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This area comprised at least the western part of the region called Sudan (not to be confused with the modern country). The term is probably a direct translation of the Arabic term Bilad al-Sudan meaning "Land of the blacks", corresponding to about the same area. There were various kinds of people in the area, including the Jews of Bilad el-Sudan. Some of the greatest states of those considered part of Negroland were the Bornu Empire and the Sokoto Caliphate.
"Negroland" represented the area between the region of Guinea and "Zaara" or "The Desart", the Sahara Desert. "Guinea", not to be confused with the modern country, then referred to the south-facing coast of West Africa and the land stretching upriver from there. Herman Moll's 1727 map labels these "Grain Coast", "Slave Coast", and "Gold Coast". "Negroland" was the territory to the north of this, along the east–west axis of the Niger River, and the west-facing coast. Moll's map labels Gambia, Senegal, Mandinga, and many other territories.