Nate Berg is a freelance reporter and a former staff writer for CityLab. He lives in Los Angeles.
A lot has happened in just a few years.
There have been hundreds – maybe thousands – of armed conflicts throughout Africa between 1997 and 2011. A new map shows them all.
Created by design student Francisco Dans and the Center for Spatial Analysis at University College London, the map shows in vivid, horrible detail the overwhelming number of armed conflicts that have taken place over just a 15 year period.
The conflicts are divided into four categories: violence against civilians (red), riots/protests (blue), battles (green) and other (yellow). Some are a combination (purples and oranges), and each dot on the map is based on news reports documenting the conflicts. Clicking through to the original map and hovering over a dot there reveals brief details about each conflict.
Beyond the sheer number of conflicts is their geography. The majority of these events took place along an equatorial band, concentrating largely in countries like Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, Burundi and Somalia. There are also a few hotspots in northern Africa in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt – the battlegrounds of the so-called Arab Spring and its aftermath. A notable bright red spot exists in Zimbabwe, where there have been numerous reports of violence against civilians.
It's pretty depressing, but also a very important picture of turmoil at a continental scale.
Images via dansd.com