oa East African Geographical Review - Towards an historical geography of Uganda

Volume 1963, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1937-6812



""One of the principal attractions of prehistory is the opportunity it affords for studying the interplay of social aspirations and environing nature over long periods of time ... The relationship between Man and external nature is... a dynamic one"" So wrote Grahame Clark in his study of Prehistoric Europe. This descriptionption could well fit historical geography. Prehistory, like historical geography, is a synthetic study and must not be confused with archaeology which is one of its tools. It is from the stand point of prehistory that I approach historical geography, a branch of geography that has been insufficiently. exploited in Africa. In Europe it is possible to map data from historical documents and maps. In Africa accurate maps and mappable statistics were non-existent or rare before the nineteenth century. This deterrent is not insurmountable however and a start is being made to prepare an African atlas of prehistory1, but we must be prepared to travel further and to construct maps from which valid interpretations can be deduced rather than to place locations on a map as an aid to the historian or archaeologist. It is the task of the geographer to indicate the significance of spatial relationships in both the present and the past.

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