People have been living along the Niger for millennia – it’s a lifeline in the West African Sahel region. Some of the more well-known cities along the Niger, such as Timbuktu and Djenne, are home to archaeological sites that go back to at least 3000 BC, and likely further.
It’s like when people ask, ‘Who discovered America?’. You’re supposed to say that it’s Christopher Columbus (or Leif Erikson) when clearly that answer is wrong, because people were living in America well before Europeans came.
So who discovered the Niger? Not a clue, and nobody else knows either. The Niger was known to the Greek Claudius Ptolemy, who lived around the 1st century AD in Egypt, so European knowledge of the Niger goes back at least two millennia. Actual exploration by Europeans didn’t occur until much, much later. Typically Europeans would build trade posts along the coast and let Arabs sell slaves to them, which would then be shipped off to the new world.
Few Europeans ventured inland until the late 18th and early 19th centuries when the Scramble for Africa began in earnest. In 1788 the British established the Africa Association, a society that promoted exploration of the West African interior. Among other things they aspired to find Timbuktu and the source of the Niger – men like Henry Nicholls and John Ledyard pioneered British exploration of this region, and the vast majority of them died of dysentery and malaria well before they found anything. They weren’t the most fruitful of expeditions, and none of these early explorers made it as far as Timbuktu.
Remember that the Ancient Greeks and Romans knew about these places well before the British attempted to rediscover them, and the Malians and other indigenous people of the region well before that. The first Brit to reach Timbuktu was the Scotsman Alexander Laing in 1826.
He was strangled to death shortly afterwards.
IF You love what i do, please take 2 minutes of your time and share and comment also
Latest posts by Innoswagzy Pera (see all)
- Read – How JAMB Will Be Marked And Graded 2020 - December 7, 2019
- How Can I Choose The Right Course To Study? - December 7, 2019
- Helpful Ways To Read Effectively And Remember Everything - December 7, 2019