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Map "Oddities" You May Not Know: What's the Distance Between Africa and the Americas?

Following up on last week's mental maps article and how our brains may not create the most accurate of mental maps, this week we turn our gaze towards Africa.  Once again I'll ask you to picture a globe. In the image you've created, what part of the Americas is closest to Africa? 

Is it North or South America

What county?

Think you know?

Let's find out.

Using Google Earth, we will look at the distance between Florida and Africa first.


As the highlighted area shows, it is almost 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers for my metric friends) from Florida to Africa. For the sake of comparison, we will view another state: Maine

The Maine Distance
Maine is much farther north than Florida so, logically, you may be drawn to disregard Maine as a viable option, but....
...as the map reveals, Maine is only about 3100 miles (5,000 km) away from Africa.  Those of us that chose Florida likely focused on the north-south relationship, but Maine lies much farther to the east than Florida. Following this eastern train of thought, let's look at a couple of other countries.

Oh? Canada?!
At under 2,500 miles (4,000 km), Canada is closer to Africa than any state in the United States.  However, there is another nation in the Americas that is hundreds of miles closer:

East South America's Brazil
Less than 1,800 hundred miles from the coast of Africa, Brazil is closer to Africa than any other country in the Americas.  To put things in perspective, the two are about the same distance apart as Boston and Denver.

Thanks for reading!

Find out more about Africa by reading an article from our Western Sahara Special. During the week-long series, we glimpsed at turmoil faced by Western Sahara's refugees.  This series included some of the most read articles in our archives.

On the subject of oceans, challenge yourself to this quiz and see if you can match the islands to the correct ocean.


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