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Mapmakers once referred to the southern Atlantic Ocean because the Ethiopian Ocean

“The Atlantic Ocean became is named Ethiopian Ocean except the 19th century,” reads textual relate on a graphic posted on Instagram closing month.

It involves what looks esteem a half of an extinct map exhibiting the western coastline of Africa, the ocean labelled “Aethiopian Ocean.”

The graphic’s caption adds: “Currently’s southern half of the Atlantic Ocean in classical geographical works became is named Aethiopian or Ethiopian Sea or Ocean. The name remained in maps from conventional instances except 19th century.” But a comment on the post elements out: “Totally extensive, with the exception of Ethiopia is on the varied facet of the continent!”

And Facebook’s truth-checking machine (Instagram belongs to Facebook) has flagged the post as presumably false.

Ethiopia is a country within the Horn of Africa, on the jap facet of the continent. Is it staunch that the Atlantic Ocean, on Africa’s west fly, became once known as the Ethiopian Ocean?

An conventional name

Ethiopia is undoubtedly one of many oldest international locations within the arena. Its name derives from the everyday Greek “Aethiopia”, which Europeans used to pronounce varied ingredients of Africa. It is mentioned several instances in each and each the Iliad and the Odyssey, conventional sagas acknowledged to be written by Homer bigger than 2,000 years within the past.

In 2014, Princeton University within the US held an exhibition of its library sequence of extinct maps of Africa produced by European mapmakers from 1541 to 1880. The exhibition stays on-line.

A misshapen 1554 map from the sequence doesn’t name any of Africa’s oceans, and roughly labels the western plot of recently’s Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon as “Aethiopia.” (It also says “monoculi”—one-eyed folk—dwell there.)

Related: Why is Central Africa missing from so many maps?

But a map dated 1584, 30 years later, names the ocean to the west of Africa and south of the equator as “Oceanus Aethiopicus”—Latin for “Ethiopian Ocean.” This is recently’s South Atlantic Ocean. On the map, the ocean north of the equator is labelled “Oceanus Atlanticus,” the Atlantic Ocean.

The next map within the on-line Princeton sequence is from 1644. Again, the Ethiopian Ocean is west of Africa and south of the equator. The waters north of the equator are named “Mare Atlanticum”—the Atlantic Sea. A sea is mostly understood to be smaller than an ocean.

The Ethiopian Ocean begins to recede in a map dated 1710. Right here, the coastal plot from Africa’s western bulge to its southern tip is the “Ethiopian Sea.” All the pieces west of that, north and south of the equator to a coastline diagnosed as “half of Brasil,” is the Atlantic Ocean.

Related: Africa as you’ve doubtlessly never seen it earlier than, courtesy of NASA

On the map, nearly all of central Africa—but now not recently’s Ethiopia—is labeled: “ETHIOPIA this Nation is wholly Unknown to the EUROPEANS”.

The Ethiopian Ocean doesn’t appear in any of the later maps within the Princeton sequence, which date from 1737 to 1880. A petite exception is a French map from 1787, which labels the ocean south of Africa as “Ocean Meridion ou Ethiopien” – the Meridian or Ethiopian Ocean.

The sequence is magnificent a pattern of the many extinct European maps of Africa, so it’s now not proof that the name didn’t persist on varied maps except the 19th century, or 1800s. But it does demonstrate that in spite of all the pieces the southern half of the Atlantic Ocean became once is named the Ethiopian Ocean.

This file became written by Africa Check, a non-partisan truth-checking group. Scrutinize the fresh fraction on their website online.

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