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Ana Raquel Fernandes

Also known as the Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa, the African Association was founded in 1788 with the objective of sponsoring geographical expeditions to Africa, and in particular, to chart the course of the river Niger. A related aim was to open the African continent to British trade and influence. The founder member Sir Joseph Banks, a naturalist and a wealthy patron of science, was its president. The Association's first Proceedings were published in 1790, together with the account of Simon Lucas, one of the first explorers sent to Africa by the Association. However, Lucas's sensationalist travel memoirs were rapidly eclipsed by the publication of more accurate accounts produced by the celebrated explorers Mungo Park, the German Friedrich Hornemann, and the Swiss Jonathan Burckhardt, whose African expeditions were also sponsored by the Association.

With the assistance of Bryan Edward Secretary ...

Article

Doctors  

Jane Poyner

For much of the 19th century medical practice in Britain did not enjoy high status, although by 1860 the old system of training through apprenticeship was in decline. An Act of 1858 established the General Medical Council, which began to police practitioners but did not make unqualified practice illegal. Nevertheless, in the next 20 years medical training had become more professional, more scientifically based, and the practice of medicine more highly esteemed. Training lasted several years and was costly. Increased numbers of qualified doctors made for an overcrowded profession. There was little scientific education in colonial secondary schools, and full medical training was not available in the British West Indies or in the African colonies, although in the mid‐19th century Fourah Bay College, Freetown, Sierra Leone, provided some basic pre‐medical instruction; the Yaba Medical Training College in Nigeria was not opened until 1930 and then only to award diplomas ...

Article

Jane Poyner

Freed Black slave from British Guiana (now Guyana) who taught the evolutionist Charles Darwin taxidermy. Edmonstone was taken to Glasgow by his slave owner, Charles Edmonstone, probably in 1817. He was taught taxidermy by the explorer, naturalist, and conservationist Charles Waterton, who had travelled extensively in South and North America. Edmonstone moved to Edinburgh in 1823, where he still resided in 1833. He was hired by Darwin, author of The Origin of Species (1859), to teach him taxidermy while Darwin was studying medicine at Edinburgh University. From 1824 to 1825 Edmonstone lived at 37 Lothian Street in close proximity to the university and to Darwin s residence Darwin was an outspoken critic of slavery and had long conversations with Edmonstone about the latter s experiences as a slave and his life in British Guiana These conversations probably helped to shape Darwin s ...

Article

Racial categories are still being practised even though most scientists agree that genetically speaking there is little or no validity for dividing groups of humans in this way Although the creation of racial hierarchies has to a large extent fallen into disrepute skin colour remains a powerful signifier in contemporary ...