Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Neo-Post-Old-School-Colonialism. Also, maps.

Why are there no websites on Senegal in English? This question could begin a long history lesson, but I'll try to make it simple.

Look at a map of Africa. See which country names you have heard or have not heard. I bet those you've heard are mostly former colonies of Great Britain, or the oddball Liberia, a resettled slave colony with closer ties to the U.S. I'd also take a gander that you haven't heard of many of the 16 former French colonies. Gabon, for example. Where in the world is Gabon?

Part of the reason I'm going to Senegal is because I'm interested in Africa as a whole, not just the part that speaks my language or has closer ties to my country. Some would call the current reality neocolonialism. I guess this is an issue I'll have to poke around while I'm there.

Check out this awesome map of Africa that shows the progression of the continent through history. Here's a screen shot.

If you're into maps, you'll also love Gap Minder, another tool that moves across time and uses great visuals. This map is a great visual of the history of the HIV pandemic.

Lastly, if your eyes aren't tired yet, World Mapper is a must see. Below is a visual of infant mortality burden by country, which is a great proxy for poverty. Try looking at other indicators- demographic, economic, health, education, it's all there.

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