ABSTRACT

Not unlike many men of his professional milieu, but also unlike the more peripatetic AGS Presidents after him, Charles Daly himself never set foot in most of the places about which he studied, lectured, and became an authoritative expert. This was true for the far-flung and distant such as the Arctic and north Pole, as well as locations relatively closer to new York City such as Central America. In this chapter I turn to Daly’s influential armchair explorations of distant Africa in the nineteenth century. The chapter revolves around an issue largely ignored or simply off the map of most histories of American geography – the role of geographical knowledge and practice complicit with colonization of Central Africa’s Congo region. While many scholars have examined representations of Africa in popular nineteenth-century American geographical media such as textbooks, maps, and magazines; and/or have studied the relative insignificance, especially of Central Africa, to American consumers of geography until the early twentieth century;1 this chapter outlines a more concrete, if you will, diplomatic and business relationship between the AGS and Central African exploration, colonization, and development decades earlier.