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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 ...

Article

Charles Withers

Scottish physician, botanist, and explorer, was the first European to return safely having observed the west–east course of the River Niger. His significance stems from this geographical accomplishment, from the much reprinted book of his first expedition, Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa, first published in 1799, and from his “heroic” failure and death in 1806, in circumstances that are still unclear, on a further Niger expedition. His second posthumously published work, published in 1815, and drawn from Park’s surviving papers and reports, began the process of Park’s biographical commemoration.

Park was born near Selkirk in Scotland on or about 11 September 1771, the seventh of thirteen children. Park was educated at home, at Selkirk Grammar School, and, from 1789, in the University of Edinburgh, where he studied medicine. In November of 1792 Park was introduced to Sir Joseph Banks by his brother ...