railroads and bright red lines trace highways.
Africa and Decolonization
After the 1885-85 Berlin Conference resulted in the 'General Act of the Berlin Conference', European powers officially partitioned Africa between themselves, placing no value on the claims and priorities of the indigenous peoples. Over the ensuing sixty to eighty years, African peoples chafed under European rule and were exasperated by their claims that national self determination did not apply to the colonized. After the end of World War II, colonized Africans began to take measures into their own hands and push for independence. An uprising in Algeria was violently suppressed by the French just days after the end of World War II (1939 - 1945) in Europe. Native Kenyans began the violent Mau Mau Uprising against the British in the early 1950s, around the time this map was published. A war between the Algerians and the French erupted later in the 1950s and several other bloody conflicts and civil wars started across the continent in the subsequent decades.
The Cold War and Proxy Wars
Unfortunately for the Africans, their continent also became fertile ground for proxy wars between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War (1947 - 1989). Both powers believed that a key to winning the Cold War was amassing allies and spheres of influence worldwide. This meant gaining favor in the Third World, and through influence and monetary support for one leader or another these goals were achieved. However, this desire for influence led to the opposition funding armed uprisings against regimes that supported the other side, be they pro-American or pro-Soviet.
Publication History and Census
Although this map is both undated and unsigned (which is very peculiar for a Soviet-era map), we believe that it was likely created and published by the Main Directorate of Geodesy and Cartography under the Council of Ministers of the U.S.S.R. around 1952 due to the similarities between this piece and a map of North America published by this organization in 1952. We have been unable to locate any other cataloged examples.
Very good. Closed margin tears professionally repaired on verso. Area of reinforcement on verso off the coast of Nigeria.