Dark in this context means unknown or unseen (i.e. unexplored).
This word use is the same in phrase “Dark side of the moon”. This has been the source of some confusion with some people declaring that the phrase is wrong. Its not wrong, its just that dark is being used in the sense of unknown or unseen rather than unilluminated.
Yup - the ayes have it. It’s so embarrassing. I think I’ve got a pretty extensive vocabulary (well, good enough to win my share of Scrabble games), but I never considered “dark” in this context as “unexplored”. I knew the definition, I just never put the two together. Man, humilty sucks. :o) Thanks all…
As I’m a Civilization III player, it makes perfect sense to me. The whole map of the world is literally darkened and invisible at the start of the game, except the little space around your starting point. You have to explore by sending your units to look around, or else trade for maps with other civs, to get a look at whatall’s out there. Until eventually, later in the game, the whole world map gets lit up for all the players as they trade maps with each other.
I always thought because it was relaitivly unexplored, hard to penetrate and somewhat mysterious to boot.
In the North you have the sierra, in the South you have thick jungle with rivers that weren’t really navigate from the coasts until steam was invented. That keeps a fair bit of the continent somewhat inaccessible to exploration. And throughout the ages, there have been all sorts of interesting things imagined in the interior.
The Mouth of the nile, the moutains of the moon, the kingdom of prester john, the lost 10 tribes of isreal, King Solomon’s mines, and of course, the cool looking lost civilization overgrown by the jungle.