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Basic Information

Atlantropa (also called Panropa) was a massive project proposed by Herman Sorgel in the 1920s.

The heart of the project was a massive hydroelectric dam that would have been built across the Straight of Gibraltar. Then the water level of the Mediterranean Sea] would have been dropped by 200 meters.

This would have united the land masses of Europe and Africa into a single SuperContinent, and since it was proposed in the final decades of hard-core Empire and Colonialism, one can only imagine what sort of Imperialism would have followed. For example, plans were made to maintain the canals of Venice as a cultural landmark, but no such care was extended to African cities that would be displaced or deprived by these designs.

Sorgel's further plans involved what is essentially Terraforming here on Earth. He would have built an inland sea where the Sahara Desert is now, and somehow transformed the bottom of the Mediterranean into fertile farmland.

The plan was of course never realized, but his Atlantropa Institute, created to promote the project, existed until 1960.

See Also:
Gibraltar Tunnel
Gibraltar Bridge
Trans Global Highway



Game and Story Use

  • In an Alternate History or Bad Future some imperial power (say, Those Wacky Nazis or the Soviet Union) conquers Europe, and then decades later needs somewhere else to expand. So, they make Panropa.
    • Sorgel's notion about the Mediterranean becoming fertile farmland has me a little puzzled, since resources I watched and read for the Post Apocalyptic Decay page suggested a dried out or land-locked Mediterranean would be more likely to become an all-but-lifeless salt flat. Probably has to do with pumping out, instead of evaporating off, the water. There's plenty of other environmental ramifications as well, as world weather patterns would be disrupted by the elimination of an entire sea. Could this disruption result in water evaporating nearly as fast as it's pumped? For a real Dystopia, they conquer, drain without realizing the consequences, and then start dying in droves. It's the end of the world as we know it.
      • Yes, if the salt water was removed wholesale and not evaporated, there wouldn't be nearly so much salt left behind. (The soil would still be salty, though, but any society able to build Atlantropa in the first place can probably fix that.) The lowlands would be very hot, but that might not be a problem (depending on what you wanted to use it for).
      • For the hydro-dam to function you have to keep letting water through, which would indeed turn the Mediterranean basin into a giant salt kettle. To be honest you'd be better keeping the Med and turning the Sahara into a macro-sized solar array.
  • In a Pulp game, the plans on the Mad Scientist's drawing board might include some schematics and projections for the dam or the whole project. Perhaps his current crazed and evil schemes are just measures to bankroll his (somewhat na├»ve) Utopian big picture.
    • Or, the Mad Scientist thinks it'd be Utopian, because he's a self-centred power-mad bigot who doesn't care about the consequences. Flavor to taste.
  • Or a glowing Utopian tale may have some variation on Atlantropa as a healthy, prosperous paradise with rich Handwavium deposits.
    • If global warming keeps up, the idea of some man-made seas to redirect the flooding might be workable.
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