Why is Africa Called The Dark Continent? (FAQs, Reasons)

Why is Africa Called The Dark Continent?

How westerners use the term “Dark Continent” to refer to Africa has given rise to a great deal of debate because of the connotations associated with the phrase.

This may have been due to the lack of direct contact between the major powers of the time, who were Europeans, and what they had with Africa’s people, language, culture, and tradition.

Thus, this article will explain the Dark Continent, the location of Africa and tips about Africa.

Where is Africa?

Africa is a continent that is south of Europe and between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

Africa is home to some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes and sights that can’t be found anywhere globally.

The African continent is one of the most temperate regions on earth. The fact that it can generate and maintain life is evidence of the environmental bounty that the continent possesses.

The oldest members of the Homo genus, which include great apes and the Homo sapiens, or modern humans, have fossilized remains discovered in Africa, particularly in Eastern Africa.

However, despite all that Africa has to offer, it has had a reputation for centuries as a place that is impoverished, backward, and dangerous.

Perhaps nothing exemplifies this more than its antiquated nickname, the “Dark Continent.”

Read more:

Resources of Africa:

Africa has fewer natural disasters, but its mineral riches were a key source of money for Europeans from the 16th to 20th century, when most African countries gained independence from their colonial masters.

More so, natural disasters are also rarer on the continent compared to other continents like Europe.

Read on to find out why africa is called “The Dark Continent”.

Is there still slavery in Africa?

Slavery in Africa had a long history prior to the arrival of Christian missionaries and colonialism. At the same time, traders from Africa to other continents, particularly Asia, had established connections.

There had been developments in places like Egypt that could have contributed significantly to the current state of global knowledge and technology.

Despite this, a great deal of African history does not have much to say about African achievements, technology, or ingenious methods of doing things.

One hypothesis is that the african existing knowledge, traditions, religions, and languages were purposefully undermined by outsiders who came to the continent later and judged that the african history was terrible and not worthy of being documented as history.

Europe had a good deal of information on African activities. It even had rudimentary maps produced by early African explorers before the Europeans had more sophisticated instruments, but they ignored this information.

It’s also worth noting that the fight against slavery and the activity of missionaries in Africa fueled Europeans’ racial stereotypes of Africans, portraying them as barbaric and impenetrable.

Read more:

Why is Africa Called The Dark Continent?

Africa’s reputation as “dark” would serve to encourage nineteenth-century exploration.

The following are some of the reasons why Africa is known as the “black continent”:

1. Lack of knowledge:

Because of the lack of accurate maps and a lack of knowledge about the land’s natural features, such as rivers, mountains, forests, deserts, hills and valleys, and so on, africans have been referred to as the “dark continent.”

They were also ignorant of African cultures and languages. However, this is no longer valid because accurate maps of Africa depicting the entirety of the continent are now available.

2. Mystery and Savagery:

The Europeans called Africa the “black continent” because they thought it would be mysterious and wild not knowing much about the African people or the area. 

3. No natural harbors:

One of the major reasons Africa was called a “Dark Continent” was because the African terrain (in the past) was quite difficult, and there were no natural harbors to accommodate the white sojourners who traveled by water

Additionally, the dense Rain Forests and even the Sahara desert generally limited the extent to which Europeans could explore Africa.

Africa’s reputation as the “dark continent” may stem from the region’s history of resource exploitation being hampered by the region’s hot, humid climate and dense forest cover.

4. Slothful idlers and slave traders:

Another major reasons Africa was called a “Dark Continent” was because the europeans portrayed the Africans not as brothers but rather as slothful idlers and slave traders.

This issue arose in the latter half of the 16th century when abolitionists launched a vigorous campaign against the slave trade and succeeded in putting an end to it in Britain.

They then shifted their focus to the slave trade in Africa, where they were also successful in putting an end to it there.

However, in today’s world, there is a very different justification for referring to Africa as the “dark continent” than there was in the past, which is the one that has all of the racist connotations attached to it.

Africa as a “Dark Continent” in Modern Times:

Africa is known as the “dark continent” in modern times because most of the continent has limited access to electricity, which results in a nighttime environment that is notably darker than that of the rest of the world.

Africa appears much darker than the rest of the planet when seen from space at night due to the absence of light pollution.

Thus, it’s possible that calling Africa the “dark continent” isn’t as offensive as it seems, depending on how the term is used.

Read more:

Frequently Asked Questions on Africa as a Dark Continent:

Who founded Africa?

The Europeans came up with the word “Africa”. The Romans brought it to the West after the three Punic battles between Publius Cornelius Scipio and the people of Carthage, which is now Tunisia, from 264 BC to 146 BC.

Which country is a richest in Africa?

Nigeria ($514.05 Bn)

Why did Africa not develop?

One reason Africa will never grow is that its leaders haven’t taken care of its infrastructure for decades. Many African countries don’t have good roads, electricity, schools, or hospitals, which makes life hard for the people there.

Why is Africa a third world country?

Asia and Africa were considered Third World countries because they were not part of the United States or Soviet Union. As a result of the Soviet Union’s demise, the term “Third World” is now considered outdated and offensive to many.


People have been forced to apologize in the past for using the term “Dark Continent” to describe Africa, and it is clear that the term was racist and aimed to degrade the African people when it was first coined.

However, this does not mean that this is the general truth in today’s world.

In some cases, the term “dark continent” may not be as offensive as it first appears.

Awesome one; I hope this article answered your question.

Editor’s Recommendations:

If you find this article good, please share with a friend.

You May Also Like