‘West Africa’. In: 'Statistical atlas of Christian missions', 1910

This 1910 map of West Africa - including western North Africa - shows the locations of Protestant missions using place-names underlined in red. It does not emphasize which specific missionary societies are active, but mainly in which colonies they are located and to which Western power those areas ‘belong’.

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The color-coding that represents the Western 'Scramble for Africa' is not explained in a legend, but can be classified as follows: pink represents British territory, grey is French, orange is German, green is Portuguese, brown is Spanish and yellow is the category ‘other’ (Liberia was sovereign, Congo was the only Belgian colony, Libya was Italian and Morocco was divided into French and Spanish protectorates). The influence of the nationality of the colonial power in the distribution of missions comes to the fore when considering the significant under-representation of missions in French colonial areas. Given the predominantly Catholic background of French settlers, it is possible that these colonies did not have an accessible social climate for the establishment of Protestant missionaries. It is striking that the ‘Work among Jews’ is referred to separately, although this only refers to four places on the ‘E’ inset map of North Africa, respectively in Mogador, Tangiers, Algiers and Tunis.

This atlas originated from the first World Mission Conference in Edinburgh in 1910. The collection of data on culture, geography, or socio-economic aspects of local populations has played a major role in the mission movement. The process of globalization increasingly brought knowledge together and in the process acquired a more statistical character. The geographical distribution of missions and the position of missionaries in society also cannot be separated from the imperialist expansion and colonial relations of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.