Tuesday, December 1, 2009

African explorers

Even in the 18th century, much of the interior of Africa was unfamiliar to Europeans. Rather they limited themselves to trade along the coast, first in gold, ivory, spices, and later slaves. In 1788 Joseph Banks, the botanist who'd sailed across the Pacific Ocean with Cook, went as far as to found the African Association to promote the exploration of the interior of the continent. What follows is a list of those explorers whose names went down in history.

Ibn Battuta (1304-1377) travelled over 100,000 kilometres from his home in Morocco. According to the book he dictated, he travelled as far as Beijing and the Volga River; scholars say it's unlikely he travelled everywhere he claims to have.

James Bruce (1730-94) was a Scottish explorer who set off from Cairo in 1768 to find the source of the River Nile. He arrived at Lake Tana in 1770, confirming that this lake was the origin of the Blue Nile, one of the tributaries of the Nile.

Mungo Park (1771-1806) Mungo Park was a Scottish explorer he hired by the African Association in 1795 to investigate the course of the Niger river in Western Africa. Mungo Park was a 23 year-old scottish surgeon surgeon who had just returned from a journey to Sumatra on a ship of the East India Company. There he had discovered 6 species of fish, he had published descriptions in a Scientific Journal. In 1795, Park had gone to Piscina, on an offer to research further into Africa. Park had accepted and a severe fever overcame him during his journey. Park also had been captured by certain muslim leaders. After he had got out of the Prison he had wandered around and had finally found the Niger River. Park was amazed at how beautiful the River was. Park had stated "I saw with infinite pleasure, the object of my, mission". Park had returned home to London where became famous on his publications of his voyage across Africa.

Later in 1806 he sailed downstream to the Bussa rapids, where he drowned, trying to escape an attack by the Africans.

Rene Caillie (1799-1838),Rene Callie was a 27 year old man who was fascinated by the stories told about peoples travels to Africa. His readings of Mungo park also stimulated his fascination. Callie had entered a contest for the first person to reach Timbuktu and reach back. He had reached Timbuktu. During Callie's trip he did not find it easy to prove to the French Authorities that a young man with no experience could discover Timbuktu and after that he won in the contest to visit Timbuktu and survive he survived to tell the tale. On his way back Callie had joined a Arab Caravan to disguised himself as an Arab to cross from Western Sahara to Morocco. Callie had stated "I am the first European to cross from the sandy ocean from the south to the north". On his return to Paris, Imagine his disappointment when he discovered that the city wasn't made of gold, as legend said, but of mud. His journey started in West Africa in March 1827, headed towards Timbuktu where he stayed for two weeks. He then crossed the Sahara (the first European to do so) in a caravan of 1,200 animals, then the Atlas Mountains to reach Tangier in 1828, from where he sailed home to France. after that Callie was known as a hero. Later, questions were asked if he was telling the truth or not.

Heinrich Barth (1821-1865) was a German working for the British government. His first expedition (1844-1845)was from Rabat (Morocco) across the coast of North Africa to Alexandria (Egypt). His second expedition (1850-1855) took him from Tripoli (Tunisia) across the Sahara to Lake Chad, the River Benue, and Timbuktu, and back across the Sahara again.

Samuel Baker (1821-1893) was the first European to see the Murchison Falls and Lake Albert, in 1864. He was actually hunting for the source of the Nile.

Richard Burton (1821-1890) was not only a great explorer but also a great scholar (he produced the first unabridged translation of The Thousand Nights and a Night).

Richard Burton

Richard Burton was one of the most famous explorers in Africa . Burton's Life story is filled with adventure. In 1853 Burton was disguiseeed as a Moslem he made dangerous pilgrammages to Mecca. In 1854 he went to Harar in Ethiopia where capture meant death. Burton and his companion John Speke were the first Europeans to visit Somalialand. In 1856, again with John Speke, Burton returned to East Africa to look for the source of the Nile River. The trip was dangerous from Zanzibar. In 1858 they came upon Lake Tanganika but it wasn't the source of the NIle either. Burton returned home. But Speake had gone with James Grant to find the source of the Nile. Six months later they saw a lake as large as a sea. Then they were convinced that Victoria Lake was the source of the Nile River.

John Speke had recieved most of the glory for his works on the exploration the source of the Nile. In 1860 James Speke and James Grant had gone for further research of the Nile. On this Expedition Speke reported of how the kingdoms along the Nile. Speke had said "I saw that old father Nile without any doubt rises in the Victoria Lake , and as I foretold, that the Nile is the great source of the holy river which cradled the first exfounder [moses] of our religious belief".

John Hanning Speke (1827-1864) spent 10 years with the Indian Army before starting his travels with Burton in Africa. Speke discovered Lake Victoria in August 1858 which he initially believed to be the source of the Nile. Burton didn't believe him and in 1860 Speke set out again, this time with James Grant. In July 1862 he found the source of the Nile, the Ripon Falls north of Lake Victoria.

David Livingstone (1813-1873)

David Livingstone was a scotsman who also was intrigued by the mysteries of vast unexplored areas of South Africa. He as Johann Rebmann was also a missionary. ivingstone started working at a mission in sotho and had also left because of dissagreements with the boers. In 1849 Livingstone had gone with 2 game hunters to be an interpreter for an expedition northward. They had gone north to Lake Ngami in Botswana but they could not go further because of Livingstone's families' sickness at the time. After about a year Livingstone resumed his explorations.

Livingstone had heard tales of the rushing waters of the Zambezi River. He wanted to know the source of this River. Livingstone had to return to England for his families safety and when he returned his mission was destroyed by boers. Livingstone was ill and tired but he kept on his journey. In 1855 Livingstone had gone about two thousand miles when he reached the Victoria Falls. Livingstone had returned to Engaland in 1856. In 1862 Livingstone had returned to Central Africa with a backing of the British Government. He was on his journey and he become sick and was in a African hut for 6 months. Livingstone had been in Central Africa for 8 years and the outside world had little information of his health and his whereabouts.

In 1871 Henry Stanley a 28 year-old foriegn correspondent had heard rumors that a white man was living at the Vilage of Ujiji near lake Tanganika. On November 10,1871 Stanley entered the village and there he found the sick Livingstone. Stanley had brought the correct medical supplies to let Livingstone recover. In 1872 both Stanley and Livingstone had gone to explore lakes and rivers of Central Africa. Livingstone had died and was remembered as a hero for his explorations in Central Africa.

Stanley had then left Livingstone to research further. Speke finds Lake Victoria and names it after the Queen of England.

Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904) was a journalist sent by the New York Herald to find Livingstone who had been presumed dead for four years as no-one in Europe had heard from him. Stanley found him at Uiji on the edge of Lake Tanganyika in Central Africa on 13 November 1871. Stanley's words "Dr Livingstone, I presume?" have gone down in the history as one of the greatest understatements ever. Dr Livingstone is said to have replied, "You have brought me new life." Livingstone had missed the Franco-Prussian War, the opening of the Suez Canal, and the inauguration of the transatlantic telegraph. Livingstone refused to return to Europe with Stanley and continued on his journey to find the source of the Nile. He died in May 1873 in the swamps around Lake Bangweulu. His heart and viscera were buried, then his body was carried to Zanzibar, from where it was shipped to Britain. He was buried at Westminster Abbey in London.

Unlike Livingstone, Stanley was motivated by fame and fortune. He travelled in large, well-armed expeditions -- he had 200 porters on his expedition to find Livingstone, who often travelled with only a few bearers. Stanley's second expedition set off from Zanzibar towards Lake Victoria (which he sailed around in his boat, the Lady Alice), then headed into Central Africa towards Nyangwe and the Congo (Zaire) River, which he followed for some 3,220 kilometres from its tributaries to the sea, reaching Boma in August 1877. He then set off back into Central Africa to find Emin Pasha, a German explorer believed to be in danger from warring cannibals.

Mary Henrietta Kingsley (October 13, 1862June 3, 1900) was an English writer and explorer who greatly influenced European ideas about Africa and African people.

Mary arrived in Luanda in Angola in August 1893. She lived with local people who taught her necessary skills for surviving in the African jungles, and often went into dangerous areas alone.

She returned to Africa in 1895 in order to study cannibal tribes. She travelled by canoe up the Ogowe River where she collected specimens of previously unknown fish. After meeting the Fang tribe she climbed the 13,760 feet Mount Cameroon by a route unconquered by any other European.

They said that news of her adventures reached England and when she returned home in October 1895 she was greeted by journalists who were eager to interview her. She was now famous and over the next three years she toured the country, giving lectures about life in Africa.

Mary Kingsley upset the Church of England when she criticized missionaries for attempting to change the people of Africa. She talked about, and indeed defended, many aspects of African life that had shocked many English people, including polygamy. For example explaining the "seething mass of infamy, degradation and destruction going on among the Coast native... [as] the natural consequence of the breaking down of an ordered polygamy into a disordered monogamy". She argued that a "black man is no more an undeveloped white man than a rabbit is an undeveloped hare" as well asserting that she did not regard "the native form as 'low'. or 'inferior'... but as a form of mind of a different sort to white men's - a very good form of mind too, in its way". She was, however, fairly conservative on other issues and did not support the women's suffrage movement.

Johann Rebmann

Johann Rebmann was a German missionary, who was not like Mungo Park or Rene Callie. The purpose of Rebmann's explorations is to find a place where he might serve God. His most helpful weapon was a umbrella, which he used to fight off lions and would be attackers. Rebmann was the european explorer who kept a careful record of his journey. Together with his partner he paved the way for later explorers. Rebmann had found the Mount Kilimanjaro which was located in Tanzania. His missionary work was more difficult than his exploration efforts. he and his friend Johann Ludwig Krapf, tried to enter Africa from the Indian Ocean coast. In addition, they are also credited with being the first Europeans to find Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya.[1] Their work there is also thought to have had effects on future African expeditions by Europeans, including the exploits of Sir Richard Burton, John Hanning Speke, and David Livingstone.[2] After losing most of his eyesight and entering into a brief marriage, he died of pneumonia.

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