Atlantropa was a gigantic engineering and colonization idea designed by the German architect Herman Sörgel in the 1920s.
He planned to unite the continents of Europe and Africa through the partial evaporation of the Mediterranean Sea (drain 1/5 of the Mediterranean sea), enabling millions of Europeans to get a new life in what would become the Eurafrican supercontinent called Atlantropa. The new continent would produce food for 150 million people.
The plan was inspired by the then-new comprehension of the Messinian salinity crisis, a pan-Mediterranean geological accident that took place 5- 6 million years ago.
The basin of the Mediterranean Sea is hydrologically deficient, which means that it loses water by evaporation rather than gains by the supplying of rivers.
Its central object was a hydroelectric dam to be constructed crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, which would have produced tremendous amounts of hydroelectricity (365.000MW) and would have led to the lowering of the surface of the Mediterranean Sea by up to 200 meters (660 ft), opening up significant new areas for settlements.
Sicily and Italy become enormous, and the Greek Islands are merged to form one large landmass. More than 240 kilometers (150 miles) of new lands have been reclaimed from the sea all along its previous boundaries more so in Turkey. As it turns out, Soergel estimated that this project would add at least 660,000 square kilometers (over 250,000 sq miles) to the base of the neighboring nations of the Mediterranean, or about the equivalent of the combined landmasses of Germany and Italy.
Land that would have surfaced had Atlantropa happened
The plan proposed five enormous dams as well:
- The Strait of Gibraltar
- The Strait of the Dardanelles
- Within Sicily and Tunisia to provide a highway and additionally lower the inner Mediterranean
- On the Congo River beneath its Kwah tributary to refill the Mega-Chad basin contributing freshwater to irrigate the Sahara and building a shipping way to the heart of Africa
- Suez Canal enlargement and locks to sustain Red Sea connection
The plans didn’t quite work out so well for Sorgel. The Germans have lost WWII, things have taken another direction, as Germany’s idea was to conquer all of the territories required to build the dams with sufficient materials gained and no permission required.
Below is an imaginary map of Europe if the Nazis still managed to win the Second World War and implement the Atlantropa project.