Escaping To Discover The Truth Essay

884 words - 4 pages

A land baked by the equatorial sun, blasted by the winds of the Mediterranean stirring the grains of Sahara sands, rainforests by which one can naught but tell where the moisture is coming from, mountains high in the east with snow covered glaciers, plains that surpass the steppes of Asia and the plains of North America, and coastal paradises where the sea winds wash gently upon the shore: Africa. A land shrouded in the mists of time protected on the north by the vast Sahara Desert; a desert that blinded the early scholars’ eyes to the magnificent wonder and beauty that is the second largest land mass on this third rock from the sun. A limited worldview plagued early scholars of the grandeur ...view middle of the document...

Gilbert and Reynolds continue with: “…have been profoundly shaped by geography and environment. Africa’s relationship to the non-African world has also been shaped by geography and environment” (4). Hence, as the harshness of the Sahara prevented inroads of discovery and settlement from the north deep treks into the interior were prevented by sheer distance and disease that only locals were immune to during a time of little resistance.
Three vicious diseases stand prevented the early exploration and exploitation of the African Continent: 1) Malaria, 2) Yellow Fever, and 3) Trypanosomiasis [sleeping sickness]. The mosquito borne diseases malaria and yellow fever that discouraged settlement or rather the resettlement of survivors of the Great Migration out of Africa millennia beforehand. “However, there are particularly virulent strains of malaria that occur only in the tropics and that are much more common in Africa than in other tropical places” (10). Yellow Fever being the second deterrent to settlement was not as harsh on the Africans as the disease was on newcomers. “Outsiders, who usually arrived as adults, dropped like flies, whereas Africans, whose childhood experience of the disease meant they were immune to it, were unaffected” (11). Finally, the weakness of the equine element of any invading party was the fatal bite of the tsetse fly. Without the assistance of the horse military campaigns were halted by insects the size of a common housefly. Of course, this had a devastating effect on the development of the interior of Africa as well. “Trypanosomiasis is historically important because it prevented people in large swaths of the continent from keeping cattle. –The other historically important of effect of Trypanosomiasis is...

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