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James McCarthy

Scottish explorer, naturalist, surgeon, and philologist who opened up the Niger region to European trade and influence, was born in Kirkwall, Scotland, the eldest son of a Royal Navy captain, John Baikie. He was educated for a time at Kirkwall Grammar School in Orkney, but mainly privately, in company with his cousins. He gained a medical degree from Edinburgh University, where he also developed his interest in natural history. In 1848, together with Robert Heddie, he wrote the first part of a published study of the natural history of Orkney, Historia naturalis Orcadensis. In the same year he joined the Royal Navy as an assistant surgeon, serving on no less than five different ships in the Mediterranean before being appointed in the same capacity to Haslar Hospital, Portsmouth, from 1851 to 1854. It was from here in 1854 that through the patronage of the influential Sir Roderick ...

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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 ...