- Robert Fay
Born in Eichstedt, Germany, Gustav Nachtigal earned his medical degree after attending several German universities. He practiced as a military surgeon until 1863 when health concerns forced his move to Algeria. He then moved to Tunis, Tunisia, where he served as a physician for the bey of Tunis, learned Arabic, and traveled often to the Saharan interior. Aborting a planned return to Germany, he began a journey in 1869 to bring gifts to the sultan of Bornu on behalf of Wilhelm I, King of Prussia. He traveled through territories presently known as Chad and Sudan, visited Tombouctou, Mali, and was the first known European to visit the Tibesti region or to make the journey from Chad to the Nile River. He faced hardships, delays, and imprisonment before reaching Cairo, Egypt in November 1874.
The expertise Nachtigal gained on these journeys led to ...
A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.