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Eurocentrism. An editorial

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 June 2001

H. L. WESSELING
Affiliation:
Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Meijboomlaan,1, NL-2242 PR Wassenaar, The Netherlands. E-mail: h.l.wesseling@nias.knaw.nl
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Africa is a European invention. When the Romans finally defeated Carthage, they turned the place into a province and called it Africa. Originally this referred only to a small part of Tunisia and Algeria, but it later became the name of the entire continent. The same happened to Asia, another province of the Roman Empire, in what is now called the Near East. The names of the two other continents demonstrate even more obviously their European origins: America was named after an Italian traveller – and not even Columbus! – and the term Australia comes from the fact that European voyagers who had some vague idea about the existence of this continent but knew nothing about it, called it ‘The Unknown Southland’, Terra australis incognita.

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© Academia Europaea 2001
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