Media in Cooperation and Transition
Brunnenstraße 9, 10119 Berlin, Germany

Our other projects

Blurred Borders

MiCT The Niles
Land disputes in Sudan and South Sudan hinge on border demarcation. Yet, more than 1,000 years of maps demonstrate the cartographic fluidity of boundaries.
2.04.2014  |  Berlin

Historical claims are based on supposedly original delineations. Life on the ground, however, often bears little relation to these abstract constructs.



The Persian mathematician Muhammad Ibn al-Khwarizmi developed the concept of algorithms, a term which was inspired by his name. From his home in Baghdad, the scholar based his cartography on the ancient “Geography” of Greco-Roman writer Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria.
Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire de Strasbourg







The Andalusian Egyptologist Muhammad al-Idrisi drew the most advanced world maps of his era for King Roger II of Sicily. His delineation of the Niles remained author-itative for more than seven hundred years.
Bibliotheque nationale de France






The German Hebraist Sebastian Münster revived geography in Europe with his “Cosmographia”. What is now South Sudan was then called “Azania”, a name adopted by Southern rebels in the 1960s.
Afriterra Foundation






The Flemish historiographer Peter Bertius drew this map for King Louis XIII of France. What is now Sudan and South Sudan was then perceived as part of the Ethiopian Empire.
Private Collection Leila Bendra-Lehnert & Dominik Lehnert






The German classical scholar Christoph Cellarius drew this map according to the Ancient Greek geographer Strabo, who had traveled to Kush. What is now South Sudan he dubbed “Elephantophagi”, meaning “the elephant-eaters”.
Private Collection Leila Bendra-Lehnert & Dominik Lehnert







The English cartographer John Cary published “A New Map of Africa from the latest Authorities”. What is now Sudan was called “Nubia” and “Kordofan”. What is now South Sudan was still largely unexplored by outsiders.
Afriterra Foundation






The English cartographer Edward Stanford produced this map of the “Anglo Egyptian Condominium”, the “British Sphere of Influence” and the Belgian “Lado Enclave”. The name “Sudan” had only recently been introduced.
Afriterra Foundation






The Russian cartographer Vladimir Bessarabov produced this map for the United Nations. It stressed that “the boundaries and names shown and the designations used did not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the UN”.
United Nations Cartographic Section