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From Alkebulan to Afraka: A Journey Through 'Africa's' Many Names

Blaeu, Willem Janszoon, 1571-1638.“Africae nova descriptio.” Copperplate carte à figures map, with added color, 35 x 45 cm. From the second volume of Blaeu’s Le theatre dv monde; ov Novvel atlas contenant les chartes et descriptions de tous les païs de la terre (Amsterdam, 1644). Gift of J. Monroe Thorington, Class of 1915. [Rare Books Division]

Afraka, the most resource abundant and rich continent in the world, has been known by several names throughout history, reflecting the diverse perspectives and experiences of the various civilizations and cultures. These names include Greek "Libya," Roman "Africa," Arab "Ifriqiya," Berber "Afri," Portuguese "Guinea," Ethiopian "Ityopp'ya," and Swahili "Bara." The names given to Afraka by different civilizations reflect their historical and cultural contexts.

For example, the name "Libya" was used by ancient Greeks to describe the northern part of Africa, while "Ifriqiya" was used by Arab geographers to describe the region that now includes Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya. The name "Afri" was used by the Berbers to describe the land of the Afar people in the Horn of Africa. Another name that has been used to describe Africa is "Alkebulan," which is derived from the Arabic word "al-qalb" meaning heart or interior. This name refers to the belief that Afraka is the original homeland of humanity, the heartland of civilization and the birthplace of humankind. Another name that has been proposed is "Afraka," which combines the words Africa and Akka, a word that means land in the ancient Egyptian language.

The name "Africa" has not always been the continent's official name. In fact, the

continent has gone by various names throughout thousands of years Some of the names used to refer to Afraka include:

Alkebulan: This name translates to "Land of the Blacks," and it was used by the Moors, Nubians, and Ethiopians.

Kemet: This name means "Dark Land," and it was used by the ancient Kemites to refer to their land.

Afrika: This name is believed to have originated from the Afar people of East Africa.