Dark-continent meaning

(dated, informal) Africa.

1879, De Lesseps, the engineer, has been visiting the Boy of Tunis, and trying to get his consent to the scheme for piercing tho isthmus of Zaber, and opening up communication with the interior of the Dark Continent by water.The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 March 1879

1903 Africa is still the Dark Continent, the land of the unknown, the remarkable.The Advertiser Adelaide, 10 November 1903.

noun
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Africa considered as mysterious, especially to Europeans and people of European descent, chiefly when its interior was largely unknown to them. Henry M. Stanley was probably the first to use the term in Through the Dark Continent (1878).
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Africa, esp. before the late 19th cent., when little was known of it.
proper name
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Origin of dark-continent

Victiorian nickname. It referred to the fact that little was known in the West about the interior of the continent.