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Table of Contents
Extract from Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile
Concepts of the Nile
Sir John Speke and the Royal Geographical Society
Early travellers in Uganda: 1860-1914
The diaries of Emin Pasha - extracts III
The Uganda Journal
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
VOLUME 26, No. I
SPEKE CENTENARY NUMBER
CONCEPTS OF THE NILE B. W. LANGLANDS
SIR JOHN SPEKE AND THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY
R. C. BRIDGES
THE EVOLUTION OF SPECIES IN THE LAKES OF EAST AFRICA
L. C. BEADLE
EARLY TRAVELLERS IN UGANDA B. W. LANGLANDS
THE DIARIES OF EuIN PASHA-EXTRACTS III SIR JOHN GRAY
Speke at the Court of Mutesa I HAM MUKASA
Frederick Spire E. P. THIEL
The Jinja Stone E. P. THIEL
Grant of The Nile J. B. DUNBAR
Tofiro K. F. B. WELBOURN
Magimbi Kamanyiro SIR JOHN GRAY
East African Explorers (Selected by Charles Richards and James
Place) R. C. BRIDGES
Social Change in Modern Africa (Edited by Aidan Southall)
HORACE M. MINER
A Simplified Runyankore-Rukiga-English; English-Runyankore-
Rukiga Dictionary '(by C. Taylor) H. F. MORRIS
Tropical Agriculture (by Gordon Wrigley) T. S. JONES
The Lake Regions of Central Africa (by Sir Richard F. Burton)
R. C. BRIDGES
The Political Kingdom in Africa (by David E. Apter) J. J. CARTER
The Economic Development of Uganda
Migrants amid Proletarians (both by W. Elkan) D. A. Lunv
Cambridge Group for Afro-Asian Social Studies
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
Price: Shs. 15 (15s.)
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
OFFICERS FOR 1961-62
His Excellency Sir Walter Courts, K.C.M.a., M.B.E.
Mr. B. E. R. Kirwan, M.B.E.
Mr. W. S. Kajubi
The Hon. Secretary
The Hon. Treasurer
The Hon. Editors
The Hon. Librarian
Dr. J. K. Almond
Miss P. M. Alien
Mr. H. J. B. Allen
Mr. A. C. Badenoch
Messrs. Cooper Bros. & Co.
Dr. C. Gertzel
Mr. P. N. Kavuma
Mr. C. M. S. Kisosonkole
Mr. D. K. Marphatia, M.B.B.
Mr. R. J. Mehta, o.B.I.
Mr. C. N. Mukuye
Dr. M. Posnansky
Mr. D. G. Thomas
Mr. J. M. Weatherby
Mr. M. J. Wright
Mr. P. Marsh
Mrs. M. M. Wallis
Dr. H. F. Morris
Mr. A. H. Russell, M.B.a., D.s.c.
Miss P. Fiddes
Hon. Legal Adviser:
Mr. C. L. Holcom
Corresponding Secretary at Mbale: Mr. E. Kironde
Corresponding Secretary at Tororo: Dr. W. H. R. Lumsden
H.H. Frederick Mutesa II, K.B.E.,
Kabaka of Buganda
R. A. Sir Tito Winyi Gafabusa IV,
C.B.E., Omukama of Bunyoro
Lord Twining of Tanganyika and
Godalming, .c.iM.o., M.B.E.
,Sir John Milner Gray
Mr. E. B. Haddon
Mr. H. B. Thomas, O.B.E.
Professor A. W. Williams
Sir A. R. Cook, c.M.O., O.B.E.
Mr. E. J. Wayland, c.e.B.
Dr. H. H. Hunter, C.B.E., LL.D.
Mr. H. Jowitt, C.M.G.
Sir H. R. Hone, K.B.E., M.C., Q,C.
Mr. J. Sykes, O.B.E.
Mr. N. V. Brasnett
Captain C. R. S. Pitman,
C.B.B., D.S.O., M.C.
Mr. S. W. Kulubya, C.B.B.
Mr. E. A. Temple Perkins
Mr. R. A. Snoxall
Dr. K. A. Davies, c.M.O., O.B.E.
Mr. G. H. E. Hopkins, O.B.E.
Mrs. K. M. Trowel], M.B.E.
Dr. W. J. Eggeling
Dr. G. sp Griffith
Rev. Fr. F. B. Gaffney, w.F.
Professor A. W. Williams,
Sir J. B. Hutchinson,
Mr. J. D. Jameson, O.B.s.
Dr. Audrey I. Richards, c.E.H.
Rev. Dr. H. C. Trowel], O.B.E.
Mr. D. K. Marphitia, M.B.E.
Mr. M. Barnngton Ward
Dr. H. F. Morris
Professor A. W. Southall
Mr. J. C. D. Lawrance
Mr. S. W. Kulubya, c.B.E.
Mr. B. K. Mulyanti, o.n.B.
Mr. G. P, Saben
Secretary: Mrs. M. M. Wallis
THE JOURNAL OF THE UGANDA SOCIETY
DR. H. F. MORRIS
A. H. RUSSELL, M.B.E., D.S.C.
(assisted by PROF. K. INGHAM, O.B.E., M.C.)
THE UGANDA SOCIETY
THE GOVERNMENT PRINTER, ENTEBBE, UGANDA
CONCEPTS OF THE NILE B. W. LANGLANDS 1
SIR JOHN SPEKE AND THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY
R. C. BRIDGES 23
THE EVOLUTION OF SPECIES IN THE LAKES OF EAST AFRICA
L. C. BEADLE 44
EARLY TRAVELLERS IN UGANDA B. W. LANGLANDS 55
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-EXTRACTS III SIR JOHN GRAY 72
Speke at the Court of Mutesa I HAM MUKASA 97
Frederick Spire E. P. THIEL 99
The Jinja Stone E. P. THIEL 101
Grant of The Nile J. B. DUNBAR 103
Tofiro K. F. B. WELBOURN 103
Magimbi Kamanyiro SIR JOHN GRAY 104
East African Explorers (Selected by Charles Richards and James
Place) R. C. BRIDGES 105
Social Change in Modern Africa (Edited by Aidan Southall)
HORACE M. MINER 107
A Simplified Runyankore-Rukiga-English; English-Runyankore-
Rukiga Dictionary (by C. Taylor) H. F. MORRIS 109
Tropical Agriculture (by Gordon Wrigley) T. S. JONES 110
The Lake Regions of Central Africa (by Sir Richard F. Burton)
R. C. BRIDGES 110
The Political Kingdom in Africa (by David E. Apter) J. J. CARTER 111
The Economic Development of Uganda
Migrants and Proletarians (both by W. Elkan) D. A. LURY 113
Cambridge Group for Afro-Asian Social Studies 116
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
r-9's--*7m 1 --- ll~---r
,. oel.7 I;
JOURNAL OF THE DISCOVERY OF
THE SOURCE OF THE NILE
AT LAST, with a good push for it, crossing hills and threading huge
grasses, as well as extensive village plantations lately devastated by
elephants-they had eaten all that was eatable, and
To Ripon Falls what would not serve for food they had destroyed
28th July, 1862 with their trunks, not one plantain or one hut being
left entire-we arrived at the extreme end of the
journey, the farthest point ever visited by the expedition on the same
parallel of latitude as king Mtesa's palace, and just forty miles east of it.
We were well rewarded; for the "stones", as the Waganda call the
falls, was by far the most interesting sight I had seen in Africa. Every-
body ran to see them at once though the march had been long and
fatiguing, and even my sketch-block was called into play. Though
beautiful, the scene was not exactly what I expected; for the broad
surface of the lake was shut out from view by a spur of hill, and the
falls, about 12 feet deep, and 400 to 500 feet broad, were broken by
rocks. Still it was a sight that attracted one to it for hours-the roar of
the waters, the thousands of passenger-fish, leaping at the falls with all
their might, the Wasoga and Waganda fishermen coming out in boats
and taking post on all the rocks with rod and hook, hippopotami and
crocodiles lying sleepily on the water, the ferry at work above.the falls,
and cattle driven down to drink at the margin of the lake-made, in all,
with the pretty nature of the country-small hills, grassy-topped, with
trees in the folds, and gardens on the lower slopes-as interesting a
picture as one could wish to see.
The expedition had now performed its functions. I saw that old father
Nile without any doubt rises in the Victoria N'yanza, and, as I had
foretold, that lake is the great source of the holy river which cradled
the first expounder of our religious belief.
JOHN HANNING SPEKE,
Captain, H.M. Indian Army.
".e Caio NILE BASIN
240 lst Cataract (Sy)n 24e
2 nd Cataract
200 3rd Cataract 2
Merow 5Sth Cataract
16 6th Cataract e 16
It I oAxum
0 0 oGonGdor
12 oLae Tano 0 12
SUDD Q, 0o
S. Fola Rapids 4
e4R te Nimule
Lake, -7 R,
t u Ripen Falls It Mt.Kenyo
-0 e ..0
CONCEPTS OF THE NILE
By B. W. LANGLANDS
THE intention of this essay, written at the time of the centenary of the discovery
of the source of the Nile by Speke, is to examine the views which were held by
people in earlier times concerning the sources of this great river. In so far as man
had been thinking about this topic for almost two-and-a-half millenia before
Speke made his discovery, it is particularly appropriate to see this discovery in the
light of what earlier writers had thought. Also, in so far as many of the opinions
expressed about the source of the river were founded upon the travels of traders
and missionaries or were the result of deliberate acts of exploration, it is necessary
to see these early ideas in the light of the actual discoveries which preceded the
journeys of Speke. The latter part of this essay then, will be devoted to this
aspect of the subject and will therefore provide an opportunity for recognizing
the work of many lesser known travellers on the Nile. In so far as many of
these concepts and discoveries were represented on maps, part of this essay will
be devoted to the history of the mapping of the Nile.
THE IDEAS OF THE ANCIENTS
To the ancients a more important problem than that of the source of the Nile
was the one concerning the cause of the annual floods. Although the two problems
are essentially related a convenient beginning to this examination of the concepts
of the Nile can well be made by looking at this aspect of the Nile which first
aroused the curiosity of the early thinkers. Scientific thinking on the subject of
the Nile floods began in early Greek times with Thales who worked in the Sixth
Century B.C. and has been looked upon by some writers as the founder of the
physical sciences. Although none of his own writings survive, it is recorded that
Thales thought that the floods were caused by the annual formation of sandbanks
off the mouth of the Nile by the blowing of the Etesian winds and the consequent
damming of the river. This view is significant in that it reveals a scientific
explanation, however wrong, rather than a religious or mythical explanation.
However, other scientific views were expressed by the Greeks and this view of
Thales was soon dismissed as being improbable. It is therefore odd to find this
same interpretation being given by a much later writer. St. Isidore, a Spanish
priest writing in the Seventh Century A.D. gives this explanation in his
Etymologiae. St. Isidore, unlike Thales, had a wide following in his time and
later, so that this provides an interesting example, one of many, of how thinking
reverted in the early medieval times.
Apart from these two people, most other commentators have explained the
floods in terms of events taking place in the south, beyond the limit of the known
course of the Nile. In the early days of Greek science, peculiar views were put
forth about the floods being derived from underground water. Although these
opinions expressed by such people as Oenipides, Diogenes of Apollonia, and
Ephorus did not receive much support, suggestions that the Nile had underground
stretches were to be made frequently in later times as well. A more tenable
view amongst the ancients was that the Nile floods were derived from the melting
2 UGANDA JOURNAL
snows on the mountains of Ethiopia. This explanation was first presented by
Anaxagoras in the mid-Fifth Century B.C. and was followed by many later
Greek and Roman writers including Pliny and Strabo. Even so, this opinion had
little support in the medieval period and only Sir Roger Bacon in his Thirteenth
Century Opus Maius refers to it. Even in very early times the opinion did not
have the support of Herodotus who did not understand how snow could occur in
latitudes in which the sun was strong enough to blacken the skin of the inhabi-
tants. This theory of snow source to the Nile floods is of little significance except
perhaps as a reminder that arguments about the possibility or otherwise of snow
near the equator were still prevalent amongst arm-chair geographers in the
Also early in the story of Greek scholarship, opinions on the floods were
expressed which have turned out to be virtually correct. In the Third Century
B.C., Dicaerchus, a pupil of Aristotle, stated that they were due to rain-bearing
winds from the surrounding southern ocean; whilst later, Nicagoras and Eudo-
xorus each derived them from rain-bearing winds from a temperate zone in the
southern hemisphere. In so far as these give sources of the floods in terms of rain
winds from the south, each contains some validity. Even before these writers
Democritus had written in the Fifth Century B.C. that southern winds filled lakes
on the Nile and that these supplied the flood waters. Further, both Democritus
and Thrasyalces a little later, amplified this opinion by saying that the Etesian
winds accounted for the heavy rains in the Ethiopian mountains. Although these
people were wrong in attributing the rains to these particular winds they were
nevertheless on correct lines in general. Slightly more correct interpretations
were being given by Posidonius and Agatharchides in the Second Century B.C.
that the floods were derived from summer rains over the mountains of Ethiopia
and were brought down by numerous tributaries into the main Nile. This view
became commonly accepted by Eratosthenes and Strabo and other early writers.
However, after Strabo, this information was virtually ignored and only Benjamin
of Tudela, a Jewish author of an Itinerary in the late Twelfth Century A.D.,
and Sir Roger Bacon noted it amongst the medieval writers. Thus the basic truth
of the cause of the Nile floods was only retained by a few enlightened writers.
Inevitably, enquiry into the cause of flooding led people to think about the
source of the river itself. Since many writers were at an early date postulating
lake or mountain factors in the examination of flood causes, this made people
think about the course of the river in areas south of its known position. Progress
on the subject of the source of the Nile, however, was much slower and it took
a good deal longer to obtain any general agreement. Early in the history of Greek
science, the views of Egyptian priests that the Nile was due to the tears of the
goddess Isis for her husband were dismissed as being unacceptable. Also the
story of a temple scribe given to Herodotus that the river arose from a
bottomless cavern between two rocks, Crophi and Mophi, from which it flowed
half to the north and half to the south, was likewise disbelieved. Yet, although
such stories as these were dismissed as fabulous in 500 B.C., it is an interesting
fact that similar stories were being accepted in 1400 A.D. As late as the Fifteenth
Century the source of the Nile was said to be found in the kingdom of Prester
John, where is was reported to "come out of a great cavern, at the entrance of
which Prester John had constructed two large towers joined by a large chain, so
that no one might look into the cavern. There proceeded from within the cavern
a very sweet song which made the hearer never wish to go away. If Prester John
so desired, he could make the river flow in another direction, and when travellers
CONCEPTS OF THE NILE 3
t last discovered where Prester John resided, some went so far as to maintain
hat the Sultan of Cairo paid annual tribute to him so that he might not change
he course of the river." (Ross, 1926, p. 193-4). This forms yet another interesting
example of the way in which ancient and unscientific ideas were revived in
post-Greek times long after the Greeks themselves had refuted such ideas. In
his respect it is interesting to note also that David Livingstone thought he had
located the hills of Crophi and Mophi and the sources of the Nile in the regions
of the upper Lualaba tributary of the Congo in 1870.
The first Greek to refute the idea of a source for the Nile in a cavern was,
in fact, Hecateus of Miletus of the early Sixth Century B.C. and it is with him
that Greek pondering upon the origin of the river really began, not with
Herodotus as has so often been assumed. Hecateus had himself travelled down
the Nile to Thebes and collected the views of the ancient Egyptians. His two
works, Genealogies and Periodus, only survive now as fragments, but it is
apparent in these that Hecateus put forward a systematic view of the world which
contained the idea of a river flowing round the circumference of the world, and
that the Nile itself was derived from this circumfluent stream of the ocean.
Hecateus also made the Argonauts sail from the Caspian Sea to southern Libya
by entering the Nile from this ocean; though it must be recognized that there is
a good deal of discussion as to whether the connection was by way of the Red
Sea or elsewhere. Further, too, although later writers repeated this Hecatean
view of the origin of the Nile in a surrounding ocean, it must also be recognized
that other Greeks, even ones as early as Thales, found this explanation equally
as incredulous as that of the priestly myths. It was, in fact, not until the Roman,
Pomponius Mela, that the idea of Hecateus received any support. Mela was a
Spanish born Roman who wrote the earliest geographical account in Latin, De
Situ Orbis, in about 42 A.D. Mela suggested that there was a southern temperate
zone, separated from the rest of the earth by the torrid zone which was impassable
because of the heat, but that the southern zone was inhabited by the "antich-
thones" (the dwellers opposite). Mela believed that the River Nile rose in this
land of the "antichthones" and that it was swollen by the winter rains in the area,
but that it passed under the equatorial sea in the torrid zone to emerge in
Ethiopia with a summer flood. In some respects this story of the disappearing
southern Nile bears some resemblance to earlier accounts of a disappearing
western Nile of people like Juba and Pliny, but an essential feature of
Mela is the role of the surrounding ocean, and in this his theory has some
resemblance to that of Hecateus. In many respects, too, Mela would not be of
significance were it not for the fact that he became a popular source for later
writers for many centuries. Thus, he was given an importance beyond that which
he deserved, especially as other writers had already presented more probable
explanations for the origin of the river. In particular, this view of a surrounding
ocean with the Nile associated with it was retained by an early Christian writer,
Cosmas, and a little less clearly by St. Isidore. From the reconstruction of his
view of the world given in his Sixth Century Christian Topography made by later
commentators, it would seem that Cosmas thought that the Nile sprang from
the southern ocean (Dickinson and Howarth, 1933, p. 44), though generally it
appears that he said little about the Nile itself. St. Isidore wrote in the next
century and likewise retained the southern ocean idea. Although later reconstruc-
tions of St. Isidore's ideas in a map form show the Nile only approaching this
sea (Crone, 1954, plate X), a Tenth Century survival of a map drawn on a
St. Isidore manuscript does, in fact, show a connection. St. Isidore's work became
4 UGANDA JOURNAL
the basis for various medieval maps. Amongst these is the Beatus map of the
Eighth Century of which the best surviving copy is a mid-Eleventh Century one
at St. Sever's in Aquitaine, which shows the Nile with two sources, one in a
southern lake and one coming in from the southern ocean into a much truncated
Africa. The better known Hereford Cathedral map of Richard of Haldingham
on the other hand, only shows the Nile extending almost to the ocean but not
connecting with it.
Another view which had a certain currency from time to time, was one to the
effect that the Nile really came from India. This interesting thesis fortunately
had little support, and generally those believing it had little influence on
geographical thinking. It seems that Alexander the Great held this peculiar
opinion when he first found the upper course of the River Indus, but his own later
travels proved the contrary in the late Fourth Century B.C.; Virgil also brings his
Nile into Egypt from India three hundred years later. Of more recent writers,
Procopius, an early Christian geographer of the Sixth Century A.D., also brings
the Nile from India; but he at the same time admits that he knew very little about
the geography of Africa, even though in some other respects his geographical
knowledge was quite good.
Akin to the concept of the Nile arising from the surrounding ocean, and less
extreme than the concept of it arising in India, was the opinion that the
river rose in the Red Sea. In some respects the maps derived from St. Isidore
relate to this opinion, and in fact, it was a fairly commonly held opinion of
medieval geography writers. As well as the Beatus map referred to above, the
oldest medieval world map, the mappa mundi, in the library of Albi in the
Languedoc, of the Eighth Century shows the Nile joining the Mediterranean to
the Red Sea, but this is only a very rough depiction. This medieval idea was one
which died hard, since even renaissance maps which otherwise show a lot more
detail for the south Nile may also show an eastern extension joining up with the
Red Sea. A good example of this is represented on Behaim's globe of 1492.
It has already been seen that some of the maps drawn from St. Isidore's work
showed the Nile nearly reaching the southern area, similarly a number of works
refer also to the river approaching, but not quite reaching the Red Sea. Amongst
these is the work of Orosius, who himself may have influenced St. Isidore.
Orosius was another early Spanish Christian writer and was the author of an
early historical account of the world Historia adversum paganos, which was
written in Latin about 410 A.D. The subject of this work was to prove that the
troubles of the time were due to pagans and not Christians. Orosius was, in many
ways, free from the influence of earlier Greek or Roman scholars and consequently
produced a peculiar theory of his own that the Nile rose near to the Red Sea in
the emporium of Mossylon, close to the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, and from there
flowed west to the island of Meroe. Although Orosius does not appear to have
drawn on earlier writers for this view of the Nile, he seems to have been aware
of the possibility of a western rather than an eastern source, but dismisses this
in favour of the one given above. Orosius is important as being one of the earliest
Christian writers on history and geography, and he had a considerable influence
on medieval geographical ideas as has already been shown in the consideration of
St. Isidore and the medieval mappae mundi.
Although it was fairly common amongst medieval Christian writers to put
the source of the Nile near to the Red Sea, Moslem geographers, on the other
hand, frequently put the source further south near to the east African coast of
the Indian Ocean. In many respects this was an area of the world which was
CONCEPTS OF THE NILE 5
coming increasingly into their ken through trading, and not surprisingly, they
advocated a source of the Nile in this area. The first such Arab commentator was
Al Massoudy, who, in the Tenth Century, produced the remark that the Nile
comes from the mountains of Zenj (the highlands that front the Zanzibar coast),
and flows through negroland (the Sudan), but sends off a branch to the Black
Men's Sea (the Indian Ocean). Apart from the connection with the Indian Ocean,
Some of these ideas, especially as reconstructed by later commentators (Beazley,
1901, Vol. 1, p. 463), resemble those of Ptolemy. In the next century, Al Biruni
wrote that the region of Zenj was "inhabited by the negroes of the west and it
Stretches beyond the equator to the mountains of Comr where the Nile has its
source" (Kimble, 1938, pp. 54-5). This view would seem to have been held fairly
commonly by Arab scholars and was certainly still current in the early Fourteenth
century when an Arab encyclopedist, Abdul Fida, was still asserting that the
ile rose in the Comr mountains. Such suggestions that the Nile rose near the
coast of Africa, as appear to have been fairly current amongst Arab geographers,
may well have been conveyed to them by traders at the east African ports; and
may in essence not be so unlike the records given by Diogenes to earlier writers
such as will be examined shortly. Inevitably, however, these records pose the
problem of identifying the Comr mountains, and apart from the statement -that
they occur south of the Equator, there is very little evidence to go on. It may,
however, be significant that in discussing a source of the Nile waters in
Ethiopia, Fra Mauro in the Fifteenth Century identifies a mountain east of the
present Lake Tana called Mt. Chamir, and that this word has been equated with
the Arabic kamar or moon (Crawford, 1949, p. 18). This in its turn, raises the
question as to whether or not this mountain is the same as the Comr, whether
the Comr is also derived from the moon, and whether these mountains referred to
by Al Biruni are to be equated with the Mountains of the Moon of Ptolemy.
It has already been noted, in seeking the causes of the Nile floods, that the
attention of Greek scholars was early drawn to the tributaries of the Nile which
flowed from Ethiopia. Also during Greek and early Roman times, there was quite
a lot of trade contact with these tributaries by expeditions coming into upper
Egypt in search of elephants or even gold. Various considerations such as these
led people to assume that the source of the Nile was to be found in Ethiopia,
and that the southern Nile was only a minor tributary. As early as the late Third
Century B.C. Eratosthenes was writing on the importance of the eastern
tributaries. He wrote that the island of Meroe was formed by the junction of
the Astaboras (Atbara) on the east and the Astapus (main Nile) on the west, and
also that further up the main Nile there was another confluence in the district of
Sennar, which would represent the junction of the present White and Blue Niles.
Eratosthenes also thought that both the Astaboras (Atbara) and the Blue Nile rose
in lakes; and clearly this latter suggestion equates with that lake now called Tana.
Thus, so far as the eastern tributaries are concerned, Eratosthenes is fairly
satisfactory and by many he has been regarded as the father of the scientific
geography, though this reputation depends upon other considerations than
writings on the Nile. The three volume treatise of Eratosthenes, the Geographia,
has been lost completely since it was first written, but its contents are known
through the works of Strabo in the First Century B.C. and it is to Strabo that
the first naming of the lake at the end of the Blue Nile, Lake Psebo, is to be
attributed. Neither Strabo, nor therefore Eratosthenes, had much influence on
later writers immediately following, but occasional references to an Ethiopian
origin occur. Even Cosmas in his Third Century Christian Topography, which is
6 UGANDA JOURNAL
in many ways a refutation of all reputable geographical writing, notes frorxi
information derived from gold traders to Axum that "the sources of the Rivei
Nile lie somewhere in these parts" (Beazley, 1901, Vol. 1, p. 196). In addition,
a few early maps show an Ethiopian origin. There is a crude map by Ibn Haukal
dating from the Tenth Century Book of ways and provinces, which shows ani
origin of the river in the Ethiopian vicinity. Later, the planisphere of Fra Maurd
dating from the late Fifteenth Century, shows numerous tributaries rising from
here. O. G. S. Crawford, in a paper already referred to, provides a detail
analysis of these rivers on the Fra Mauro map and also of other maps and ot
the same time. He is convinced that the Nile was understood to rise in Ethiopi
and even believes that it is possible to identify in Ethiopia all the various lakes
and mountains mentioned by Ptolemy. Further, too, most references to Prester
John in Ethiopia, including the very first such reference in Marignoli's (John of
Florence's) Cronica imply that Ethiopia is the source of the Nile. Accurate
knowledge of the eastern tributaries depended throughout on the amount of
trade contact by land between Egypt and the Upper Nile. After the Sixth
Century A.D. these connections virtually ceased, and with that the knowledge
of the area was also lost. The re-opening of the area and the second discovery
of the area awaited the voyages and travels of Portuguese missionaries in the
Seventeenth Century. Thus, although these travels may do little more than
confirm the beliefs of Eratosthenes and Strabo, the areas were nevertheless much
more thoroughly investigated then and quite probably the Portuguese may have
been unaware of these earlier speculations.
So far, consideration has been given mainly to the possible sources of the
Nile to the east of its main course; yet there was a strong and influential body of
opinion that the ultimate sources of the river lay to the west of its main known
north-to-south course. The first proponent of this view was Herodotus, an early
Greek author of a history book, Historia, but who had himself travelled up the
Nile to Aswan and the first cataract in about 457 B.C. at this point, he learnt from
hearsay evidence of traders that a big town, Meroe, occurred at a division of
the Nile some sixty days' journey to the south; and also that after a similar
journey further on, though not necessarily still southwards, one came to another
inhabited region, the land of the "Automoli", which has been identified by some
writers as the Sennar region. At this point the Nile was said to come in from
the west. Herodotus assumes that the Nile had been flowing for a long time
from this direction, as if it came from the western extremities of Africa and had
crossed the whole of southern Libya. In part, this course was given to the Nile in
order to keep its course in the south symmetrical with that of the Danube in the
north, and at the same time parallel to the line of the coast of the supposed
southern ocean further south still. It is, however, significant that at about the
appropriate distance below Aswan, the Bahr-el-Ghazal is, in fact, found flowing
in from the west. At the same time, it is only fair to note that Herodotus was
aware that he was speculating upon the basis of very little evidence since, as
he says, "none has any sure knowledge of its course as the country is uninhabit-
able from excessive heat" (Thomson, 1948, p. 66). Also, Herodotus supports his
opinions by quoting the record of some travellers' tales upon the western river.
He had heard of the evidence of five young Nasamonians (Berbers?) who had
travelled from some north African settlements across a barren land until they
reached a large river flowing east with a large town on its bank and containing
crocodiles. On this basis of this common fauna Herodotus identifies the river as
the Nile. This travel story is very vague, but presumably it must have some
CONCEPTS OF THE NILE 7
foundation in truth. If the barren area crossed was, in fact, the Sahara, then it
is possible that the large river reported was the Upper Niger and the large town
was perhaps Timbuktu; but a more acceptable view is that the Sahara could not
have been crossed without camels and that the journey must therefore have
taken place in a much more confined area so that the river was, in fact, a relatively
small one flowing from the Atlas Mountains.
Although Herodotus was seldom quoted by later Greek and Roman writers
s the authority on the western Nile, nevertheless the idea did not die completely.
osidonius wrote in the middle of the Second Century B.C. of surface and
underground rivers in Libya, and Vitruvius, a hundred years later, also accepted
akes and rivers in the same area. However, the next authoritative statement on
e western Nile was to come from an odd source. King Juba of Numidia, a
oman province in north Africa, wrote a description of his country in Latin
about 46 B.C. Juba, as result of particular enquiries, wrote that the Nile had
ts source in the mountains of western Mauretania, not far from the Atlantic
Ocean, from whence it flowed eastwards almost immediately into a lake which
contained fish and crocodiles similar to those found in the Egyptian Nile. After
leaving this lake, Juba supposed that it flowed underground for a journey of some
days' duration in an area of sandy desert, but rose again to the surface in southern
Mauretania, south of the Atlas. Later, it formed a second large lake but
disappeared again after leaving that for another underground passage, this time
for twenty days' duration. It was then supposed to rise again to the surface to
flow as the divide between Ethiopia and Africa (Libya) where it is given the name
Nigris. In its passage through Ethiopia it was said to flow through a country of
fertile land, rich in forests and wild beasts, from which it emerged flowing
now from south to north as the Astapus, and on past Meroe to Egypt as the
Nile. This record is interesting in that it adds further to the general confusion
between the Upper Nile and the Upper Niger, and it is, in fact, the first time
that the name Niger is recorded. In addition, Juba had also learnt of the journey
of two Roman travellers, supposedly across the desert to the fertile Sudan
beyond; so that Juba, like Herodotus, gives actual exploration as a part justifi-
cation for his account; though again it is impossible to verify the journey.
This record of King Juba is of particular significance in that it became the
commonly accepted view by most writers in later Roman and medieval times.
Strabo in the next century has some leanings towards accepting the story of a
western lake, Pactolus, but this may have been derived from Procopius rather
than Juba. Later still, in about 42 A.D. Pomponius Mela followed Juba in
accepting hesitantly a western source, to which he gave the name Nuchul.
Amongst the most important followers of Juba was the Elder Pliny (Caius Plinius
Secundus) who wrote a Natural History in 77 A.D. For his account of the Nile,
Pliny follows Juba very closely, especially for its western stretches, but it is
supplemented by the travels of Greek traders, Bion, Dalion and Simonides, for
the stretch down to the Blue and White Nile confluence, and by the account of
a journey of two Roman centurions beyond this. Although Pliny himself added
almost nothing to information already available either on the Nile or anywhere
else, and although his work was poorer than that of many of his near contempo-
raries, nevertheless he has been promoted to an importance beyond that which
he deserves since he became a standard work of reference throughout the ensuing
centuries. Amongst those relying heavily on Pliny was Dionysius Periegetes, who
wrote an epic verse in 120 A.D. which gives the Nile flowing in a copious stream
from Libya eastwards through the land of the Blemmyes, and this also became
8 UGANDA JOURNAL
a popular source of reference. Pausanius also, in the Second Century A.D. refers
to the Nile coming from the Atlas Mountains and flowing for stretches under-
ground; but the most noted copier of Pliny was a person called Solinus who, in
fact, became nicknamed "Pliny's Ape". Solinus (Julius Solinus Polyhistor) drew
heavily on the earlier Romans, Pliny and Mela, for his Collecteana rerum
mirabilium which he compiled in the mid-Third Century. This collection ip
essentially a record of fables, marvels and miraculous beings believed to exist i
unknown places, so is in no sense a geographical account. However, this wor
contains a reference to the "Niger which brings forth the Nile" (Beazley, 1901
Vol. I, p. 263) and contains Pliny's account of the underground waters an(
surface lakes of the western Nile, together with various monsters, dog-headec
apes, four-eyed people and so forth, living along its course. This work, too
had a very considerable following and was undoubtedly used for the construction
of such famous maps as the Hereford mappa mundi which is likewise decorated
with mythical monsters.
Other supporters of a western Nile writing in the early Christian times include
Capella, the author of the Satyricon in the late Fifth Century, and Dicuil, a
early Ninth Century Irish monk and the author of De mensura orbis terrae
Thus, there was an influential body of opinion supporting this western source
of the Nile and the theory became particularly prevalent in late Roman and early
Christian times. The Arab view of the subject is more confused. With the
Arabs, the course of the Niger became slightly better known but even so, there
is a lot of confusion as to whether this river going under the name of the western
Nile, the Nuchul, or the Nile of the Negroes, was to be regarded as a tributary
of the main Nile or to be regarded as a separate river altogether. In many
respects it seems that most leading Arab geographers believed in the possibility
of a dual source, in the south as well as the west. The confusion between the
upper courses of the Niger and the Nile in any case, continued until the early
Nineteenth Century when even in 1811, a leading English map-maker, Arrow-
smith, was still able to assert on a map drawn from the British Association that
"the general opinion in the interior of Africa is that the Niger and the Nile of
Egypt are one and -the same river" (Lane-Poole, 1950, p. 26). The problem was
not finally solved until the journeys of Clapperton in west Africa in 1822-1830,
but the course of Niger discovery is not especially relevant here.
Finally, there remains for consideration, that body of opinion favouring an
origin in the lands immediately south of the main course of the known stretch of
the river. Amongst the earliest references to the presence of lakes in the upper
course of the Nile, is that of Aristotle in about 350 B.C. that cranes travel as far
as the lakes above Egypt where the Nile rises, and also that of his scholar,
Democritus, that the heavy rains in the south fill the lakes and the Nile.
Similarly, Eratosthenes in the Third Century B.C. referred to the possibility
of lakes to the south as well as in the east, and Strabo follows this authority for
his same opinion of the origin of the Nile in lakes, though he also has a western
lake. Although such references may apply to a knowledge of either the Sudd
zone of the southern Sudan, or to fortuitous guesses, concerning lakes further
south, it would nevertheless appear that the possibility of a southern lake or
lakes had been mooted in these early years. The acceptance of this view was not
carried further until the voyage of Diogenes to east Africa, and the reporting of
this journey in the writings of Marinus of Tyre and Ptolemy. Diogenes was a
Greek trader, who, on returning from a voyage to India in about 50 A.D. is said
to have landed at Rhaptum, somewhere on the East African coast, from whence
CONCEPTS OF THE NILE
he reported that twenty-five days' journey inland brings one to the vicinity of a
snowy mountain range from which the Nile derives its source and flows into two
great lakes. It is not clear from this account whether or not Diogenes himself
got to the lakes, for although some later commentators credit him with having
made the journey himself, it seems more probable that he only collected the
Mtory from other people who had journeyed inland. This account of Diogenes
was first recorded in the work of Marinus of Tyre who probably also drew a
ap to show the route, but neither the writings nor the map survive, and Marinus
s only known through the work of Ptolemy.
Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemeus) was an Alexandrian Greek who wrote astro-
nomical and geographical works about the middle of the Second Century A.D.
The main work, Geographike syntaxis, contains a list of the location of some
eight thousand places, together with his computations for their latitudes and
longitudes. These occupy some six out of eight of his volumes, and upon these
depend his reputation as one of the founders of geographical science. For the
location of places on the Nile, Ptolemy draws almost entirely on the work of
Marinus, and therefore contains the reference to the account of Diogenes.
Significant latitudes on the Nile are given as Meroe Island with the Astaboras
on the east at 161N.; the Astapus (Blue Nile) junction with the White Nile
at 12N.; the Astaboras (Atbara) and Astapus junction at 11JN. From 11
to 2 N. the river is given as a single stream, but it is recorded as dividing again
here to flow in two tributaries from two lakes located at 6S. and 57*E. and 7S.
and 60*E. respectively. As well as these two lakes, derived from Diogenes'
account, Ptolemy notes that the Astapus (Blue Nile) also arises from a lake
0N. and 68"E. which he names the Coloe, but which can be identified with
the Tana of today and the Psebo of Strabo. In this account, Ptolemy is only
greatly at variance with the true state of affairs, and even with facts already
well established, in his account of the confluence of the Astapus and the
Astaboras. Ptolemy also draws further from Diogenes in his account that near
the gulf of Rhaptum dwell "Ethiopians who are cannibals anthropophagii), to
the west of whom extend the range of mountains called the Mountains of the
Moon, the snows of which are received by the lakes of the Nile" (Bunbury,
1883, Vol. II, p. 616). These mountains he places at 12S. and he gives them
an extent of 11 from east to west, or about 550 miles from 57" to 68.
Much of this account of the Nile is remarkably near to the truth. Without
necessarily accepting Ptolemy's latitudes for things, it has since been proved
that the Nile does rise from two lakes, of which the more easterly one is slightly
to the south of the western one; and also it has been proved that there are a
number of mountains stretching across East Africa, from Kilimanjaro, Kenya,
Elgon and Ruwenzori, most of which do attain altitudes sufficiently high to be
snow covered. It seems fruitless to try to identify the lakes specifically as Lakes
Albert and Victoria, and still more fruitless to identify the mountains as certainly
those named above, and there is no reason to regard the Ruwenzori range as
definitely that to which Ptolemy gave the name the Mountains of the Moon.
Nevertheless, the coincidence of fact would seem to point to Diogenes' account
having some basis of truth, and to Ptolemy's account being a remarkably close
guess-"a happy guess from the vaguest hearsay". (Thomson, 1948, p. 277).
It remains, however, to try to assess what influence Ptolemy had on later
thinkers. Already it will be apparent that pre-Ptolemaic views remained strong for
a long time after Ptolemy's works were published. Vague beliefs in possible
eastern sources were still being expressed long after Ptolemy, and in particular,
10 UGANDA JOURNAL
Pliny's opinion on the western sources had very strong support. Thus it is clear
that Ptolemy could not have been universally accepted. Some later commentator$
have believed that Ptolemy had a good following amongst his own contemporarieO
but that his influence was not long lasting, or even that he was only followed
by a few particularly enlightened people. Certainly he is referred to by very fe
writers between the Fifth and Fifteenth Centuries, and even then not always a
the source for material on the Nile. However, during the time that Ptolemy wa
largely unknown in Europe, he may have been known to Arab scholars. Hi4
astronomical work was translated into Arabic as the Almagest by Al-Mamun
the Ninth Century. Also some Arabic maps seems to show Ptolemaic information
for Africa; though some are decidedly Plinian so that no clear picture emerges.
There is considerable controversy as to whether the noted Arab geographer,
Idrisi (Edrisi) was showing a Ptolemaic leaning or not. The Arabs certainly
retained an interest in Ptolemy and it is through them that his work has been
preserved, even though the Arabs do not seem to have become especially
interested in the Nile.
Undoubtedly, too, Ptolemy had a profound influence in renaissance Europe.
A Latin version of Ptolemy's Geography was obtained by translating the Arabic
in 1410, though earlier translations of the Almagest had appeared. The end part
of the century saw many other Latin translations and a revised Greek edition
was prepared in 1533 by Erasmus. By the Fifteenth Century and on until the
Eighteenth Century Ptolemy was very much in vogue again and his writings had
a profound influence on geographical thought, and especially thought about the
Nile, at this time. Thus, there was a renaissance revival of Ptolemy's account of
the Nile during which time Pliny and other pre-Ptolemy writers were ousted; yet
this revival only serves to emphasise the reversal against these views which had
been virtually complete for the previous thousand years of the Dark Ages in
Europe when geographical science was in eclipse.
EARLY MAPPING OF THE NILE
In the first part of this essay an attempt has been made to outline various
concepts of the Nile, mainly as held by the ancients and as still believed in until
the time of the renaissance of learning in Europe. In this second part, an attempt
will be made to see how these ideas have been expressed in maps. In many ways
the renaissance and later ideas of the Nile find particular expression in a map
form and these will require special attention. However, earlier attempts to draw
the Nile on maps had been made, and as a preliminary to renaissance mapping it
will be necessary to survey the history of these as well.
So far as one is able to tell, no Greek or Roman maps showing the
Nile are still in existence. There would seem to be some evidence that Marinus of
Tyre, or even Ptolemy, accompanied their own work with maps, though this may
not be universally accepted. In any case, there is no disputing the fact that there
are no genuine maps drawn by Ptolemy himself available. The question, therefore,
arises as to how far maps which now accompany Ptolemy manuscripts may
have been drawn from originals of his drawings. The oldest such survival is one
attributed to "Agathodaemon", and may date from the Second to the Sixth
Century and occurs on a fragment of a Ptolemy manuscript.
Early Christian maps are not so rare since Beazley lists nine such maps dating
from the Sixth to the Ninth Century, but again, few of these show the Nile.
The plans illustrating Cosmas' Christian Topography have already been
referred to; as also has the mappa mundi in the library of the monastery at Albi.
AFRICA AND THE NILE 500 B.C.-1850 A.D.
ART OF THE WORLD ACCORDING TO
HECATEUS e6t century BC
Atlos Mts Thes
Automoi Merot. .
THE NILE ACCORDING TO
HERODOTUS slh century C
AFRICA AND THE NILE 500 B.C.-1850 A.D.
AFRICA AND THE NILE 500 B.C.-1850 A.D.
PART OF THE WORLD ACCORDING TOJTHE
BEATUS MAP ATST. SEVER
c. 1030 A.D.
AFRICA AND THE NILE 500 B.C.-1850 A.D.
AFRICA AND THE NILE 500 B.C.-1850 A.D.
AFRICA AND THE NILE 500 B.C.-1850 A.D.
AFRICA AND THE NILE 500 B.C.-1850 A.D.
.THE PURANS MAP
CENTRAL AFRICA ACCORDING TO AN ACCOUNT
FROM THE PURANS OF THE HINDUS
CONCEPTS OF THE NILE 11
Ihe Ninth Century map of Sallust at Leipzig showed the Nile only as a straight
ine dividing Africa from Asia, a fairly common attitude in medieval times, and
was repeated on the Imago Mundi Rotunda at Strassburg.
Other maps before the Tenth Century probably do not show the Nile. From
the Tenth to the Twelfth Century there are series of maps surviving from the
initial work of Beatus, of which the one with the clearest portrayal of the Nile
has already been commented upon. Others give a much more confused picture of
the river. From much the same time there follows a series of mappae mundi or
T-in-O maps showing the world centred on Jerusalem and usually with a crude
indication of the Nile and the Red Sea. One of the best of these is the so-called
Anglo-Saxon map of the Cottonian collection in the British museum, which dates
from the end of the Tenth Century and is derived from the views of Orosius,
Mela or St. Isidore. This map shows a line for the Nile running south past
Meroe, and also shows another river in the position of the so-called Nuchul,
but this may not necessarily be linked to the Upper Nile. Other medieval world
maps shows much the same sort of information. The map of Henry of Mainz
of the early Twelfth Century, the Psalter map of the mid-Thirteenth Century,
the Ebstorf map of the late Thirteenth Century and the Hereford Cathedral
map by Richard of Haldingham of much the same time are all much alike. The
largest of these, and the one most clearly presented, is the Hereford one. Here,
the Nile is, as usual, shown as the eastern boundary of Africa, and is shown
rising near the Red Sea before flowing west past the islands of Meroe and
Babylon (Cairo). A second Nile is shown from west to east across the continent
and resembles the western Nile or Nuchul of other writers. The large number
of fabulous beasts, unicorns and so forth, clearly indicates that this work depends
heavily on the miraculous records of Solinus, whilst the western Nile of this
and other medieval world maps may be traced back to Pliny and other Roman
writers rather than to Greek scientists.
These medieval European maps show a high degree of uniformity. Moslem
maps, on the other hand, show a high degree of confusion between Ptolemaic and
non-Ptolemaic views as has already been noted. The simple map of Ibn Haukal
of the early Tenth Century shows little other than the Nile rising in Ethiopia.
Idrisi shows a Nile more resembling that of Ptolemy, but it has a connection with
the Indian Ocean and has a second Nile flowing from the vicinity of the Atlantic
Ocean. In these respects, Idrisi was following closely upon the work of Al
Massoudy and the possible connection, or lack of it, with Ptolemy has already
In late medieval times in Europe, mapping underwent an improvement. Early
in the Fourteenth Century a map attributed variously to Sanuto or Vesconte
was drawn which showed the western and the main Niles rising separately from
the Mountains of the Moon, and also showed some lakes in a very crude way;
clearly this work relied upon Ptolemy or Arabic versions of Ptolemy, and is one
of the earliest maps in a decidedly modern vein. Also in the Fourteenth Century,
Portolan and Catalan maps were becoming available. Portolans were sea charts
based on observations of the mariner's compass, but although these charts have
been called Portolans a portolano is really a written sailing instruction and need
not be accompanied by a chart. On most Portolan charts surviving, information
is mainly confined to the sea-coasts and the seas, and usually focuses upon the
Mediterranean, so that they seldom throw any light upon the Nile. However, the
most famous such chart, the one of Angellino de Dalorto of about 1325, shows
a truncated form of Africa with the Nile rising in the Atlas Mountains and
12 UGANDA JOURNAL
flowing to the east, so that it is essentially in the tradition of Herodotus and
Pliny. Later, Portolan charts were combined to give maps attempting to show
the whole of the inhabited world, and since these were developed mainly in
Spain and Majorca they became known as Catalan world maps. One such
Catalan, the famous Este map, or Catalan World Map of the Biblioteca Estense
at Modena, attempts to show the whole world, not just the inhabited parts. In
some respects the outline of the continent of Africa on this resembles that of
Ptolemy, but the Nile is shown as having diverse tributaries flowing into it
from the west and from the east, and its eastern branch even makes contact
with the southern seas. Other famous early maps such as that of Fra Mauro
have already been mentioned.
With the revival of learning in the late Fifteenth Century the practice of putting
information into a map or onto a globe became common for the first time. Even
maps showing the course of the Nile became fairly general. In part, this is due to
the renewed interest in trade so that knowledge about distant parts of the world
became portrayed in map form. This development also took place at a time
when paper became readily available and new developments in printing favoured
the reproduction of maps. The birth of the printed map such as we know it today
took place in Italy in the late Fifteenth Century and was quickly taken up in a
more general form in Germany. Also, with a re-awakened interest in the
geographical writings of Ptolemy it was his account of the Nile which became
the one of usual application in renaissance mapping. This influence was to remain
strong until the Eighteenth Century and so for two hundred years and more
Ptolemaic ideas were to the fore again, virtually unquestioned, although his
ideas on the shape of Africa and the location of Ethiopian rivers were supple-
mented by the results of Portuguese exploration. Thus throughout this time
until the Eighteenth Century maps customarily show the Mountains of the Moon
and two Nile lakes as prominent features.
As has been seen, Ptolemaic ideas were being mapped on the Sanuto map of
the early Fourteenth Century, and in a very crude way the Walsperger map
of 1448 shows some lakes and the Mountains of the Moon, but the main run
of renaissance maps cannot be considered to have begun until the production of
a new edition of Ptolemy's Geography, with maps, at Bologna in 1477, which was
quickly followed by others at Rome (1478), Florence (1480) and Rome again
After an initial flowering of map-making in Italy in the late Fifteenth Century,
German cartographers soon established a tradition of re-drawing maps of the
world or constructing globes which depended very much on Ptolemy, and this
remained particularly the case for their portrayal of the Nile. Important amongst
early products of the German mapping school is the so-called Ulm Ptolemy of
1486 which was the first German map showing the Nile in all the detail of
Ptolemy. Shortly after this in 1492, Martin Behaim in Nuremburg constructed
a globe which also shows the lakes and mountains but includes a tributary
leading to the Red Sea. By the middle of the Sixteenth Century German mapping
was well established, and with the production of maps and books on Africa by
Sebastian Miinster these accounts of the Nile were commonplace. Miinster
produced two geographical accounts, a Geographia Universalis and a Cosmo-
graphia in the 1540's and both of these were reprinted many times in the next
hundred years. These works and their maps did a great deal to revive the
Ptolemaic view of the Nile and to make it popular. Apart from the survival of
a mythical monster, the Monoculi, the outline of the continent is a good represen-
CONCEPTS OF THE NILE
station of Africa, and the two lakes and the Lunae Montes are prominently placed
in the locations given by Ptolemy.
From German centres such as Ulm, Nuremburg and Strassburg the focus of
map-making moved by the late Sixteenth Century to the Low Countries.
Initially to Flemish centres such as Antwerp, and later to Dutch centres such
as Amsterdam. In the establishment of mapping in the Low Countries the names
of Ortelius (Abraham Ortel) and Mercator are particularly important. Both
these map-makers adhere closely to Ptolemy in their representation of the Nile,
but their maps contain a wealth of place-names for the whole of the continent.
Generally speaking, on the maps of Ortelius and the Dutch maps that copy him,
the Mountains of the Moon lose prominence and the lakes increase in size and
importance. Ortelius drew a map of Africa in 1570 which relied heavily on
information derived from a Spanish Moor, Leo Africanus, for supplementary
detail. Mercator drew world maps in 1541 and 1569 but his separate map of
Africa was not completed until after his death, by a grandson in 1585. These maps
of Ortelius and Mercator were then used as a basis for Dutch and English
copying throughout the Seventeenth Century. Although maps of the Sixteenth and
Seventeenth Centuries are all basically similar for Africa, slight variations occur.
In part, these arise from attempts to show the results of Portuguese travel in
Ethiopia and south-east Africa, and in part from attempts to explain the sources
of the Congo and the Zambezi which were just coming into general cognisance
at this time.
Throughout most of the Sixteenth Century, maps of the Nile such as the Wald-
seemuller (1516), Miinster (1540), Mercator (1541 and 1569), Gastaldi (1548)
and the Ortelius (1570) all show the River Nile rising from two lakes of sizes
varying with each map with each lake lying side by side south of the equator,
though not necessarily with the eastern one slightly south of the western one as
Ptolemy had placed them. The Lunae Montes or Mons Lunae are invariably
shown, though in some these are not prominent. By the end of the Sixteenth
Century it became customary to give names to the lakes as well as to the
mountains. Although the first naming of the lakes is sometimes attributed to
Ortelius, names had appeared on the earlier map of Gastaldi in 1564. The western
lake was named the Zaire and it is frequently shown as the source of the river
of that name, which is in fact the Congo, as well as being one of the sources of the
Nile. Sometimes, too, the Lake Zaire is shown as the source of the River Zambe
or Zuama which is nowadays called the Zambezi. The eastern lake was known
as Lake Zaflan and is usually only shown as the source of the Nile. On some
maps too, a third lake is shown, Lake Zachaf, but this is usually a feature of
the Seventeenth Century maps. The Zachaf is then placed to the south of the
other two and frequently is given as the source of the Zambezi though some
map-makers even connect it to the Nile system. On many of the Seventeenth
Century Dutch and English copies of Ortelius and Mercator the western lake,
Zaire, is enlarged and its southern portion called Lake Zambe. These various
names, Zaire, Zaflan, Zachaf and Zambe are clearly of Arabic origin, and it is
interesting to see this Arab influence on maps right into the Eighteenth Century.
Throughout all these maps of the Fifteenth to Eighteenth Centuries the Blue
Nile is correctly shown arising from a small frequently unnamed, lake which is
nearly always placed on the equator where Ptolemy had placed it.
Although there is a general similarity about the maps of the Sixteenth and
Seventeenth Centuries, an interesting variation was introduced in some of the
late Sixteenth Century maps. In 1591 Filipo Pigafetta, working largely on
14 UGANDA JOURNAL
suggestions made by Duarte Lopez, rearranged his lakes so that they appeared
north and south of each other rather than east and west. Other than being
transposition of the Ptolemy placing, this arrangement is of significance in that,
the northern lake is placed in much the same location as the present Lake Victoria,!
whereas the southern one equates with Lake Tanganyika. However, it is no morei
valid to make a positive identification of Pigafetta's lakes than it is to identify
the Zaire as Lake Albert or the Zaflan as Lake Victoria on the more conventional
maps. On Pigafetta's map the prototypes of the Nile, Congo, Zambezi and
Limpopo are all indicated as rising in the southern lake.
Throughout the Seventeenth Century the focus of map-making remained in
Amsterdam, and to a lesser extent, in London and Paris, but in all the vast
number of maps produced during this century the basic detail remained the
same; and it was only in the style of decoration that the maps differed. Some
of the maps of Africa produced by the house of Blaeu, for instance, attained a
a high degree of artistry. With the beginning of the Eighteenth Century however,
French map-making increased in importance and with this there went a change
in the material being shown. With the onset of the Age of Reason, the rational
approach was necessarily to remove from the map all material for which there
was no proven evidence. Thus, throughout this century, Ptolemaic detail was
either removed from maps completely or reduced to insignificance. This process
started in France but later was adopted also by English cartographers. Radical
changes, therefore, were introduced in the method of representing the Nile and
big blanks on the map of Africa were admitted for the first time. Mythical towns
and creatures were expunged, decorative animals were removed, and on many
such maps the lakes and mountains of Ptolemy were taken off completely. Other
map-makers, not so extreme, retained some of the Ptolemy information but
reduced it in size and prominence.
The founder of modern French cartography was Nicolas Sanson, but he was
essentially in the Ptolemaic tradition. The first great expunger was Guillaume
De l'Isle (Delisle), who, in 1700 produced a map which did not show the two
Ptolemaic lakes and which was the first for a number of centuries not to do so.
He did, though, include Lake Moravi (present Lake Nyasa) since this had been
proven by discovery in 1616 by Bocarro. Delisle's reputation as a cartographer
is very high in that his map of the world was the first to get latitudes and
longitudes correct, whereas most of the earlier world maps had these in error
arising from faulty measuring of the earth which can also be attributed to
Ptolemy. For these various reasons Delisle has been looked upon as the father
of scientific cartography, but it is chiefly through his rigorous exclusion of all
doubtful features that he is of interest in the history of the mapping of the Nile.
On the maps of Delisle and on maps derived from him, the Nile is shown as
rising in a lake in Ethiopia, and a small tributary, the R. Blanche, is indicated
coming slightly further south to join the river flowing from the Ethiopian lake.
This southern tributary only extends to about 7"N. and it is without a lake at its
end. A later important French map-maker was Jean Baptiste Bourguignon
D'Anville. D'Anville came under the influence of Delisle. In some ways he
perfected the latter's work though in other respects D'Anville's reputation as the
"Obliterator" seems to be higher than it deserves. Although in some standard
works of reference D'Anville is described as having "removed the imaginary lakes,
the fantastic rivers and the Mountains of the Moon" and of having left the
interior of Africa blank (Dickinson and Howarth, 1933, p. 117, and Heawood,
1912, p. 385) most of the.reproductions and later copies of D'Anville do in fact
CONCEPTS OF THE NILE 15
how the lakes and the Mountains of the Moon, but these features have been
educed to small-size representations, and placed about 7N. of the equator. (See
or instance, Fage, 1958, p. 34.) In addition to showing these features, D'Anville
introduced the Bahr-el-Ghazal onto maps for the first time under this particular
ame. This river is shown joining the White Nile from southern Libya, coming
therefore from the northwest instead of the southwest. Although D'Anville shows
ore rivers than appeared on the maps of Delisle, the general appearance of his
maps is of a greater amount of blankness. This arises from D'Anville having
deleted much of the information concerning dubious kingdoms and empires and
their exaggerated boundaries with which Delisle still filled much of the interior.
The first map of Africa drawn by D'Anville was one of 1740, but this was
revised in 1772.
Although the practice of reducing the size of the Nile and its lakes, and of
placing them to the north of the equator was followed by most French carto-
graphers such as Le Senieur Janvier, others, such as Robert de Vaugondys' were
more clearly in the tradition of Delisle and removed the lakes completely. In
Britain, some cartographers like Herman Moll (1714) and Emmanuel Bowel (1947)
were following the tradition of Delisle; nevertheless the Dutch maps were still
being copied with full Ptolemaic information as late as the 1780's by Sayers.
Thus, from the work of the French map-makers, the general procedure by the
Nineteenth Century was to produce maps of Africa with the interior virtually a
blank. The maps which would have been standard sources for the Nineteenth
Century explorers would have made no attempt to speculate upon the sources of
the Nile or the Congo. Even standard geography textbooks, such as Pinkerton,
1811, were content to leave the interior without comment. By 1850, atlases such
as that of Tallis were beginning to show the results of later travel-Lake Nyasa
is shown precisely, and Mounts Kenya and Kilimanjaro are also located. An
interesting feature of this map is that the Mountains of the Moon are still named,
and quite prominently illustrated at 7N. which indicated that the newly
discovered snow-covered mountains were intended to have no connection with
these earlier features derived from Ptolemy.
Some authorities have even gone so far as to suggest that if the Eighteenth
Century cartographers had not been so ruthless in removing all these lakes and
rivers from the map, the Nineteenth Century explorers might have experienced
less difficulty. In so far as the older maps showing the Ptolemaic features did show
features which were, in fact, there, it is interesting to speculate as to whether
there can be any validity in such an argument. It is, however, clear that the
Seventeenth Century and earlier map-makers were putting these features in
sufficiently inaccurate positions and exaggerated the extent of them sufficiently
to render it probable that the explorers would have been more confused if they
had gone into the interior of the continent with preconceptions based on these
maps. On the whole, the removal of the Ptolemy notions from these maps must
be looked upon as being of service to the later explorers.
EXPLORATION OF THE UPPER NILE
With the account of the theoretical concepts of the Nile and the representation
of these concepts on maps, the ground is prepared for an examination of the
Nineteenth Century journeys of discovery in which attempts were made to
confirm these beliefs and to verify what the true situation was. Although the
final answers to the problems of the Nile sources were only solved by these
Nineteenth Century explorers, nevertheless conscious exploration had been
16 UGANDA JOURNAL
practised in early times and frequently the concepts of the sources of the rive
and the mapping of the Nile tributaries had been founded upon exploration an
In some measure the knowledge of the Nile has resulted from the reports o
chance travellers such as Diogenes. In part, too, it has resulted from the report
from unknown traders such as the Greek traders at Axum or Adulis in the firs
two centuries A.D. Then, too, knowledge has been based upon chance travel
of people not necessarily engaged in trade such as the stories handed down by
Herodotus or King Juba. In many instances it was not possible to tell what the
real motive for travel was. On the other hand, some expeditions dating even from
Greek times seem to have been designed from the outset explicitly as journeys of
discovery and some of these had the object of finding out more about the source
of the Nile. Although there was little general curiosity about the origin of the
Nile amongst the early Egyptians, it would nevertheless appear that the Ptolemy
kings of Egypt did sponsor expeditions which got as far south as the Dongola
area and Sennar by about 300 B.C. It was probably from such journeys.as these
that Eratosthenes obtained his knowledge of the Astaboras (Atbara) and the
Greeks became aware of the Nile to the confluence of the White and the Blue
Niles. However, such early expeditions such as these seldom got beyond the
Sennar region of the Sudan, and never got to the Sudd zone.
In the ensuing years towards the turn of the millenia, interest in travel to the
upper Nile regions was renewed for commercial reasons and was maintained
until about 350 A.D. The first deliberate attempt to find out the source of the
White Nile rather than the Blue Nile took place at the time of the Emperor
Caesar Augustus (27 B.C.-14 A.D.) who sent his own expeditionary force. These
people are reported to have descended the Nile "until they came near to the
equator (where) they found marshy places into which the Nile flowed and stony
places which they could cross neither by ship nor on foot." (Kimble, 1938, pp.
64-5). Later, the Emperor Nero in 66 A.D. despatched an expedition which
contained two Roman centurions, again with the specific object of discovering
the source of the Nile. The report of these centurions has been preserved in the
writing of Seneca in his Naturales Quaestiones and he is reported to have met
the centurions on their return. These two brought back the first reports of an
accurate kind on the .Nile below the Blue-White Nile junction. They reported
that they had arrived at immense marshes, the extent of which was unknown to
the inhabitants. From the description of the country as well as of the naked
negroes, it may be assumed that they had entered the Sudd zone and the implica-
tion is that they got down to about 9"N., a position not reached again until 1839.
Seneca also reports that these centurions came to a big waterfall between two
rocks near the point at which they were obliged to turn back. This also is open
to a considerable amount of speculation, and it is improper to suggest, as some
have done, that these falls can be identified as the Ripon Falls, the Murchison
Falls or even the Fola Rapids. This expedition of Nero's centurions was one
of the few indications of a Roman curiosity about the geographical problems of
the world and was the last such expedition for a very long time. Gradually, with
the decline of the Roman Empire and the decline of trade with Ethiopia and
Asia, interest in these things was completely lost. Throughout the Dark Ages no
such enquiries were made and even the knowledge of distant places which the
ancients had collected by travelling was lost.
Even with the Arabs, amongst whom geographical science was maintained at
a flourishing level, curiosity seldom extended to the fitting out of an expedition for
CONCEPTS OF THE NILE
discovery. One such expedition is referred to in J. N. L. Baker's book on
-xploration (Baker, 1931, p. 60) but he is uncertain whether it ever really took
lace. In point of fact the Arab geographers had no more accurate knowledge
f the Nile than had the early Christian writers, and both were ignorant even
f the Blue and White junction to say nothing of the Sudd beyond.
The rediscovery of the Blue Nile and its sources was the task of the Portuguese
travellers and missionaries who were anxious to maintain contact with the
Christian King of Ethiopia, Prester John. Pedro de Covilham was the first modern
explorer to re-enter Ethiopia, and he entered from the east in the late Fifteenth
Century. Covilham spent a number of years in the country and sent back
numerous reports to Portugal from 1487 onwards. Later, two brothers, Bermudez
and Francisco Alvarez, spent some time in the 1520's in Ethiopia as ambassadors
and Jesuit missionaries and travelled to the headwaters of the Atbara. The
headwaters of the Blue Nile and its early passage into Lake Tana was not
discovered until a century later. The source of this branch of the river in a
lake as postulated by Strabo and others was not definitely confirmed until Pedro
Paez visited that area in 1613. Paez had arrived in Ethiopia in 1602 and stayed
until he died there in 1622. Before he died he had managed to despatch his
journal which was published by Manoel d'Almeida in his Historia de Ethiopia a
Alta, but a more readily accessible version was one made later by Dr. Kircher.
Shortly after Paez, Jerome Lobo also visited the Lake Tana area from a mission
station near Axum from which Lobo made the journey in 1625 or 1626. Lobo's
account of this visit was not published until 1670, but an English excerpt had
been made from the original journal by Sir Peter Wych for the Royal Society
of London in 1668, and a full translation was made by Dr. Samuel Johnson in
the next century. From the records of these and other Portuguese missionaries a
good deal about Ethiopia had become known. The upper courses of various Nile
tributaries were known, as also was lake Tana, and these were plotted on a
map by Ludolf in 1683 which became the source for improvements to the
representation of the area on later maps from Amsterdam, Paris and London.
After these discoveries by the Portuguese in the first half of the Seventeenth
Century, little in the way of extra discovery was achieved for the next two
hundred years. The most significant event of this intervening period was the
journey of Father de Brevedent and Dr. Charles Poncet in 1698-9. Dr. Poncet
describes their journey down the Nile through Dongola, leaving the Nile at the
sixth cataract for Sennar at 13*N., rejoining the Blue Nile but crossing back
across country to the headwaters of the Atbara, going on to Gondar and finally
coming to the Blue Nile again at the source in lake Dembea (Tana). This was the
first time ever that the source of the Blue Nile had been reached from the north.
The same route was followed fairly closely the next year by Dr. Theodore Krump,
who returned by the same route in 1702. These journeys to the Upper Blue
Nile have received very little recognition, though they represent considerable
achievements at a time when very little in the way of discovery was being
However, interest in travel during the latter part of the Seventeenth Century
and most of the Eighteenth Century was not completely dead even though little
new was actually achieved. Mapping of the area improved, and translations of
travellers' writings appeared. It is therefore surprising that in the latter part
of the Eighteenth Century someone could set off on an expedition with the
specific intention of discovering the source of the Blue Nile, and when that was
found to think that it had been found for the first time. Yet this was the
18 UGANDA JOURNAL
experience of James Bruce. Bruce travelled into Ethiopia from the Red Sea b
the route taken by most of the earlier Portuguese travellers. He set off in 176
and returned to the mouth of the Nile in 1773. On the course of this journey
Bruce visited Lake Tana, and in the process thought he had solved the mystery
of the source of the Nile. On returning to Europe he was informed by D'AnvilJ
of the earlier journeys to the lake of Paez and Lobo, and he seems to have
received this news with great disappointment. In London his journey was received
even more coldly, being scoffed at by some like Dr. Johnson and disbelieved by
others. There was therefore a long delay, until 1790, before his travels were
published as Travels to discover the source of the Nile in the years 1768-1773,
and this also was badly received. It is difficult to assess the role of Bruce
in the history of Nile discovery since he did not discover anything; yet although
he clearly overrated his own achievements he was probably underrated by his
contemporaries. Questions inevitably arise as to whether he was aware of the
works of Paez, Lobo and Poncet before he set off, or whether his reference in
his book to these people were inserted only after his meeting with D'Anville.
Bruce's own references to these individuals are interesting and merit repetition.
Chapter XII of Volume V of his travels is entitled "Attempts of the ancients to
discover the source of the Nile-No discovery made in later times-No evidence
of the Jesuits having arrived there-Kircher's account fabulous-Discovery
completely made by the author". Later in this chapter he writes that "None of
the Portuguese who first arrived in Abyssinia, neither Covilham, Roderigo de Lima,
Christopher da Gama, nor the patriarch Alphonso Mendes ever saw or indeed
pretended to have seen the source of the Nile. At last in the reign of Za Denghel
came Peter Paez who laid claim to this honour; how far his pretensions are just
I am now going to consider." (Bruce, 1790, Vol. V, p. 287.) Bruce then reports
that he has examined three original copies of Paez's account and that the
reference to discovering the source of the Nile does not appear in any of them
and that therefore he concludes that the account in Kircher's translation had
been fabricated. However, it is clear from Bruce's own account of his researches
that he was looking for Paez's discovery in the journal for 1618-9 which pre-
sumably is the date that Kircher gives for the discovery, whereas the discovery
was really made in 1613. Bruce then refers to a number of Portuguese books on
Ethiopia which do not mention the discovery of Paez, which strengthens his
opinion that the Kircher account had no foundation. When it comes to consider-
ing the travels of Jerome Lobo, Bruce is even more caustic than he was on
Kircher, for he writes that "One would be almost tempted to think that Jerome
Lobo was a man-eater himself and had taught this custom to these savages",
whilst Dr. Johnson's translation is dismissed as a "heap of fables, full of ignorance
and presumption". (Bruce, 1790, Vol. IV, p. 328.) The possibility of Lobo having
been to the source of the Nile is never considered. On the other hand, Bruce
comes to the defence of Dr. Poncet and confirms that Dr. Poncet did get at least
to Gondar but there is no mention of his having reached the lake. From the
account in Bruce it would appear that Dr. Poncet's account had received equally
as rough handling in France as had his own in London some eighty years
Although, as we know, Bruce's travels did not achieve anything new, perhaps
one should not write him off in too negative a way. In many respects Bruce was a
forerunner of the great explorers who followed in the next century and his
journey gave encouragement to others who came later. Amongst those directly
encouraged to travel by reading Bruce's account was a young person called
CONCEPTS OF THE NILE
William Browne who in 1793 explored in the Darfur region of the Sudan.
As has already been inferred, the early Nineteenth Century saw a revival of
interest in the discovery of interior Africa. Some of the earliest expeditions
down the Nile were sponsored by the Khedive of Egypt, Mohammed Ali, who
also encouraged exploration in Libya and Nubia. Small expeditions were sent
down the Nile to the vicinity of the Atbara and Blue Nile interfluve under
Saillaud and Letorzen in 1818-1823, whilst Riippel worked in Darfur in 1824.
penetration down the White Nile began after the establishment of the town of
Khartoum in 1820. First, Adolfe de Bellefonds (Linant Bey) a Belgian, sponsored
by the British African Association, got south to 136'N. in 1827, the furthest
,point reached since the expedition of Nero's centurions, and at this point he
deduced that the lake at the source of the Nile lay at 7N. Then a concentrated
effort at discovering the source began in 1839, and three expeditions took place
between then and 1841. All three of these expeditions were under the command of
Selim Bimbashi, but the main information concerning them has been handed
down by the accounts of Europeans who accompanied him. These included
Thibaut, D'Arnaud, Werne and Sabatier. Thibaut was for forty years a
Mohammedanised French consul at Khartoum who accompanied the first
expedition in 1839 which got down the Nile to as far as 630'N. just above Bor,
and noted the Bahr-el-Ghazal junction and Lake No, which may very probably
have been the lake which Bellefonds had heard about. This expedition spent about
a month in the Sudd region and returned late in January 1840. The second
expedition of 1840-1, also under Selim Bimbashi, and including Thibaut,
D'Arnaud, Sabatier and Werne, got slightly further south to about 442'N. to
just beyond Gondokoro to where the rapids begin. The third expedition with
Selim, Thibaut, D'Arnaud and Sabatier in 1841 was less successful and
penetrated no further south.
After these expeditions, other individuals such as De Malzac in the early 1850's
and Dr. Ignatz Knoblecher got through the Sudd zone but added little to the
knowledge of the area. Dr. Knoblecher was an Austrian missionary at Gondokoro
throughout the 1850's and these missionaries only abandoned their station at
Gondokoro in 1862 after fifteen out of the seventeen people sent to the southern
Sudan had died there. During the time he was there Knoblecher explored a little
further south to Rejaf and Mount Logwek and learned from the Bari people that
the river came a considerable distance from the south and that it issued from a
At much this same time the Bahr-el-Ghazal, the western tributary of the Nile
and others parallel to it were being explored. In this area Dr. Albert Peney
worked on the Yei River but died at Fort Berkeley on the White Nile in 1861.
De Malzac also travelled on the Bahr-el-Ghazal and may have been the first
European to have reached the Niam-niam people. The most famous person
working in this area was John Petherick, an ivory trader who, between 1848 and
1863, had penetrated much of the southwest Sudan and made contact with the
Upper Uele, a tributary of the Congo. Petherick is of importance in that he met
Speke late in 1859 before Speke set off for the Nile in April 1860, and it was
from Petherick that Speke obtained his most recent news about the condition of
the Upper Nile. Petherick even undertook to meet Speke at Gondokoro if Speke
were to get that far. In due course, they did meet there, but Speke was the first
to arrive and was clearly annoyed at the absence of Petherick.
This completes the list of explorers into the Upper Nile region of whom Speke
may have been aware. However, yet another person had penetrated further south
20 UGANDA JOURNAL
still, though Speke had departed on his journey before this record became know
Giovanni Miani had ascended the Nile to within what he thought to be 2 of th
Equator. This journey is fully discussed by H. B. Thomas in an earlier edition
of this Journal (Thomas, H. B., Uganda J. 1939, pp. 176-194). This little know
journey is particularly significant in that Miani had travelled sufficiently far sou
to have approached the borders of the present-day Uganda, and must have bee
the first European to have caught sight of the country. On the 26th March, 1860
Miani had reached the Unyama River, just south of Nimule, and carved hi.
name on a tree there. He records in his journal "at Galuffi I cut my name onr
the trunk of a large tamarind tree, in the shade of which the old men, who I ha
called together, told me the sources of the Nile were beyond Patico, where ended
their tribe which adjoins the Galla" (Thomas, H. B., Uganda J. 1939, p. 191).
Miani also drew a map of the country south of this point which includes many
names familiar still today. Speke also records finding this same tree and notes its
position, more accurately than Miani, as being 3 30'N. Miani's tree still stands,
just over the border in the southern Sudan.
In addition to Miani, this same region had been entered by a Maltese slave
trader, Amabile De Bono, a nephew of the famous slaver Andrea De Bono.
Amabile must be the first European to have entered the confines of present-day
Uganda, though his visit can scarcely be looked upon as part of an expedition of
exploration. Amabile had descended to Faloro in the present East Madi county
and had probably established a depot there late in 1861 (Thomas and Scott, 1935,
p. 8). Although it is fitting to commemorate the centenary of Speke's discovery
of the Ripon Falls as the outlet of the Nile from Lake Victoria, it is also
appropriate to recall that Speke may not have been the first European to approach
Uganda, and that the achievements of Miani and De Bono are seldom recognized.
This essay has so far summarised the ideas concerning the origin of the
Nile and the way in which these ideas were expressed in map form and the
manner in which the ideas were partly confirmed by exploration prior to Speke.
In conclusion it is worth noting that during the Nineteenth Century the increase
in geographical knowledge of Central Africa gave rise to new problems and
different concepts. Dr. Livingstone, for instance, had been seeking the source
of the Nile in the far south, thinking that the Lualaba River was a tributary of
the Nile, whereas it turned out to be a tributary of the Congo. The East African
explorers, Rebman and Erhardt, had produced stories of a great lake, Uniamesi, in
the interior of East Africa, which could well have been the source of the Nile.
Finally, too, there was Speke's own discovery on his earlier journey with Burton
which revealed the southern end of what was later to be called Lake Victoria
and which he deduced to be at the source of the Nile. All these facts represent
ideas of the Nile which were current at the time that Speke departed on his
final journey to solve the mystery in 1859. On his way, in Zanzibar, he was also
shown yet another version of the interior great lakes, this time purporting to be
derived from the knowledge of the Purans of the ancient Hindus, and which had
been published in the Asiatic Review for 1801 by Francis Wilford. This showed
a large lake in East Africa with the Nile leading out of it from the north and with
the Mountains of the Moon named in the south. This is commonly accepted as a
fraud, but Speke initially accepted it as probable enough. However, the origin of
these various stories and reports of interior lakes and their association with
other lakes discovered in Central Africa is part of a different story of exploration.
In conclusion, it must be noted also that Speke's own journey left many
questions unsolved. All that has been attempted here has been to draw attention
CONCEPTS OF THE NILE
o ideas and knowledge of the Upper Nile region which existed prior to the
journey of Speke and prior to the elucidation of Speke's findings by later
explorers such as Baker, Chaill6-Long Gordon, Stanley and Emin Pasha. Of
he work of all these explorers, Speke's was probably the most far-reaching in
ts effect, and it is the one most commonly accepted as providing the major clue
o the true source of the Nile.
It is proper, therefore, that the centenary of Speke's journey should be com-
memorated. Yet at the same time, it is appropriate to remember those who went
before him-from Hecateus to Herodotus; from Pliny to Ptolemy; to remember
the Greek, Roman and Arab travellers, traders and commentators; the German,
Dutch and French map-makers; the Portuguese missionaries; explorers from the
north from Bruce to Miani. All those named in this story-whether right or
wrong-whether correct or unwittingly misleading-need recognition for their
work in helping to make known that which was unknown, and for their contribu-
tion in solving one of the greatest mysteries of all time-the source of the Nile.
LIST OF WORKS CONSULTED
Baker, J. N. L. (1931, Reprint 1948) A History of Geographical Discovery and
Beazley, C. R. (1901, Reprint 1949) The Dawn of Modern Geography. 3 vols.
Bruce, J. (1790, Reprint 1805) Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile in the Years
1768-1773. 7 vols.
Bunbury, E. H. (1883, 2nd Edition) A History of Ancient Geography. 2 vols.
Cary, M. (1949) The Geographical Background to Greek and Roman History.
Crawford, O. G. S. (1949) Some Medieval Ideas about the Nile. Geographical Journal
Vol. 114, pp. 6-29.
Crone, G. R. (1953) Maps and Their Makers.
Crone, G. R. (1954) The World Map by Richard of Haldingham in Hereford Cathedral.
Debenham, F. (1955) The Way to Ilala.
Dickinson, R. E. & Howarth, O. J. R. (1933) The Making of Geography.
Fage, J. D. (1958) An Atlas of African History.
Heawood, E. (1912) A History of Geographical Discovery in the Seventeenth and
Hurst, H. E. (1952) The Nile.
Johnston, H. (1903) The Nile Quest.
Kimble, G. H. T. (1938) Geography in the Middle Ages.
Laistner, M. L. W. (1926, Reprint 1949) The Decay of Geographical Knowledge and the
Decline of Exploration A.D. 300-500. (Essay in Newton, A. P.-see under.)
Lane-Poole. E. H. (1950) The Discovery of Africa. (Rhodes Livingstone Museum,
Occasional Papers, No. 7.)
Langlands, B. W. (1961) Maps of Africa 1540-1850. (Uganda Museum Occasional
Papers, No. 5.)
Newton, A. P. (Ed.) (1926, Reprint 1949) Travels and Travellers in the Middle Ages.
Newton, A. P. (1926, Reprint 1949) The Concept of the World in the Middle Ages.
(Essay in Newton, A. P.-see above.)
Newton, A. P. (1926, Reprint 1949) European Travellers in Africa in the Middle Ages.
(Essay in Newton, A. P.-see above.)
Pigafetta, F. (1591, Reprint 1881) A History of the Kingdom of Congo.
22 UGANDA JOURNAL
Ross, E. D. (1926, Reprint 1949) Prester John and the Empire of Ethiopia. (Essay i1
Newton, A. P.-see above.)
Skelton, R. A. (1952) Decorative Printed Maps of the Fifteenth to Eighteenth Centuries
Smith, A. H. (1960) Decorative Maps of Africa. (Bulletin of the South African Museums
Association, Vol. 7 pp. 117-120.)
Speke, J. H. (1863) Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile.
Speke, J. H. (1864) What Led to the Discovery of the Source of the Nile.
Sykes, P. (1934, Reprint 1950) A History of Exploration.
Thomas, H. B. (1939) Giovanni Miani and the White Nile. Uganda Journal, Vol. 6,
Thomas, H. B. & Scott, R. (1935) Uganda.
Thomas, J. 0. (1948) A History of Ancient Geography.
Tooley, R. V. (1949) Maps and Map-makers.
Wood, H. J. (1951) Exploration and Discovery.
SIR JOHN SPEKE AND THE
ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY'
By R. C. BRIDGES
THE first Englishman to set foot in Uganda was not the emissary of his
government but of a private organisation-the Royal Geographical Society of
London. In the mid-years of the Victorian era, this society enjoyed its period of
greatest prosperity and power. Perhaps more than any other part of the world,
East Africa was affected by this prosperity. Between 1856 and 1885 there were
numerous expeditions in this region with which the R.G.S. was closely identified
if it had not, indeed, organized them itself. J. H. Speke's exploration of the Nile
sources area was the society's second major venture in a series of expeditions which
began with Burton's and included Livingstone's, Cameron's and Thomson's.
The R.G.S. was the heir to a tradition of geographical study in England which
began with the work of Richard Eden and Richard Hakluyt in the sixteenth
century. It was, in part, a manifestation of the Renaissance, for it was stimulated
by the reading of classical geographers whose work had recently come to light.
But it was also, of course, a reaction to the great discoveries of men like Drake
and Raleigh. This tradition remained strong in the succeeding centuries, under-
standably enough in a country which was becoming the foremost mercantile
nation of the world. Hakluyt had lectured at Oxford and had helped to make
geography a university subject. The undergraduate was given an account of the
world as it was known at the time "in order that he might correct and supplement
the information he acquired from classical authors .. ."2 In the nineteenth
century, the "arm-chair geographer" demonstrated in a vigorous manner the
strength of this tradition of study.
In fact, however, strictly academic geography sank into a low state in the
eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. While there were important develop-
ments in the mathematical and astronomical appendages of the subject, it did
not share the transformations which took place in other sciences.3 The position
is well illustrated in the work of the Royal Society. Out of 5,336 papers published
in its Philosophical Transactions between 1665 and 1848, only 77 were concerned
with geography.4 Nevertheless, geography remained part of the well-educated
man's studies and collections of voyages and travels were frequently published.
These collections were often infected with semi-mythical material and even the
best contained mistakes about remote areas like East Africa. As late as 1812,
Malindi and Kilwa were listed as Portuguese settlements.5
Mistakes and mythical features on maps were also very common in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Early in the latter period, however, a
reformation began with the work of the great French map-makers Delisle and
D'Anville. As far as Africa was concerned, genuine Ptolemaic features of the
map were confined within the proper latitudes and all the accretions of mythical
towns, lakes and rivers were swept away. In England, the work was taken up
most enthusiastically by Major James Rennell (1742-1830) who, after a career of
surveying and map-making for the East India Company, turned his attention to
the problems of African cartography.6 His and others' critical approach to
map-making, aided by the development of hydrographic and ordnance survey
24 UGANDA JOURNAL
work on the part of the naval and military authorities in both England an
India, resulted in the establishment of a pre-eminent school of map-makers i
England. Aaron Arrowsmith, for example, started work in London in 1780.
His nephew and successor, John Arrowsmith, was later to be closely associate
with the work of the R.G.S.
A more discerning use of authorities was also reflected in writings on Africa
in the early nineteenth century. English scholars began not only to look at their
Herodotus and their Ptolemy more closely but also to analyse very carefully
sixteenth and seventeenth century Portuguese sources on Africa. The
development of oriental textual criticism made it possible also to consult Arab
geographers.8 It is important to note, however, that this was a reformation in
geographical study rather than a revolution. The basic approach remained as it
had been in Hakluyt's time; English academic geography did not, until much
later, take the philosophical direction indicated by continental scholars like
Humboldt and Ritter. Descriptive rather than analytic, the subject tended to
limit itself to the gathering of information and the correct placing of features
on the map.
While the reliance placed on classical and other ancient sources remained
strong, it was becoming increasingly obvious that African geography particularly
needed the stimulus of new discoveries if advances were to be made. This was
why, in 1788, the African Association was founded. The association was formed
from a dining club and consisted mainly of aristocratic patrons of science. All
the leading members were fellows of the Royal Society, the most outstanding
being Sir Joseph Banks. Under Banks' leadership, the Association began to send
travellers to West Africa whose reports were published in the Proceedings of
the Association accompanied by maps drawn by Major Rennell. The African
Association was quite distinct in origin from the contemporary humanitarian
West African ventures; the leading members tried to be impartial about the
slave trade, if they did not actually oppose abolition.9 There was some interest
in East Africa and at one point, the Association attempted to set up a subsidiary
in India to promote East African work. Henry Salt's visit to Mozambique in 1809
was made at the request of the Association.10
As the government took over the sponsorship of West African exploration from
about 1805, there was a decline in the importance of the Association. Although
it remained in existence, the mantle of its work fell upon the second secretary at
the Admiralty, John Barrow, who organized, for example, the Congo Expedition
of 1816. Barrow also helped to keep alive interest in problems of geographical
discovery with the 195 articles he wrote for the Quarterly Review.
By the late 1820's, however, it was beginning to be felt in geographical circles
that a permanent institution to promote and discuss exploration was needed.
Naval survey ships and merchant ships were now more frequently visiting remote
parts of the world like East Africa. At the same time, it was becoming common
for discharged soldiers and sailors to travel overland in the less well known parts
of Europe and Asia. One response to the need for discussion of such enterprises
was the foundation of the Raleigh Travellers' Club in 1826. Once again, this
was a dining club; each of the members was supposed to represent a particular
part of the world and supply choice dishes indigenous to it for the curiosity of
his fellows. Although as a gastronomic institution the club lasted for thirty years,
many of its members felt that it was not the proper organization for the learned
discussion of travel and exploration. While there were now geographical societies
in Berlin and Paris, and nearly every other serious subject had its own society
SPEKE AND THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY 25
in London, England could not boast a geographical society. The idea of forming
one was first seriously put forward in 1828 but the project was not brought
to fruition until John Barrow was persuaded by other members of the Raleigh
Club to organize a new society in 1830. A meeting of the Club on the 24th May
reed that the objects of the institution should be to collect, register and
publish new information, to accumulate a collection of books and maps, to
acquire stocks of surveying instruments, to promote exploration and to keep
in touch with geographers and explorers in all parts of the world.'1
Royal patronage was secured for the society and William IV agreed to award
an "annual premium" of fifty guineas. The first man to receive the premium
was Richard Lander of Niger fame. Discussion of his work which took place in
the new society well illustrates the contemporary attitude to geography: his
achievement was considered in the light of what the classical geographers had
said about the Niger. On the accession of Queen Victoria the premium was
divided so that two gold medals-the "Founder's" and the "Patron's"-could
be struck each year and awarded to two outstanding geographers or explorers.12
The African Association had merged itself with the R.G.S. shortly after the
latter's foundation. In 1832 the new society succeeded, where the old one had
failed, in stimulating the formation of a branch organization in India-the
Bombay Geographical Society.13
The new society rapidly became a meeting place for the Admiralty hydro-
graphers, the military surveyors and others whose work took them to little known
parts of the world. Correct delineation of coastlines, lakes, rivers and mountains
was the professional interest of the surveyors and their influence had an inevitable
effect on the type of geography practised by the R.G.S. A man who could take
observations accurate enough to be the basis for the construction of a map was
a good practical geographer. The high regard in which the society later held
Livingstone was largely owing to his skill in this direction. The interests of the
theoretical geographers who also joined the society were, in essence, little different.
As the most famous or, perhaps, notorious of the theoretical geographers-
W. D. Cooley-said, "the first requisite in a correct system of geography is to
determine accurately the relative position of places."'4 The written results of
this type of geographical investigation can make tiresome reading in an age when
all the facts are easily available in good atlases and maps. In the mid-nineteenth
century, however, gathering these data was a vital need; filling blanks on the map
was, therefore, interesting and, if it involved something like placing the sources
of the Nile, very exciting.
The explorers and practical geographers associated with the R.G.S. performed
a tremendous service by gathering the basic material for geographical study.
Hardly less than the explorers, however, the theoretical or "arm-chair geogra-
phers" deserve recognition for the part they played in the work of the R.G.S.
W. D. Cooley is the best known of these geographers as far as Africa is
concerned. The abuse heaped upon him by practical geographers for his obstinate
refusal to accept the facts they discovered has blighted his reputation. Yet he
performed a great service for the cause of East African exploration by stimulating
discussion of the problems to be solved in the interior and attempting to promote
expeditions. In a wider field, the academic world had good cause to remember
his name with gratitude if only because he was instrumental in founding the
Hakluyt Society.15 Cooley first came to notice at the time of the foundation of
the R.G.S. by publishing a history of discovery and exposing as fraudulent a
Frenchman's claim to have explored the Congo. He became a vice-president of
26 UGANDA JOURNAL
the R.G.S. and organized an expedition for exploration in South-East Africa
which, unfortunately, did its work in South-West Africa.16 Although he lost hi
office in the society as a result of a dispute with the Secretary, Cooley continued
to attempt to organize East African expeditions. He made three separate attempts
before 1837 to persuade Lt. Emery of the Mombasa protectorate to return t
Africa but the R.G.S. naturally shied away from Emery's realistic estimate o
3,000 as the cost of reaching the interior lake from the coast.17
The existence of at least one great lake in the interior of East Africa was
first widely made known by Cooley in 1835. In the next few years, he continued
his researches among the classical Arab and Portuguese authorities on East
Africa, as well as considering the trickle of contemporary information filtering
through from Mozambique and Zanzibar. As a result, he was able to produce
an article for the R.G.S. on Lake Nyasa in 1845 which was a source of
enlightenment and argument for the following ten years.18 Other articles and
books continued to flow from his pen and to stimulate the interest which
eventually encouraged the R.G.S. to send its own expedition to East Africa.
No less prolific a writer on East Africa was James M'Queen. Having made a
reputation by correctly forecasting the course of the Niger, he returned his
attention to East Africa. M'Queen's article, of 1855, on the lake regions of
Central Africa, based on information he had garnered from Portuguese and Arab
informants, showed a remarkably close approximation to the truth in the positions
it gave to the great lakes. Dr. Charles Beke was a third important "arm-chair
geographer" of this period. Although he was himself an explorer, and received
the gold medal for his work in Abyssinia, Beke attracted most attention with
his attempts to pinpoint the location of Ptolemy's "Mountains of the Moon" and
One of the leading personalities of the R.G.S. from its earliest days was Sir
Roderick Murchison. Partly as a result of the work of the theoretical geographers,
he seems to have developed an interest in the African interior. This had important
results for the society and Africa. Murchison, born in 1792, served with distinc-
tion in the Napoleonic Wars and then took to the normal pursuits of a country
gentleman. It was his wife and Sir Humphrey Davy, however, who persuaded
him to forsake the expensive pleasures of hunting at Melton Mowbray for the
more refined satisfactions of geological investigation. Although elected to the
Royal Society because of his wealth and position, Murchison rapidly gained
eminence by establishing the Silurian succession of rocks in Wales and the Urals.
It may be that he was only a "gifted amateur" unable to appreciate the tremen-
dous developments in the philosophy of his subject in the age of Darwin but
he deserves his place as an eminent scientist. One thing which he was able to
do because of his social standing was to help to make science respectable. For
example, having taken a leading part in the foundation of the British Association
he rescued it from a "smear campaign" conducted in The Times by securing the
patronage of Prince Albert and other noblemen.
In the 1850's, Murchison was embroiled in a series of violent controversies with
fellow geologists and it may have been because of this that he increasingly spent
his time in promoting the work of the R.G.S., of which he had been a founder
member. Again taking advantage of his social position, he endeavoured to make
its meetings as popular as they were scientific.
African exploration was romantic enough to make popular subject for R.G.S.
meetings and Murchison rapidly made himself master of the outstanding
problems. His correspondence shows that he was "entirely ignorant" on African
SPEKE AND THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY 27
subjects in 1844 and asked Cooley for enlightenment. Very soon he was producing
his own theories about the interior and he can, from this point of view, be
classified with the "arm-chair geographers".20
The R.G.S. and the "arm-chair geographers" were glad to receive what little
new information came in from East Africa in the 1840's and '50's. It was perhaps
unfortunate that Consul Hamerton in Zanzibar proved unwilling to send
material to the society,21 but Krapf, Rebmann and Erhardt of the Church
Missionary Society were working on the mainland. Krapf had ambitious plans
for his mission; it would penetrate the interior rather than remain to preach in
one limited area. Early results of this sort of idea were, of course, the discovery
of Mounts Kilimanjaro and Kenya in the years 1848 and 1849. This was only the
most dramatic of the information which the mission provided for dissection by
the "arm-chair geographers". Krapf's own connection with the mission effectively
ceased in 1853. By this time, the geographical results of the mission's work
appearing in the Church Missionary Intelligencer, noticed in the presidential
addresses of the R.G.S. and commented upon in books and articles by Cooley,
M'Queen and Beke had done much to stimulate the desire for a full-scale
expedition in East Africa. The importance of the "slug-map" of 1855 was merely
that it added another version of the lakes of the interior to those of Cooley and
M'Queen. It was produced by the inexperienced Erhardt; Krapf, who knew much
better, had nothing to do with it.22
By the time the R.G.S. received a copy of Erhardt's map, the possibility of
organizing an East African expedition was very much in the air. In the 1850's, an
improved financial and social position generated the confidence necessary to
plan expeditions. After an encouraging start the society had fallen on hard times
in the "hungry forties". No expeditions were sent out between 1841 and 1851
and the number of subscriptions dropped. At the lowest ebb of its fortunes, the
Council of the Society actually contemplated allowing women to become fellows.
The society was rescued from its financial and administrative troubles during
the presidency of Admiral W. H. Smyth in 1849-51. He insisted on the payment
of arrears of subscriptions and refused to allow unnecessary expenditure. This
revival coincided with the appointment of a new assistant (paid) secretary called
Norton Shaw who went on to help Murchison make the society increasingly
prosperous during the succeeding two decades.23
This era of prosperity was also the era of "scientific exploration" of Africa.
Paradoxically, the advent of practical explorers did not end the reign of the
"arm-chair geographers" at the R.G.S. Cooley, M'Queen and company had
almost as much attention paid to them as the explorers themselves. Personal
animosities among both theoretical and practical geographers complicated all
the issues discussed but probably served to intensify the interest created by the
meetings. Especially on "African nights" the R.G.S. became the scene of animated
and even acrimonious discussions. The part of the society began to play in
opening up Africa probably did more than anything else to raise its popularity
and prestige. In 1856-7, 173 new fellows were elected to the society, which was
an unprecedented increase. Yet the figure continued to rise each year until, by
1865, there were altogether 2,000 fellows-a far larger number than any other
scientific society in London could boast. One consequence was that the society's
investments increased from under 2,000 in 1855 to 11,000 in 186524; the
possibility of financing expeditions could now be contemplated although the
Council of the Society always preferred to persuade others to give money if it
28 UGANDA JOURNAL
It could hardly be claimed that this prosperity resulted from any renaissance
in the study of geography as a scientific subject. Indeed, the society probably
began to forfeit the respect of men like Darwin, Wallace and Hooker who ha
initially shown great interest in its work. The situation is well illustrated b
the development of the British Association where each year geographers could
meet with other scientists. In 1851, Murchison had secured a new arrangement
of sections which actually divorced geography from geology. Section E now
comprised geography and ethnology but relatively little attention was paid to
the latter; this section became virtually the summer vacation meeting of the
R.G.S. By 1860, Murchison could claim that the section was "second in
popularity and utility to no other". This popularity was largely achieved by letting
famous explorers address the meetings, at the expense of alienating the support
of other scientists.25
There was always a tendency for the R.G.S. to insist on first publication rights
of the results of its explorers' work. This insistence was again for reasons of
prestige rather than science. Judging from the fact that even the society's new
headquarters, acquired in 1854, were not large enough to contain all those who
wanted to attend African meetings, it was a successful policy. Another innovation
of this period, largely designed to increase the public appeal of the society, was
the publication of the Proceedings in addition to the Journal.
Administratively, the society settled down under a council of distinguished
men which was aided by the work of a number of committees. The Expedition
Committee made its appearance in 1852.26 This committee and, indeed, every
other aspect of the Society's work was increasingly dominated by the personality
of Murchison. In the twenty years between 1851 and his death, he was president
no less than fourteen times and, even when not officially in the chair, effectively
ruled the society in place of figurehead presidents like the Earl of Ripon. If
Murchison's knighthood of 1846 was for his geological work, then his baronetcy
of 1866 was undoubtedly for his promotion of exploration through the R.G.S.
No doubt it was flattering to have "so clever a young man" as the Earl of
Carnarvon petitioning him for a place at an R.G.S. dinner, but Murchison
regarded his intimacy with the fashionable and influential classes as a legitimate
means of getting support for the society.27
Largely as a result of Murchison's activities, the R.G.S. was able to obtain a
good many favours from leading members of the government. Murchison's
lobbying extended even beyond his own country: during the Schleswig-Holstein
dispute, he was able to persuade the Danes to lift the blockage on the Albe so
that Von der Decken's boat could go to East Africa.28 From British government
and the Indian authorities, the R.G.S. obtained not only direct financial aid,
but also numerous other favours ranging from paid leave and free transit for
explorers to the loan of arms and ammunition. If commercial or political con-
siderations arose, however, the society generally assumed that these were no
concern of theirs. Although a seal was set on its respectability with the govern-
ment by the securing of an annual grant and a royal character, and although
Murchison often talked admiringly of the Russian Geographical Society wielding
the "power and influence of the Imperial Government",29 the R.G.S. was never
really anything more than a private society.
The large numbers of peers and M.P.s who patronized the society did so
less for reasons of state than because Murchison had made its rooms a popular
and fashionable meeting place. There is a suspicion that the prestige of belonging
to a scientific society did not, in this case, necessarily require specialized
SPEKE AND THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY 29
knowledge. The real stimulus tended to come from the humbler social, if more
arrogant academic, position of the "arm-chair geographers". In many of the
commentss he made upon the exploration of the 1850's and '60's, Murchison
acknowledged this stimulus. In fact, influence with the government was used to
secure civil list pensions for both M'Queen and Cooley.30
When the R.G.S. came to organize their first major expedition in East Africa,
he obvious choice as leader was Richard Burton. His "pilgrimage" to Mecca
and penetration of the Eastern Horn of Africa to Harar showed his resourceful
qualities. For his own part, from at least 1853, Burton had been anxious to
command an expedition from Zanzibar. His application to carry out this project
in 1855 arrived at about the same time as Erhardt's map and memoir reached
the R.G.S.31 A number of powerful members of the R.G.S. were determined to
seize the opportunity to mount an expedition to the lakes. In this case, the
initiative obviously came from Colonel W. H. Sykes, then chairman of the Court
of Directors of the East India Company as well as a member of the R.G.S.
Council.32 Murchison's influence proved of value in obtaining a grant of 1,000
from the Treasury. Unfortunately, Sykes and the East India Company then
backed out of a promise to pay a similar amount, but it was decided to go
ahead with the plans notwithstanding.33 There is no doubt that the R.G.S. made
a great mistake in not pressing for the 2,000 they had originally envisaged as
necessary; Burton's expedition was seriously under-financed.
The instructions issued to Burton contain the germ of the idea which was
ultimately to lead Speke to the sources of the Nile. Whatever Burton and his
supporters may have argued afterwards, he was told that after reaching the
"reputed lake Nyassa", he was to proceed northwards towards "the range of
mountains marked upon our maps as containing the probable sources of the
Bahr el Abiad (White Nile), which it will be your next great object to discover."34
Speke himself was one of a number of others invited to join the expedition
including Erhardt, Rebmann, Corporal Church-of West African fame-and
Dr. Steinhaeuser-the surgeon at Aden. Speke was willing to give up his sick
leave for the chance to penetrate Africa again after the first unsatisfactory attempt
in Somaliland two years before.35 In the event only he was able to join Burton.
The two years these men of such contrasting temperaments spent together was
obviously a breeding time for antipathy. But this sort of situation was normal
enough during African expeditions; it was only afterwards that their quarrels
reached the proportions of complete estrangement. The question of Speke's
"flying trip" to the southern end of what he was to call Lake Victoria is a case
in point. Speke rejoined Burton at Tabora in August 1858 convinced that he
had discovered the source of the Nile. Whatever doubts Burton may have had
at the time, he certainly exaggerated them later. Before returning to England, he
wrote to the R.G.S. to say that Speke had discovered the "source of the principal
feeder of the White Nile". His early accounts of the expedition after reaching
home took much the same stand, although he now maintained that it could not
be the main source.36
The constant allusions to the importance of what his companion had done
must have been galling to Burton. On the occasion when the R.G.S. awarded
him their gold medal, for example, Murchison used the opportunity mainly to
praise Speke. Nevertheless, Burton replied by himself generously praising his
companion. This was in May 1859.37 It was not until the end of that year that the
breach between the two men became irreparable. As much as anything, this was
a result of the dispute over the expenses of the late expedition. From the
30 UGANDA JOURNAL
somewhat complex arguments and allegations, two or three important fact
emerge. In the first place, the expedition was seriously under-financed. Secondly
the agreements and contracts made at the beginning of the journey were nevel
properly recorded because Consul Hamerton was unfit to do so just before hi,
death. Whether or not Burton was justified in claiming that agreements with
porters were conditional upon behaviour, a stronger motive in his case fo
avoiding some of the payments was obviously to save his own pocket. Total
expenditure by Burton on the expedition was almost 2,500. Someone therefore
had to find 1,500, quite apart from the extra claims which Consul Rigby met
from Indian funds. In the event, Speke paid 600 and Burton the rest. But
this arrangement came too late to mollify Burton for he felt that the obloquy
he suffered over the expenses was largely a result of the critical letters Speke
had written to Rigby and later to the Indian authorities. It was just after he heard
about these letters that Burton wrote to Norton Shaw at the R.G.S. saying that
he wished to have no more "private or direct communication with Speke."38
Speke's argument that Burton ought to have paid all his employees, however
badly they behaved, is understandable in view of the fact that he was in the midst
of planning the Nile expedition by the end of 1859. Failure to meet the claims
would make it difficult to recruit porters a second time in Zanzibar. When the
R.G.S. began to make plans for this second expedition, however, the dispute
over expenses had not yet arisen; it was not one of the reasons for Speke rather
than Burton being chosen to lead a new venture. Nor is it right to assume that
Speke stole a march on Burton by arriving home and securing the position before
Burton had a chance to put his plans to the R.G.S. Speke did not steal all the
limelight; Burton received the gold medal and was given the unprecedented
opportunity of taking up a complete issue of the Journal with the account of his
It is clear that both men wished to undertake a second expedition to the lakes.
Burton may have delayed the departure from Zanzibar in 1859 because he hoped
to organize another journey immediately. Speke obviously realized that his own
aims could best be achieved by making arrangements in England and this is no
doubt why he was so anxious to hurry home leaving Burton in Aden. He
certainly received immediate encouragement from Murchison who is supposed
to have said, "Speke, we must send you there again." Speke's account continues:
"A council of the Geographical Society was now convened to ascertain what
projects I had in view for making good my discovery by connecting the lake
with the Nile, as also what assistance I should want for that purpose."39
The "council" to which Speke refers was, in fact, the expedition committee of
the Society. It did not meet until the 20th June, 1859, and then considered not
only Speke's plans but Burton's as well. Murchison was certainly anxious to
ensure Speke's success but nothing was actually decided until the following day
when both the explorers appeared in person before a special sub-committee set
up to consider their requests. It is hardly true to say, therefore, that when
Burton returned to England on May 21st, he found the ground already cut
from under him and "his own long-cherished plan dismissed as unworthy of
In their report, the sub-committee recommended both plans. Speke would
return to his lake by the route he had already travelled, arranging to have
supplies sent ahead to Tabora before he set out himself in May 1860. Speke said
he needed 5,000; the government must provide not only this but a passage to
Zanzibar in a warship for the sake of the explorer's prestige. The R.G.S. doubted
SPEKE AND THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY 31
hat as much as 5,000 was necessary but agreed to ask the government for
2,000 with an additional 500 because Speke was competent to utilize the latter
um for collecting natural history specimens. Less interested in prestige, Captain
Burton proposed to enter East Africa in disguise. He would travel from the Juba
River area towards the Nile sources. If either man reached the Nile and travelled
down to Egypt, the government would be approached again for the cost of
sending the porters home.41
These two projects were not alone in the field in 1859. In India, Lord Elphin-
stone was trying to organize an expedition under the auspices of the Bombay
Geographical Society which would penetrate the interior from Mombasa. The
command was actually offered to Speke but once he had refused, the plan fell
Burton's plan also failed to get any further. Speke claimed that his own plan
was accepted because only he had brought back genuine geographical material
from the first expedition while "Burton had not shown himself capable of doing
anything but making ethnological remarks."43 The truth seems to have been that
Burton realized that he was not fit enough in 1859 to undertake another
expedition immediately. He was not prepared to fix a date for his plan. The
R.G.S. committee thereupon concluded that there was not the same urgency
about his request for support; they decided not to apply to the government for
financial aid until he was fit. Gradually Burton's scheme was forgotten as other
activities engrossed his attention. There is no evidence that the committee was
anti-Burton. On the other hand, Murchison had obviously taken a liking to
Speke and must bear some of the responsibility for the unhappy relations which
developed between the two men. On his return to England, for example, Speke
had been reluctant to publicize his map out of respect for Burton's position as
leader of the expedition. Murchison seems to have overruled his objections. This
was, in part, because the existence of Lake Victoria seemed to Murchison to
confirm his own hypotheses on the geography of the East African interior. At
any rate, it was Speke rather than Burton whom Murchison promoted as what
has been called the "annual lion" of the R.G.S., "whose roar was chiefly to please
the ladies and push the institution."44 Murchison clearly indicated that he thought
Speke should receive a gold medal for the 1858 discovery and it was, in fact,
awarded to him in 1861 long before he had actually discovered the Nile's connec-
tion with his lake. It is difficult to avoid the impression that the heroic treatment
meted out to Speke somewhat turned his head; in a letter to the R.G.S. early in
1860, for example, he proudly lists the eminent men who have said that he rather
than Burton ought to have been given the 1859 medal.45 Although Murchison
ceased to be president of the R.G.S. in May 1859 and was not on the committee
which considered the two projects, he doubtless used his considerable influence
to make sure that Speke's plan at least went through.
The council of the Society accepted the committee's report on June 27th and
the new president, the Earl de Grey and Ripon, promised to contact the govern-
ment to seek the 2,500 for Speke. It did not prove possible to push the plan
through as quickly as Speke had hoped. The noble Earl did not apply to the
Foreign Office until nearly two months had elapsed. This dilatoriness is perhaps
explained by the fact that it was then the summer vacation period for the R.G.S.
when there were no regular meetings. Ripon was also finding political and private
affairs engrossing in 1859: not only did he accept office in the new administration
of June, but he also found himself inheriting two earldoms. Murchison found it
necessary to assume the responsibility of pressing forward Speke's arrangements.4
32 UGANDA JOURNAL
The Foreign Office itself was somewhat tardy in dealing with Ripon's request
Lord John Russell, the new Foreign Secretary, did not approach the Treasur3
for the money until November and then only after Speke himself had written
reminder. The reply of the Treasury was admirably prompt-a refusal to grant
2,500 unless Lord John could give reasons which made the expedition "peculiarly
urgent and important for public interests."47 Probably Murchison got to world
among his friends for Russell merely replied that the cause of geographica
science" was at stake-and the Treasury relented. They added, however, that they
hoped there would be no similar calls for funds until there was "much less
pressure on the Public Exchequer."48 Such a desirable state of affairs never exists,
of course, but the caution was enough to make the Foreign Office chary of asking
for more money a little later when the R.G.S. wanted aid for Petherick's
Expedition to the relief of Speke. The Foreign Office also refused to get itself
involved in obtaining paid leave for Speke.
On this matter, as well as the provision of a warship for Speke's passage,
however, the India Office proved helpful to the R.G.S. By February 1860, they
had also promised to furnish arms and ammunition and some surveying instru-
ments. Speke seems to have been currently as much in favour with the Secretary
of State for India, Sir Charles Wood, as Burton was out of favour because of the
scandal over the expenses of the last expedition. In the event, no warship of the
Indian fleet was available at Aden but in this difficulty, the R.G.S. successfully
applied to the Admiralty for one of their warships to take Speke to Zanzibar by
the Cape route.49
During the months while these arrangements were being made, there were
several applicants to the R.G.S. for the post of second-in-command to Speke. In
October 1959 Speke had himself chosen an Indian traveller called Edmund Smyth.
But a little later he wrote: "I hear Smyth is feverishly inclined ... I won't have
him with me ... I am as hard as bricks". By January, he had come upon another
old friend, Captain Grant, who, besides being fit, was good tempered and had
"a conciliatory manner with coloured men."50 Grant's distinguished record in
India, particularly his work with Havelock's rearguard at Lucknow, meant that
the R.G.S. and the Indian authorities had little hesitation in arranging for him
to join Speke. Elected to the R.G.S. shortly after leaving England, Grant began
a long and useful connection with the Society particularly in its conduct of
The warship carrying Speke and Grant left England at the end of April 1860.
Speke enjoyed the trip; he danced with some "wondrous girls" at Madeira and
visited Rio. But the voyage was worthwhile in other respects for the ship also
happened to be carrying Sir George Grey. Arrived at Cape Town, the Governor
proved that his recall in disgrace the year before had cost him none of his prestige.
As an R.G.S. explorer of the 1830's he was anxious to help his successors and was
able to persuade the Cape Parliament to vote 300 to buy baggage mules for
Speke. Moreover, every member of Grey's bodyguard of Cape Mounted Riflemen
"volunteered" to accompany the expedition. Ten of these Hottentots were chosen
and sailed on to Zanzibar where the little party arrived on August 17th, 1860.52
Curiously enough, no one had seen fit to issue a set of instructions to Speke
until a month after he had left England. The R.G.S. repaired the deficiency by
sending them on before he set off for the interior. They were reasonably simple,
directing him to go round Lake Victoria, find the head of the White Nile and
try to trace it north to Gondokoro, all the while, of course, taking observations
for latitude and longitude. Some other specific requests for information were
SPEKE AND THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY 33
ade but, in general, he was required to furnish a "broad but accurate account"
f the countries he traversed, "sufficient to give the civilised world a geographical
knowledge of them." The usual stipulation was made that the R.G.S. had prior
right to the publication of this material. Finally, Speke was advised to endeavour
to reach Gondokoro in about December 1861.53
The latter instruction was important because it was hoped that, by that date,
John Petherick would be waiting with boats to carry the explorers down the
Nile. Petherick was a Welsh mining engineer who had entered Egypt in 1845 to
serve Mehemet Ali. After several fruitless years searching for coal, he took to
trading for ivory up the Nile valley. He was also appointed British Vice-Consul
at Khartoum. Returning to England in 1859, Petherick renewed an old
acquaintance with Murchison. As a result, the R.G.S. heard of the results of
Petherick's travels in the area west of the Nile among the tributaries of the
Bahr-el-Ghazal; he claimed (erroneously) to have reached as far south as the
Equator. More important was the fact that he contributed to the idea that, north
of his Victoria Lake, Speke would encounter difficult travelling conditions and
hostile tribes. What better than that a man who knew the area should meet and
Murchison brought the two men together and they later spent some time at
Speke's home, in December 1859, discussing the idea. Ambitious plans were
made for "ripping open Africa together". The initiative certainly seems to have
come from Speke who went on to get Murchison's approval for a joint operation.
Speke also overcame some of Petherick's reluctance by pointing out that he
could continue his ivory trading whilst working for the R.G.S.55 The two men
eventually agreed that, besides placing boats at Gondokoro, Petherick would
attempt to reach the lake from the north. Far from "gratuitously" offering his
services, as Speke later wrote, Petherick remained extremely cautious. He told
the R.G.S. that he would be able to carry out the scheme only if the Govern-
ment gave him financial support.56
Petherick said he would need 2,000, so once again the R.G.S. approached
the Foreign Office. But the Society knew that they could not expect such a sum
so soon after the grant of 2,500 to Speke. It was merely requested that
Petherick's consular salary be raised to 300 p.a. Even this modest demand was
unfavourably received. "I must say the Geographical Society draw largely on us,"
complained the Permanent Under-Secretary, Edmund Hammond. He recom-
mended rejecting this "new charge for the purposes of the society."57
For some time, the R.G.S. continued to hope that the Foreign Office would
relent and the scheme was still hanging fire when Speke and Grant left England.
By July 1860, however, it was clear that funds for Petherick would have to be
raised by public subscription. The idea of doing this seems to have been
Murchison's. He badly wanted Speke to succeed and it appeared to him that
success was more likely if Petherick was able to give support. Murchison himself
gave 20 and was soon engrossed in one of his campaigns among the "social
adherents" of the Society.58 The Council decided to "depart from their rule"
by giving 100 from the R.G.S. funds. Even the Foreign Office was later
persuaded by Murchison that it could spare something for Petherick, this "well
seasoned Hercules". He was given 100 and the title of "Consul for Inner
Subscriptions eventually totalled 1,200. Now Petherick had consistently
argued that with less than 2,000 he would be unable to travel south to the
lake as well as place boats at Gondokoro. However, the committee led by Francis
34 UGANDA JOURNAL
Galton which drew up the R.G.S. agreement with Petherick neglected this point
This agreement, of February 1861, bound the consul to place two well-armec
and provisioned boats on the Nile at Gondokoro by November of the same yeal
and, if Speke had not by then arrived, to go further south to meet him
Petherick must be ready to help Speke until June 1862 but he was not bound tc
remain in Gondokoro after that date. What happened if Petherick did go further
south? Did the contract still terminate in June 1862? The point was further
confused by the assertion that there was enough money to allow him to stay on
the river for two years. Additional instructions ordered Petherick to take observa-
tions of latitude and longitude, etc., but did nothing to clarify the contract.
Petherick reiterated that there was not enough money for him to get to the lake
but promised to push a little way beyond Gondokoro if that seemed necessary.6
The lack of precision in the agreement partly accounts for Petherick suffering
disgrace at the hands of Speke a few years later. Perhaps the most unfortunate
part of the affair, however, was the fact that Speke and Grant themselves knew
nothing of the agreements and Petherick's reservations. Although copies of the
agreement were forwarded via the Cape, they never reached the explorers who
knew nothing even of the public subscription raised to make the relief expedition
possible until reaching Gondokoro in 1863.
While Petherick was fitting out his boats and preparing to go up the river
with his newly-married wife, yet another explorer was setting out for the Nile
sources. Fired with an ambition to gather the glory of their discovery, and
doubting that Speke's Victoria Nyanza was the true source, Samuel Baker had
quietly made his own plans.61
As early as 1858, Baker had tried to organize an African expedition, hoping at
that time to supplement the work of Livingstone by exploring the Limpopo valley
area. The R.G.S. received his ideas favourably but not so the Foreign Office
which refused to grant the 1,000 requested for him.62 After a profitable spell
of railway building in the Near East, Baker again approached the R.G.S. for help
with his Nile plans. Fortunately, he did not on this occasion ask for money but
for instructions and guidance. The request was obviously a rather embarrassing
one for a society with two of its own expeditions in the field hunting for the
Nile sources. Consequently, the R.G.S. tried to divert Baker from the Nile to
the problem of the Sobat, flowing into the Nile from the south-east in about
10"N. The instructions added, rather illogically, that a meeting with Speke and
Grant might be one of his objects. Having no responsibility to the Society, Baker
never allowed these suggestions to modify his activities. Their only further
interest lies in the fact they alluded to the possibility of Burton's joining the
expedition. Baker seems to have wanted this himself. Nothing came of an idea
which would have made the famous Gondokoro meeting of 1863 even more
Baker set off up the Nile in April 1861 with goods and advice supplied by
Petherick. The consul himself left Cairo in August. Meanwhile, the main
expedition had set out from Zanzibar in the previous September. Speke and
Grant had received close attention and help from Consul Rigby; all were
determined not to allow lack of proper agreements with porters and suppliers of
trade goods to bedevil this expedition as it had the last.64
One other thing Rigby did for Speke at this stage in the preparations was to
draw his attention to an "ancient Hindu" map and description of East Africa.
It had been published some sixty years before in a volume of the Asiatic
Researches and Rigby had written a note about it in 1844 for the Transactions
SPEKE AND THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY 35
cf the Bombay Geographical Society. Speke was impressed by the curious docu-
mhent because it seemed to support his contention that the "Mountains of
the Moon" were south of the Victoria Nyanza and could not, therefore, as some
of his critics had suggested, be a barrier between the lake and the Nile.
Perhaps Speke thought that it was a useful piece of evidence to throw in the
faces of those who were so fond of dragging out Ptolemy and other ancient
authorities to confound the modern explorer. The map was incorporated in his
journal published in 1863. Unfortunately for Speke, the "arm-chair geographers"
new more about this document than either he or Rigby. Cooley and Beke scorn-
fully drew attention to the fact that the whole thing was a known forgery and
3peke prepared to withdraw the map from any subsequent edition of his book.65
In October 1860, however, Speke and Grant were well away from the "arm-
chair geographers" on the road to Uganda. Difficulties with porters increased
elays caused by wars and famine and, at the time when, according to the
.G.S. instructions, the expedition should have been nearing Gondokoro, the
explorers were at Rumanika's court in Karagwe. Knowing nothing of the
instructions, in any case, both men were heartened to hear a report of strangers
with boats on the Nile in the region north of Bunyoro. Speke left Grant to
nurse an ulcerated leg and entered Buganda in January 1862 but not before he
had sent off one of his men, Baraka, to establish contact with the party to the
north. He assumed that the report referred to Petherick.66 In fact, the origin of
the report was probably the presence of a party of men belonging to one of
Petherick's trading rivals, Amabile Musa de Bono. For the next ten months,
however, Speke and Grant continued to believe that Petherick was reasonably
near at hand. Despite a certain amount of obstruction from the Kabaka Mutesa,
who probably wished to prevent his kingdom from becoming merely a thorough-
fare between the Nile and the south, Speke succeeded in despatching further
messengers to "Petherick". The Consul was asked to come to Buganda if he
could, but not to wear uniform lest Mutesa might think him more important than
Speke himself. After all his efforts, it is perhaps understandable that Speke should
be upset when he later discovered that Petherick had been nowhere near Buganda
or Bunyoro. If this misapprehension had not arisen, Speke would, perhaps, have
gone eastwards into Busoga and then back to the coast through Masailand. He
certainly had this project in mind as a possibility and Mutesa himself would
have preferred it.67
The supposed presence of Petherick goes some way to explain the parting
between Speke and Grant when the former took his "flying" trip to the actual
point where the Nile flowed out of the lake. Grant acquiesced because his leg
still made it impossible for him to walk twenty miles in a day at a time when it
appeared all-important to communicate quickly with Petherick".68
Without his companion, therefore, Speke visited the Nile outlet on July 28th,
1862. He named the falls at that point after the Earl de Gray and Ripon. This
was surely a recognition of the work of the R.G.S. as a whole rather than its
somewhat neglectful president of 1859-60.69
After rejoining Grant, Speke marched on to Kamrasi's court in Bunyoro.
From there, more messengers were sent to the strangers' camp further north;
"Bombay" had actually got himself some clothes from these men although he
had not seen Petherick and no one could read Speke's letters. The explorers
themselves reached the outpost on December 3rd and now realized the camp was
not Petherick's but Amabile's. The merchant was not personally present but the
"Turks" who were there assured Speke that Amabile was "the same as Petrik"
36 UGANDA JOURNAL
They provided comparative luxuries for the two Europeans and after some delay
conducted the party to Gondokoro. It appears that Amabile had instructed hit
men to keep a look out for Speke and Grant. Since only twenty of Speke's men
now remained with the caravan, the help of Amabile was most welcome at this
point. Although the reports of boats at Faloro had proved mythical, a substitute
for Petherick had providentially appeared.70
On arriving in the neighbourhood of Gondokoro in February 1863, Spek
received further confirmation of the impression that it was to one of Petherick's
trading rivals rather than to the Consul himself that he was indebted for help!
A Circassian trader called Kurshid Agha met the expedition and explained that
Amabile had sent his men to look for them. Kurshid seems to have been an attrac
tive and hospitable man who impressed both Speke and Grant. It would not have
been surprising if he denigrated Petherick's efforts since the Consul had earlier
arrested both Amabile and himself for slave-trading. In fact, Amabile's uncle,
Andrea de Bono-the leading Khartoum merchant-and nearly all the other Nile
traders saw Petherick as a threat to their interests. Baker had warned the Consul
that there were intrigues going on to get rid of him; charges of himself taking
part in the slave-trade would be laid against Petherick.71 It is not difficult to
imagine that those who were plotting against Petherick found it possible to suggest
to Speke, already puzzled and disappointed by the Consul's non-appearance,
that there could be sinister reasons for his absence. Fuel was added to the
flames when Speke and Grant encountered Baker who told them that
over 1,000 had been raised by public subscription for Petherick. He added,
moreover, that the Consul was thought to be 70 miles away to the west at one of
his trading stations. Meanwhile, Baker himself was doing Petherick's job of
providing relief supplies at Gondokoro. In fact, Baker had not waited there
simply in order to meet the expedition. Although the R.G.S. had hoped he would
take Petherick's place on hearing a report of the latter's death, Baker himself
knew this report to be false. He had stayed on at Gondokoro because he wanted to
try to recruit porters from among Amabile's men whom he knew to be expected
from Faloro. As it happened, these men returned bringing Speke and Grant.72
Although three of Petherick's boats were moored at Gondokoro, the agent in
charge of them seems to have shown little willingness to offer provisions from
his stores. Only 95 yards of cloth changed hands before Petherick himself arrived
four days after the explorers. By that time, Speke was unwilling to take anything
from him except what Baker could not provide, and only a few more yards of
cloth were transferred. Speke firmly believed that Petherick had put his duty
towards the R.G.S. expedition second to his own economic interests. Yet, it
seemed, he was trying to convince everyone that he had relieved the expedition.
Speke christened his behaviour as the succourr dodge".
So another dispute was born. Though all the parties at Gondokoro dined
together in a reasonably amicable manner, and though Speke later wrote to
Petherick from Khartoum promising to do justice to the Consul's explanations
in reports to the R.G.S., he returned to England nursing a bitter grievance.73
Meanwhile the R.G.S. had heard Murchison tell them that a telegram had
arrived from Khartoum saying that "the Nile is settled". There was jubilation in
the society; after long months of silence they heard that their expedition was
safe and had solved a problem which had baffled all previous ages. The "arm-chair
geographers" were given their due share of praise by Murchison for contributing
to the result. The return of Speke was important enough for the summer vacation
to be interrupted by a special meeting for him on June 23rd. Not only the
SPEKE AND THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY 37
R.G.S., but the Foreign and India Offices and the P. & O. steamship company
tied with each other in doing favours for the explorer.
[ The chorus of adulation swelled even louder at the special R.G.S. meeting.
Windows were broken as crowds tried to get into the already packed hall. Since
Ppeke already had the R.G.S. gold medal, the society itself could offer no
further honour but, fortunately, the Queen sent her congratulations and the
Italian King a special medal. Speke's address to the Society does not read as
though it altogether lived up to the occasion and he could not refrain from
insulting Burton.74 Nevertheless, he was the hero of the hour in 1863 and a
full account of his work was eagerly awaited.
In the year or so intervening before his death, Speke's relations with the
R.G.S. gradually deteriorated. The expenses of the expedition did not, however,
cause trouble as in Burton's case although Speke's venture proved to have been
almost as badly under-financed. The India Office went back on a warning it had
given in 1860 and, after all, paid most of Speke's excess expenditure-an amount
which seems to have been well over 1,000. They also extended his paid leave up
to July 1864 because, as they said, the Indian Service had produced a man who
had accomplished a task at which even Caesar had failed. Speke's treatment of
his defaulting porters was far more severe than anything proposed by Burton in
1859: he arranged for those who reappeared in Zanzibar to be given terms of
imprisonment.75 On the other hand, provision for his faithfulss" was corres-
pondingly generous. Not only did he and Grant provide money to buy them land
in Zanzibar, but the R.G.S. was induced to award a silver medal to Bombay and
bronze ones for the rest. The society also began to pay a pension to Bombay and
continued to do so for many years.
Whilst all these arrangements were being made, other matters connected with
the expedition did not work out so happily. First of all, there was the virulent
attack launched on Speke's geography by Burton and many of the "arm-chair
geographers". Prof. J. N. L. Baker has shown how Burton and his supporters
managed to implant sufficient doubt in the minds of geographers about the
accuracy of Speke's work for the Nile sources question to remain open for another
ten years or more.77 Burton, of course, had his own reasons for disliking Speke
who certainly did everything to widen the breach between them. Many of the
"arm-chair geographers" and their own pet theories at stake. On the other hand,
most of these theoreticians had, in the past (with perhaps, the exception of
Cooley) been prepared to modify their theories to suit new knowledge. They
even went to great lengths to show that their own work had been the nearest
approach to the truth. In this case, Speke seems to have cause so many personal
antagonisms that no one could look at his work with an unjaundiced eye.
The dispute with Petherick is a case in point. Speke was obviously not prepared
to forget and forgive what he felt to be the Consul's shortcomings. As early as
May 1863, Petherick had complained of Speke's behaviour to him although
Grant remained "throughout the gentleman". Mrs. Petherick wrote to Murchison
to explain the difficulties which had beset them before they reached Gondokoro.
In November 1863, Murchison was sympathetic in his response but undeniably
faintly critical. The R.G.S. would need Petherick's full report, he said, to assure
themselves that the money subscribed had not been wasted.78
It was the end of 1863 before the most serious of Speke's allegations was given
publicity. In a Christmas Eve speech at Taunton, the explorer seems to have
repeated the story he no doubt heard from the Nile traders, that Petherick had
been personally involved in the slave trade. The only substance the charge had
38 UGANDA JOURNAL
was that one of his agents, whom the Consul had promptly clapped in irons, ha
bought slaves in 1862. At the time of this attack, Petherick was still in Africa but
hearing of the charge, decided to sue Speke. The explorer's death prevented an
action.79 Speke's book appeared at about the same time as his speech an
although the slavery charge was not repeated, it contained an incorrect as well a
uncharitable account of Petherick's work. The only justification for these attack
is that Speke had obviously, as we have seen, devoted much time and trouble
whilst in the lake region to the problem of contacting Petherick. In addition,i
Speke's mother had sent 100 to the Petherick fund on her son's behalf; in1
1863 he seems to have hoped to get this money back.80
After these attacks, a change in Murchison's attitude becomes noticeable.
Petherick's report and accounts were received by the society and Murchison read
out extracts to a meeting in April 1864. He took the opportunity of saying that
the charge of encouraging the slave trade had been "most unjustly brought
against Mr. Petherick". The reports were submitted to Galton, who had drawn
up the original agreement. He must have recommended the acceptance of
Petherick's explanations for not only were the proceedings of the April meeting
printed but, in the Journal, an expanded version of his diary appeared together
with the tabulated results of all his observations.81 Petherick's financial accounts
were also accepted by the society. The implication of all this was that R.G.S. had
obtained value for their money: Speke's charges were largely rejected.82
There may be indications here, then, that Murchison, Galton and others at the
R.G.S. took a rather poor view of Speke's criticism of Petherick. Much more
explicit was M'Queen's attack on Speke. The criticism of his geographical results
was only part of a larger campaign in which he joined Burton in disparaging
Speke's character. Friendship with Burton was one factor but M'Queen was
also a friend of D. B. McQuie who was Petherick's father-in-law. Thus
M'Queen's contributions to the Nile Basin contained a long defence of Petherick.
The defence was perhaps the less effective for being extremely intemperate; it
seems to have had the double purpose of justifying Petherick while broadly
hinting at sexual irregularities on Speke's part.83
Unfortunately, more was at stake for Petherick than his reputation with
geographers and the R.G.S. The Foreign Office had deprived him of his consul-
ship. Murchison's defence came too late to save him from this disgrace although
he later received an official letter acquitting him of the charge of complicity in
the slave trade.84 In an attempt fully to rehabilitate his reputation, Petherick,
perhaps rather unwisely, reopened the whole question of the conduct of his
expedition with the R.G.S.
The occasion was in May 1865 when the Society presented its gold medal to
Samuel Baker. The award was made not from Baker's geographical work-the
results of which were still unknown-but "for the chivalrous spirit he displayed
in rushing to the rescue of Speke and Grant". This was a rather flattering des-
cription of what Baker had done and it was not, in any case, the kind of service
which the gold medals usually acknowledged. At this stage, after Speke's death,
Murchison seems to have been trying to do something to restore the reputation
of his expedition. The standing of the gold medals must have been cheapened
had not Baker proved to have justified Murchison's hasty action by discovering
Lake Albert.85 Petherick objected to Baker's being rewarded merely for his
services at Gondokoro in February 1863 and went on to demand that the implied
reflection on his own work should be removed by some sort of award. A special
committee of the Society thereupon met to reconsider the whole case.86
SPEKE AND THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY 39
Petherick's reopening of the dispute after it had been more or less quietly
settled in his favour in 1864 must have put the R.G.S. in an awkward position. If
Petherick were conciliated, doubt might have been thrown on the justice of
having awarded a gold medal to Baker at all and the great reputation of the
society would have suffered. No doubt there was also an unwillingness after
1peke's death to make an explicit attack on him. Consequently two weak points
n Petherick's case were seized upon by the committee. In the first place, the
attempt to reach Gondokoro overland made by Petherick could be seen as the
result of a desire to collect ivory from one of his trading stations. The Consul
had said he made this trip because difficulties with his boats made it impossible
to continue by water. Secondly, it was hardly likely that Mussaud, who had
been sent to the south from the trading station, would have met Speke and
Grant so far west of the Nile even if they had been out of Uganda by late 1861.
A memorandum was sent to Petherick which did not, however, mention these
arguments. Instead, it pointed out that whereas the original agreement had called
for him to have boats at Gondokoro between November 1861 and June 1862,
these had been present only from January to May 1862. Petherick was asked
to comment on this memorandum.87 The statements in this document were true
but hardly relevant since Speke and Grant were nowhere near Gondokoro at the
time in question. Perhaps the committee, over which Murchison presided, hoped
that by this rather odd procedure Petherick could be induced to admit that
technically he had broken his contract. The whole thing could then be quietly
dropped. Not unnaturally, Petherick immediately replied by pointing out that
there had been three of his boats at Gondokoro when the explorers did arrive
and that he had gone on struggling to reach Gondokoro himself long after June
1862. To Petherick's disgust, Grant was allowed to be present at the Council
meeting which considered his reply. All that happened, however, was that the
full report of the committee was forwarded to Petherick and later published.
The committee did not feel, they said, that Petherick's work up to June 1862
demanded any special recognition and they were "unable to satisfy themselves
that Mr. Petherick's proceedings after that date were seriously modified by any
other motive than his own private speculations in trade".88
The slur remained on Petherick's name, therefore, through the reluctance of
the R.G.S. to question its own decision in having awarded a medal to Baker.
Grant's influence may also have had some effect on the proceedings. Petherick
could now only retire ruined in reputation and in pocket, for his work had
cost him over 4,000. Fortunately, the Egyptian government were generous,
where the British government and the R.G.S. had been harsh and unjust, and
awarded him compensation.89 It is hardly surprising, however, that he and his
friends remained critical of everything to do with Speke.
All these events took place after Speke's death but there had been other
developments, besides the Petherick case, which prejudiced geographers against
Speke during 1863-4. In fact, the acceptance of Petherick's report and
Murchison's defence of him in April 1864, may be better understood in the light
of the explorer's own relations with the society. He had flouted one of the rules
over which the R.G.S., and Murchison in particular, were most touchy. This was
the requirement that an explorer sponsored by the society should put all his
information at their disposal before publishing on his own account. In this way,
prestige and, perhaps, financial advantage could be gained from first revealing to
the world the details of a new discovery. This is what happened,-for example,
in the case of Burton's two principal accounts of his Lake Tanganyika 'expedition.
40 UGANDA JOURNAL
Speke apparently believed that fame might be delayed under this system. Whe
he was persuading Petherick to help him in 1859, for example, he advised th
Consul to publish the results of his previous work through Blackwoods. The
could spread one's work about for a much wider public than the R.G.S. wh
were, in any case, "slothful to the last degree". Speke's own disregard of R.G.S
rights in this respect caused some displeasure in 1859,90 but, in 1863, it was no
anticipated that the leader of the Nile expedition would neglect his employers
As the months after Speke's return went by, it became clear that he did no
intend to provide a paper for the Journal. Letters from the Assistant Secreta
were followed by personal appeal but all failed to move Speke from hi
resolution to keep the public waiting for the details of his African discoveries
until they could appear in his own book. As M'Queen complained, the source
of the Nile remained in the clouds; Speke "forbade anyone to attempt to seek
out the particular point until Blackwood had told the world where that point was
to be found."91
Having achieved the publicity he wanted with the appearance of his book in
December 1863, Speke now consented to write a paper for the R.G.S. Journal.
After Burton's tremendous article of 1859, it would have been difficult for
anyone to produce a more thorough account of East Africa but Speke did not
even try. Instead he sent a short memoir explaining his views on the hydrography
of the Upper Basin of the Nile. Murchison directed a strong letter to be written
to the explorer complaining of the "brief and imperfect character" of his article.
The instructions issued to him in 1860 were quoted to prove his liability and to
remind him that manuscripts and maps were the property of the Society. A special
committee then sat to consider the situation. They agreed that the memoir should
be published with an explanatory note drawing attention to its inadequacy.92
The note said that the Council regretted,
"so very important a subject should be illustrated in their Journal, only by
this short memoir .... As the author has not transmitted any other materials
or diary of his travels, the reader must look for further information in the
published work of Captain Speke, respecting the important expedition with
which he was entrusted, and in which he has been supported throughout by
the President and Council of the Society ..."93
The memoir itself was embellished with hostile footnotes, comparing Speke's
work unfavourably with Burton's, as published in the twenty-ninth volume of
the Journal, and correcting the untrue things which Speke said about the first
That Murchison allowed such an open attack is a measure of the irritation he
must have been feeling about the behaviour of a man whom he had done so
much to help. This situation may explain why the official and fashionable world
paid little attention to Speke's plans for the "regeneration of Africa". Although
he had some influential supporters, he had probably too completely alienated the
respect of Murchison and other African experts.95 In September 1864, Speke's
tragic death occurred. It may have been the result of temporary carelessness on
the part of a man well-used to guns, induced by anxiety about the debate arranged
to take place with Burton at the meeting of the British Association. Whether or
not this is so, it is difficult to avoid the impression that Murchison and the R.G.S.
assistant secretary, H. W. Bates, intended to place Speke in a situation which
they knew would be an uncomfortable one. As usual, Section E was functioning
as a summer meeting of the Society with its own officers arranging all the
SPEKE AND THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY 41
Those who have written about Speke often draw attention with surprise to
he fact that he did not receive any honour from the crown for his discovery of
he Nile source. Speke himself was certainly keen enough for recognition to argue
is own qualifications and, in March 1864, to ask the R.G.S. to petition on his
behalf. His request came at a time when, for the reasons outlined above, he was
most unpopular with the Society. Although it seems that Murchison had
approached the government on Speke's behalf in 1863, his request to his friend
Palmerston may have been lukewarm in 1864, if he made one at all.97
Speke's death, however, made Murchison and all but his most implacable
enemies forget his personal shortcomings. After 1864, Murchison's references to
Speke returned to the tone of unstinted admiration and it was through his
efforts that the monument in Kensington Gardens was erected. The reaction in
favour of Speke also made it possible for the lack of royal recognition of the
Nile expedition to be remedied. The explorer's family were allowed to augment
their coat of arms and Grant was given the C.B. This latter honour was not,
incidentally, as Sir Harry Johnston said, granted for "comparatively incons-
picuous service in Abyssinia". The Nile honours were completed, at the same
time, with the knighthood conferred upon Samuel Baker.98
Despite this rehabilitation and the quashing of Petherick's petition, Speke's
reputation as a geographer remained in doubt. Even Murchison could not
convince himself that he had given the final solution to the problem of the Nile.
To a large extent, Speke's own behaviour brought about his difficulties.
Opposition to his geographical assertions would never have built up to the extent
it did if he had not antagonized so many potential friends. Above all, it was un-
wise for him to have treated his employers in so cavalier a fashion. At the height
of its power and influence under Murchison, the R.G.S. could have made
Burton's criticisms look ridiculous. That they gained credence was, then, partly
a result of a certain amount of pettiness and vanity in Speke's character-he
was not quite a great man.
II am grateful to the Director of the Royal Geographical Society for permission to
consult the Society's archives referred to in this article.
2J. N. L. Baker, Academic Geography in the 17th and 18th centuries, Scottish
Geographical Magazine, LI, 1935, 132.
4C. R. Markham, Fifty Years Work of the R.G.S., London, 1881, 7-8.
5R. Kerr, Voyages and Travels ., 18 vols., London, 1811-24, II, 319.
6C. R. Markham, James Rennell and the Rise of English Geography, London, 1895,
7G. R. Crone, Maps and Their Makers, London, 1953, 142-50.
8e.g. Jomard's edition of Edrisi was available to Cooley cf. Ptolemy and the Nile,
London, 1854, p. 89.
SProceedings of the African Association, II, 1805, 20-1.
10R.G.S. Archives, Banks Papers, Nos. 706-7. Proceedings, 1810, 35.
11H. R. Mill, The Record of the R.G.S., London, 1930, 11-16.
12Ibid., 21, 60. Journal of the R.G.S., VIII, p. xliv.
13Markham, 1881, 32.
14W. D. Cooley, The History of Maritime and Inland Discovery, 3 vols., London,
1830-1, III, 2.
15W. Foster, The Hakluyt Society, A Retrospect, London, 1946, 3.
42 UGANDA JOURNAL
16R.G.S. Archives, Council Minutes, 29-vi-33, 18-x-34, 19-x-35.
17R.G.S. Library, Mss. Z64,14 (Emery's letters to Cooley, 1833-5). R.G.S. Archives
Correspondence File (Emery's letters to R.G.S., 1836-7). The society's income fror
fellow's subscriptions was hardly 1,000 p.a. at this time.
18Edinburgh Review, LXI, 346. J.R.G.S. XV, 185-235.
19Ibid., XXVI 109-30, XVII, 1-85, etc.
20A. Geikie. Memoir of Sir Roderick Murchison, 2 vols., London, 1875, Corr. F
Murchison to Jackson, 25-v-44.
21R. F. Burton, Zanzibar. ., 2 vols., 1872, I, 35.
22J. L. Krapf, Travels. ., London, 1860, xlix.
23Mill, 51, 64-5.
241.R.G.S. XXVII, v. XXXVI, v-vii. Proceedings of the R.G.S., V, 216-7.
25Mill, Geography at the B.A. Scottish Geographical Magazine, XLVII, 340.
26R.G.S. Archives, Committee Minutes, 19-iii-52.
27Corr. F., Murchison to Shaw, 12-ii-58.
28P.R.G.S. VIII, 199.
29Address to Section E of B.A., 1864, 7.
30Foster, 4. R.G.S. Archives Letter Book, Ashburton to Palmerston, 15-xi-60.
3tCorr. F., Burton to Shaw n.d. (reed. 30-xi-53) Cttee. Min., 12-iv-56.
33Foreign Office Records, F.O. 2/37, Shaw to Hammond, 3-vii-56; Hammond to
Treasury, 14-vii-56; Treasury to F.O., 29-vii-56.
341.R.G.S. XXIX, 5. cf. Riseley, Burton Tanganyika Notes and Records, XLIX,
271: "searching for the Nile was not one of the objects of the expedition."
35K. Ingham, Speke ... T.N.R., XLIX, 301.
36Corr. F., Burton to Shaw, 19-iv-59. J.R.G.S. XXIX, 17, 20, 276-77.
37Ibid., xcv-ii. P.R.G.S. III, 350ff.
38Burton, Lake Regions 2 vols., London, 1860, II 430ff. Corr. F. Speke to Wheeler,
12-iv-60. Ibid., Burton to Shaw ?-xi-59.
39Burton, Lake Regions, II, 382. J. H. Speke, Journal of the Discovery of the Source of
the Nile, London, 1863, 1-2.
40Cttee. Min. 20-vi-59. F. Hitchman, R. F. Burton .., 2 vols., London, 1887, II p. 36.
41Cttee. Min. 21-vi-59.
42Coun. Min. 14-xi-59.
43Speke as quoted in C. E. B. Russell, General Rigby ..., London, 1935, 236.
441.R.G.S. XXIX, clxxxiii. Brown, The Story of Africa .., London, 1892-5, II, 66.
45Corr. F. Speke to Shaw, 17-i-60.
46F.O., 2/37, Ripon to Palmerston, 16-viii-59. Corr. F. Murchison to Shaw, 29-iii-60.
47F.O., 2/37, Speke to Russell, 6-xi-59, Russell to Treasury, 8-xi-59, Treasury to
48Ibid., Russell to Treasury, 24-xi-59, Treasury to Hammond, 6-xii-59.
49Corr. F., Clerk to Ripon, 21-i-60. Letter Book, Shaw to Admiralty, 29-iii-60, etc.
50Corr. F. Speke to Shaw, 26(?)-x-59, 5-xi-59.
51Grant, A Walk across Africa, London, 1864, ix. P.R.G.S. IV, 100, VIII, 169.
52Corr. F., Speke to Shaw, 10-v-60. Grant, 4. Speke, Journal, 5.
53Letter Book, Shaw to Speke, 25-v-60.
54J. Petherick, Egypt, the Soudan and Central Africa, London, 1861, 1-2, 336. J. & K.
Petherick, Travels in Central Africa, 2 vols., London, 1869, I, 1, II, 77-8. P.R.G.S. IV,
55Corr. F., Speke to Shaw 26(?)-x-59.
56Corr. F., Petherick to Murchison, 19-i-60. Speke, Journal, 4.
57F.O. 2/36, Memo. on R.G.S. to F.O., 30-i-60,
58Coun. Min. 12-iii-60, 11-vi-60. Corr. F., Murchison to Shaw, ?-vi-60, 28-vii-60,
59F.O. 2/37, Murchison to Russell, 12-vii-60, Corr. F. F.O. to Murchison, 14-viii-60.
SPEKE AND THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY
60petherick, 1869, II, 91. Cttee. Min. 4-ii-61. P.R.G.S. IV, 233-6, V, 40-1, 96-7, 108.
61Baker, The Albert Nyanza, London, 1870 ed. 1-2, P.R.G.S. VII, 80.
62Corr. F., Baker to R.G.S., 19-i-58, F.O. to Shaw, 14-iv-58.
63Ibid. Baker to Shaw, 20-xi-60. Coun. Min. 10-xii-60. Letter Book, Oliphant to Baker,
64Speke, Journal, 9-15.
65Ibid., 13,264. Trans. Bombay Geographical Soc. VI (1844) 89-90. Athenaeum, 1864,
Nos. 1889 p. 55, 1892 p. 156. Russell, op. cit. 240. J. M. Gray, in Uganda Journal, I,
70 seems to assume that Speke, and Rigby were unaware that they had been misled.
66Speke, Journal 202-3, 242-5. Grant, 165-6.
67Ingham, The Making of Modern Uganda, London, 1958, 31-2. Speke, Journal 300-2,
428. P.R.G.S. VII, 228.
68Grant, 246-7. Speke, Journal, 458, 607.
691t may be worth noting that Ripon, as Colonial Secretary, 1892-5, is said to have
been in favour of assuming the British protectorate over Uganda. L. Wolf, Life of the
First Marquess of Ripon, 2 vols. London 1921, II, 234.
70Speke, Journal, 536-7, 549, 559, 579-80, 590. Grant, 279, 299-300, 324. Petherick,
1869, II, 113.
71Ibid., I, 306. Speke, Journal, 601, 604. Grant, 370.
72P.R.G.S. VII, 65. Speke, Journal, 603. Baker, 64-70.
73Petherick, 1869, II, 127, 132-3, 171.
74P.R.G.S. VII, 109, 182-96, 212-23.
75Zanzibar Archives. Arc. 312, Gonne to Playfair, 18-iii-64, 21-iv-64 and end.
76Ibid. Nominal Roll, 20-v-63. Speke to Playfair, 4-vii-63, 13-xi-63. Arc. 29, Grant to
Playfair, 17-xi-63. Coun. Min. 14-iii-64, 14-xi-64.
77J. N. L. Baker, Burton and the Nile Sources, English Historical Review, LIX, 1944,
78Burton, The Nile Basin, London, 1864, 85-88. Petherick, 1869, II, 19, 27. P.R.G.S.
79Ibid., 131, Petherick, 1869, II, 139-40.
80Coun. Min. 14-i-61. Zanzibar Archives. Arc. 312, Speke to Playfair, 24-iii-64.
81P.R.G.S. VIII, 122, 149. J.R.G.S. XXXV, 289ff, Coun. Min. 9-v-64.
82Corr. F., Petherick to Murchison, 16-i-64. Petherick, 1869, II, 181.
83Nile Basin, 71-95.
84Petherick, 1869, II, 125, 149. P.R.G.S. VIII, 149-50.
85Markham, 1881, 75. Baker, 473.
86J.R.G.S. XXXV, cvii.
87Cttee. Min. 16-vi-65. Letter Book, Bates to Petherick, 17-vi-65.
88Coun. Min. 23-vi-65. Petherick, 1869, II, 173.
89P.R.G.S. (new series) IV, 200.
90Petherick, 1869, II, 79. Letter Book, Shaw to Burton, 4-ii-60.
sIbid., Greenfield to Speke, ?-vii-63, etc. Greenfield to Murchison, 17-vii-63. Nile
92Letter Book, Spottiswoode to Speke, 14-v-64. Cttee. Min. l-vi-64.
93J.R.G.S. XXXIII, 322.
94e.g. Speke's own footnote saying that "Bombay" was his interpreter is followed by
the editor's "Capt. Burton, by his intimate knowledge of the Arabic languages .
95J. M. Gray, in U.J. XVII, 151, discusses Speke's plans and suggests that he may
have made a bad impression because he was a poor speaker.
960n the other hand, the publicity value of the debate must have weighed largely
97Corr. F., Speke to Murchison, 7-iii-64. A question was asked in the House of
Commons without result. Geikie, II, 264.
98H. H. Johnston, The Uganda Protectorate, London, 2 vols., 1904, I, 220. A. Moorhead,
White Nile, London, 1960, 76, seems to have repeated Johnston's mistake. Grant's C.B.
was gazetted in September, 1866; the Abyssinian expedition was two years later. T. D.
Murray and A. Silva White, Sir Samuel Baker, London, 1895, 125.
THE EVOLUTION OF SPECIES IN THE
LAKES OF EAST AFRICA
By L. C. BEADLE
THOUGH separated by less than two thousand miles from the Mediterranean,
Tropical Africa was less known to European scientists up to the end of the last
century than the much more distant tropics of the Americas and the Far East.
Though some of the explorers were scientists, notably Emin Pasha and Joseph
Thompson, the great expeditions in the mid-19th Century were not primarily
scientific and Tropical Africa contributed rather little to Science until
the end of the century. The first truly scientific expedition in East Africa was
conducted by the geologist J. W. Gregory in 1893. By contrast Tropical America,
Asia and Australasia had been the scene of scientific investigations since the 18th
Century, and geology and biological sciences owe much to the tropical experiences
of such men as Joseph Banks, A. von Humboldt, F. Miller, H. W. Bates, A. R.
Wallace and Charles Darwin. The most important consequence of their work
was the final acceptance of the concept of Organic Evolution after the middle of
the last century, and it is doubtful whether this could have been achieved without
inspiration and evidence from the study of tropical life.
It is therefore interesting to consider what, in the light of subsequent geological
and biological research, East Africa can show in the way of striking demonstra-
tions of the evolutionary process. Apart from the mesozoic dinosaurs in Tanga-
nyika (Parkinson, 1930), fossil evidence for the history of life in East Africa
mainly relates to geologically recent times from the Miocene onwards (the past 20
million years or so). This restriction is due not to the lack of sedimentary rocks
of greater age, but to the fact that the attention of palaeontologists in this country
has been so far focused upon and around the history of mammals and early man,
mostly inspired by the work of E. J. Wayland in Uganda and L. S. B. Leakey
in Kenya and Tanganyika.
The process of Evolution can also be studied in the present fauna and flora
of East Africa, and there are certain situations in which conditions are, or have
recently been particularly favourable for speciationn", that is, which provide
the stimulus for organisms to diverge into new species. A fundamental feature
of living organisms is their ability to reproduce, but the copies they make, though
tolerably accurate, are by no means exact. There is in fact a special mechanism
which ensures a certain degree of inexactitude. In other words organisms vary
continuously in structure and physiology and are therefore liable and can, given
time and the action of natural selection, become adapted to almost all environ-
ments within the limits of tolerance of living matter. In this way through the
course of geological ages, life has managed to occupy almost every conceivable
"niche" on this earth and, as would be expected, the variety of species in any area
is a reflection of the variety of environments or niches to which they are adapted.
We must therefore expect that, in a region in which conditions remain rather
uniform, something like equilibrium might be reached, but that if great changes
were to occur to alter the range of habitats available to life then appropriate
varieties would be selected from the local fauna and flora and new species would
ultimately appear. If such changes, due perhaps to climatic or tectonic events
EVOLUTION OF SPECIES IN THE LAKES OF EAST AFRICA 45
(earth movements), not only produced new environments but happened in such
a manner that some members of a species became isolated in a restricted area
and unable to meet and interbreed with the rest of the population from which
they were derived, then we should expect to find some species which are
"endemic", that is which are entirely confined to that area. It would also follow
that the longer the period of isolation and the more effective the barrier to
dispersal, the more the local species would diverge from the original population.
In extreme cases endemic genera or even endemic families might evolve and
be confined to a relatively small region. Speciation is complete when the
divergence of two or more sections of a population involves the reproductive
system and thus prevents interbreeding, so that they remain distinct and may
continue to diverge if circumstances should bring them together again. The initial
conditions for divergence are not however provided only by obvious and impene-
trable barriers such as mountain ranges, oceans, deserts, etc.; even an apparently
uniform habitat such as a forest or lake can be differentiated into a number of
distinct and discontinuous small habitats which may tend to separate sections
of a species. If initial divergence involves a change in habits or behaviour the
isolation necessary for speciation could occur without geographical barriers.
Nevertheless geographical isolation has clearly been of extreme importance and
its striking effects on the fauna of certain oceanic islands, especially the
Galapagos, impressed Darwin very greatly as clear evidence of the evolutionary
process. The phenomenon is however observable on a much larger scale in the
divergence of the faunas and floras of continents. Australia in particular has been
the scene of a great outburst of local and isolated evolution.
The events which produced the great lakes and present watercourses of East
Africa provided a powerful stimulus to the evolution of certain groups of aquatic
animals, notably the fish, molluscs and crustacea. That these groups have been
affected more than others (e.g. the more drought-resisting aquatic insects) can
presumably be attributed to their inability to cross the physical barriers separating
the patches of water in which they have been isolated. Geological and palaeonto-
logical studies are beginning to make possible a better understanding of the
present fauna in the light of events in the recent past, and advances in genetics,
ecology and in the study of behaviour have increased our understanding of
the process of speciation in such situations.
This subject is now very extensive and it would be impossible in this article
to give more than a very superficial review, or to refer to more than some key
points in the literature, but enough is now known for an outline to be given of
a fascinating story whose details will no doubt be modified in the light of
further evidence. Discussions of general problems relating to speciation in the
lakes of East Africa are to be found amongst others in the works of Worthington
(1937, 1940 and 1954); Trewavas (1948), Brooks (1950), Poll (1950), Greenwood
(1951 and 1959) and Fryer (1960).
Evidence suggests that during the Miocene (some 20 million years ago) there
was a ridge of high land or range of hills running north and south along a line
in the region of the present eastern shore of Lake Victoria. This was a watershed
from which rivers flowed westwards into the Atlantic and eastward, by shorter
and more precipitous routes, to the Indian Ocean. The Nile Valley existed and
perhaps originated during this period (Butzer, 1959, quoted by Monod). There
was also a lake or group of lakes associated with these watercourses which
included the region of the present Kavirondo gulf of Lake Victoria. The Miocene
beds investigated by Dr. Leakey on Rusinga Island showed that this lake con-
46 UGANDA JOURNAL
trained the Nile Perch (Lates) and Polypterus, which are not living in the present
Lake Victoria, but, along with a number of other characteristic "nilotic" fish, are
found widespread over Tropical Africa in the Nile and associated waters, the
Congo, the Niger and Lake Chad (Greenwood, 1951). We have in fact good
reason to conclude that during the Miocene the major tropical African rivers,
at least those draining to the west and north, supported a more or less uniform
fauna characterized by certain genera of fish whose relatively unchanged
descendants are still to be found in the Nile and the larger rivers west of the
Western Rift. This ancient fauna and its modern representatives will be styled
"nilotic" in this article. Some characteristic genera of nilotic fish are Lates (Nile
Perch), Hydrocyon (Tiger Fish), Polypterus (Bichir), Distochodus and Citharinus.
Though faulting along the lines of the future Rifts can be traced back to much
earlier geological times (Dixey, 1956), it was after the Miocene that this apparently
normal type of drainage system was completely disrupted by the gigantic earth
movements which, with the associated volcanic activity, ultimately produced the
great lake basins within the Rift Valleys and the large shallow depressions
between them holding the water of Lake Victoria. The upper reaches of the
Miocene rivers were therefore dislocated, but sections of them have survived as
inlets or outlets to the lakes. Some, for example the Kafu and Katonga, have had
their flow reversed. A hydrological map of East Africa (Fig. 1, inside back cover)
shows some very peculiar and indeed fantastic features. Since their geologically
recent formation the Great Lakes have suffered many and sometimes drastic
changes, and their volume, salinity and interconnections have changed from time
to time. Earth movements and volcanic action, together with considerable
fluctuations in rainfall, have been responsible for this, though it is difficult in a
particular case to decide on the relative importance of tectonic and climatic factors.
These events have provided very favourable conditions for the evolutionary
divergence of aquatic animals. Not only have a great variety of new habitats
appeared giving opportunities for new adaptations but certain lakes and river
systems have been isolated from the rest to varying degrees and for different
lengths of time. The degree of divergence of the fauna is often clearly related to
It is also apparent that certain groups of fish have diverged, at least in recent
times, more rapidly than others. The cichlids, and in particular Haplochromis
(the Nkeje of Lake Victoria) and related genera have evolved at an explosive rate
producing a great array of endemic species in certain lakes. The genus Lates
(Nile Perch) has produced relatively much fewer endemic forms and Protopterus
(the Lung Fish) is represented in the majority of the waters of East Africa by
the single species aethiopicus.
It is of great interest to find that the conclusion reached on geological evidence
that the lake faunas were derived from those of the pre-existing rivers is supported
from ecological studies on the present-day fish. There are signs of a progressive
adaptation from a fluviatile to a lacustrine life, an intermediate condition
involving for instance feeding in the lake but returning to the rivers to breed.
The cichlids have advanced furthest along this course and the fauna of Lake
Tanganyika has in general become more fully adapted to lacustrine conditions
than that of the much younger Lake Victoria (discussion in Corbet, 1961 p. 86).
It will be necessary now to consider each of the main lakes in turn and we
shall start with Lake Nyasa in the extreme south of the Rift Valley system. This is
unique among the Great Lakes in draining via the Shir6 and Zambezi rivers into
the Indian Ocean. On geological and palaeontological evidence the origin of the
EVOLUTION OF SPECIES IN THE LAKES OF EAST AFRICA 47
resent lake was estimated by Dixey (1941) as mid-Pleistocene. The evidence is
lot very good but the lake is unlikely to be more than two million years old
Fryer, 1959 p. 265), and is therefore younger than Lake Tanganyika.
It is perhaps to its recent origin as well as to the eastwardly directed drainage
that some of the peculiarities of its fauna may be attributed, though more fossil
evidence is needed to confirm this. The main affinities of the fauna are with that
of the Zambezi to which the lake is connected by the Shire River. The Murchison
Rapids are now however an effective barrier and the lake fauna has diverged
considerably (Worthington, 1933). A striking feature is the absence of all the
characteristic genera of nilotic fish listed on p. 46, though there is no doubt that
the huge expanse of open and deep water (25,000 square miles, maximum depth
706 metres) is a very suitable environment for them and that they would
certainly be there if the lake had been effectively connected in the past, as was
Lake Tanganyika, with the Congo basin. The number of families of fish is thus
less than in Lake Tanganyika but there has been a remarkable outburst of
evolutionary divergence particularly on the part of the cichlids. When the review
by Brooks was published (1950) 223 species of fish had been recorded of which
196 are endemic to Lake Nyasa. Even more remarkable is the fact that 174 of
these endemic species are cichlids, which include as many as 20 endemic genera.
Apart from the great variability of the cichlids, particularly with respect to
breeding and feeding habits, this extraordinary production of new species is
certainly associated with the fragmentation of the major habitats in the lake.
The shore-line for instance is largely cut up into alternate rocky and sandy
sections so that the inshore fauna of either of these habitats is separated into
effectively disconnected units which do not interbreed (Fryer, 1959). Worthington
(1954) suggested that the evolution of the Nyasan cichlids and those of Lake
Victoria (see below) has been assisted by the absence of the nilotic predator fish
Lates and Hydrocyon which would feed voraciously upon them. This view has
been contested by others on the grounds that both these lakes have their own
predator fish, e.g. species of Bagrus, Clarias and Barbus, which, it is contended,
would feed upon the cichlids as effectively as the Nile Perch and Tigerfish
(Fryer and Iles, 1955).
The fauna of Lake Tanganyika is now well known to all zoologists as one of
the supreme examples of speciation in a geographically isolated environment.
It occupies the deepest part of the Western Rift and is itself more than 1,400
metres deep. It seems to have originated during the Pliocene (10 to 15 million
years ago) as a double gash across a system of west-flowing rivers whose waters
were captured by the lake. The swampy Malagarasy River draining in from the
east and the Lukuga flowing out of the lake into the Congo Basin are two sections
of one of these rivers. The volume of the outflow through the Lukuga River
varies with the level of the lake and, since it was discovered by Burton and
Speke in 1858, it has occasionally almost ceased to flow. There is little doubt that
Lake Tanganyika was a closed basin for at least two and possibly as much as
six million years (Brooks, 1950). During this time it certainly contracted and
the water became more saline but, owing to its great depth, it never dried up nor
ceased to be a great lake, though it may on occasion have become two lakes
occupying the north and south basins.
The fauna has consequently had ample time to diverge in isolation from that
of the original Miocene rivers from which it was derived. New conditions
and habitats appeared which were not found in the rivers-large expanses of
open and deep water and of shallow inshore water, absence of flow in one
48 UGANDA JOURNAL
particular direction, and water of higher salinity. Another probably important
change was that species of fish normally more or less separated in different
regions of the rivers were more mixed together in the lake so that interspecific
predation and competition became more intense. This variety of conditions in time
and space as well as the long continued isolation of the lake would be expected
to favour the evolution of new species (Poll, 1950).
The fish of Lake Tanganyika are descended mainly from those of the Miocene
west-flowing rivers and thus the ancient nilotic genera are represented, most of
which have produced new species and a few have evolved into new genera. Of a
total of about 160 species of fish more than 125 are endemic and of these about
90 are cichlids. There are 42 endemic genera of which 34 are cichlids. A curious
feature is the presence of two endemic genera and species of the herring family
(Clupidae) which is represented also in some rivers of the Congo but not in any
of the other Rift Valley Lakes. They are very small fish and one of them,
Stolothrissa tanganyikae ("Ndakala"), collects in vast numbers at night to feed
on the microscopic organisms near the surface. There it is caught in hand nets
with the help of lamps and provides an important item in the local diet. Another
interesting vertebrate which has evolved in Lake Tanganyika is the Cobra
Boulangeria annulata stormusi which is completely aquatic and feeds on fish. It
is occasionally attracted by fish already caught on lines and so taken by fishermen.
The effects of prolonged isolation are also to be seen among the invertebrates.
There is even a sub-family of waterbug (Idiocorinae) endemic to Lake Tanganyika
and a remarkable endemic caddisfly, Limnoecetis tanganyikae, which has lost
its power of flight and skates over the surface of the open water like a pondskater
and is attracted by the lamps of the Ndakala fishermen (Marlier, 1955). The
Crustacea include a large number of endemic genera and species of crabs, prawns
and of the microscopic groups (Copepods, Cladocera and Ostracods). The
molluscs which are the best known, both snails and bivalves, have produced very
many species and genera peculiar to the lake. The prosobranch snails are the
most remarkable with about 65 endemic species. The peculiar shape of some of
these with their spines and other protuberances, which resemble those well known
marine snails, together with the presence of the medusa or "jelly-fish" Limnocnida
tanganyikae, led to the suggestion that the lake had at one time been connected
with the sea (Moore, 1903). This has however not been supported by subsequent
geological and biological evidence (Cunningham, 1920, Capart, 1952). Another idea
that such marine or "thalassoid" forms amongst the molluscs were induced by the
high salinity of the water during dry periods in the Pleistocene is interesting but
can hardly be taken seriously in the absence of experimental evidence.
The fauna of Lake Tanganyika is in fact one of the world's most striking
examples of the evolutionary process working in isolation, comparable with the
fauna of Lake Baikal in Siberia or with that of the more famous of the oceanic
islands. It is to be hoped that the extraordinary beauty of form and colour of
many of these unique animals will one day be enjoyed by more than a few
Until geologically very recent times the highlands of Ruanda drained mainly
to the north into the Lake Edward basin and so into the Nile. In the late
Pleistocene (perhaps 100,000 years ago) came the great eruptions of the Bufumbiro
volcanoes (Muhavura to Nyamlagira) which threw a barrage of lava across the
Rift Valley, impounding this drainage to form Lake Kivu, which ultimately
overflowed to the south down the cataracts at Bukavu to reach Lake Tanganyika
EVOLUTION OF SPECIES IN THE LAKES OF EAST AFRICA 49
as the Ruzizi River. It was this which probably put an end to the long and
complete isolation of Lake Tanganyika by raising the level sufficiently to start
the overflow by the Lukuga River, and was thus responsible for the recent
invasion of the lake by a few species of fish from the Congo basin (Poll, 1950).
Lake Kivu is thus very young and, like Lake Bunyoni in Western Uganda, its
beautiful fjord-like form is due to its origin as a flooded, branching, steep-sided
mountain river valley, which previously drained to the north. The poverty of
its indigenous fauna is no doubt partly due to the fact that, though the maximum
depth is 478 metres (average about 200 metres) all the water below about 75
metres is stagnant, devoid of oxygen and charged with sulphuretted hydrogen,
and is thus an impossible environment except for certain micro-organisms. The
lack of vertical circulation of water, which this condition denotes, prevents the
plant nutrients which accumulate below from reaching the surface, and only the
shallow inshore waters can support a considerable fauna (Damas, 1937). It is
probable also that some of the original fauna of the river was destroyed by
volcanic action and what remains is poor both in total numbers of individuals
and in number of species, only three families of fish being represented by the 32
Nevertheless, in spite of these disadvantages and of the shortness of time
available since the lake was formed, the genus Haplochromis has evolved into 7
endemic species and the only Tilapia species, nilotica, is represented by an
endemic subspecies. One fish (Barilius moori) has somehow managed to surmount
Ruzizi rapids from Lake Tanganyika, but otherwise the fauna is, as would be
expected from the past history of the lake, more closely related to that of Lake
Edward (Poll, 1939 a and b).
The Lake Edward basin, now containing Lakes Edward and George connected
by the Kazinga Channel, has had a complicated history, but recent discoveries
have made possible a reconstruction of the main features of the story. Though
the Lake George fishery is one of the most productive in Africa the number of
genera and species of fish there and in Lake Edward is relatively small, and
several families common in other large lakes are missing, including most of the
characteristic nilotic forms. But the early Pleistocene "Kaiso" fossil beds in the
Lake Albert and Lake Edward basins show that both lakes at that time had
a similar nilotic fish and molluscan fauna. Fish such as Lates (Nile Perch) and
Hydrocyon (Tigerfish) were common to both but now survive only in Lake
Albert. The evidence suggests that an early Pleistocene connection between Lakes
Edward and Albert was interrupted in the mid-Pleistocene and that at some later
date the principal nilotic species in Lake Edward for some reason disappeared.
At present the Semliki rapids are an effective barrier to further interchanges.
Another feature of the Lake Edward fauna which needs explanation is the
presence of certain species of fish, in particular those of the genus Haplochromis,
some of which are identical with Lake Victoria species and others which are
endemic to Lake Edward but are clearly derived from Lake Victoria. This can
best be explained on the available evidence as the result of a connection with
Lake Victoria, perhaps via swampy watersheds into the Kagera and ,Katonga
Valleys, during the middle Pleistocene (Greenwood, 1951 and 1959). Such a
connection would presumably be possible only during a period of excessive rain-
fall, but earth movements may have played an important if not predominant part.
It was originally thought that the final disappearance of the main nilotic
elements in the Lake Edward fauna was caused by the contraction of the lake
during a dry period in the mid-Pleistocene (Worthington, 1932 and 1937). But
50 UGANDA JOURNAL
some recent very important Belgian archaeological discoveries at Ishango near the
exit of the Semliki from Lake Edward have shown that the Nile Perch, now
extinct from Lake Edward, was being caught and eaten by mesolithic man less
than 8,000 years ago (de Heinzelin, 1955). It is now considered likely that the
very recent destruction of these and certain other species was due to the violent
volcanic eruptions which have left the innumerable explosion craters around
Katwe (Greenwood, 1959). It is possible that poisonous substances ejected from
the volcanoes contaminated the water enough to destroy the more sensitive species,
as had presumably happened earlier in Lake Kivu. It is at least certain that the
extinction occurred during the volcanic period some 6-8,000 years ago, since
the Ishango beds are immediately overlayed by layers of volcanic dust. Lake
Edward was left with a not very varied fauna compounded of some nilotic, some
Victorian and some endemic species which had evolved in the lake since the
mid-Pleistocene. The very productive fishery of Lake George is based mainly on
nilotic survivors such as Tilapia nilotica and Bagrus docmac.
The fauna of Lake Albert, of the Victoria Nile below the Murchison Falls and
of the Albert Nile is, by definition, "nilotic" and is derived without very great
change from the ancient Miocene freshwater fauna of Tropical Africa. Lake
Albert is now in fact in open communication with the Nile and as a result there
are relatively few endemic species of fish. A few however have been sufficiently
restricted to certain habitats to have diverged to some extent from the parent
stock. Thus two endemic subspecies of the Nile Perch have been described, Lates
niloticus albertianus in inshore waters and Lates niloticus macrophthalmus in
deep water (Worthington, 1940). The Kaiso fossil beds show that during the
early Pleistocene, in addition to the nilotic fish still surviving, the fauna of
Lake Albert included a number of species of molluscs, which also lived in Lake
Edward at that time, but are now extinct (Wayland, 1934). The extinction of
these species therefore remains to be explained and, whatever the cause-tectonic,
volcanic or climatic, the most susceptible of the nilotic fish, such as the Nile
Perch, are not likely to have survived. The lake must therefore have been
recolonised from the Nile and some of the present fauna may be of considerably
more recent origin than the lake itself.
Lake Rudolf on the Kenya-Ethiopian border is another of the Great Rift
Valley Lakes whose fauna is predominantly nilotic. It is particularly interesting
because it is now a completely closed basin, but from geological evidence it is
clear that it flowed out to the north to join the Sobat River and the Nile more
than once during the Pleistocene and for the last time quite recently, perhaps
no more than a few thousand years ago (Fuchs, 1939). Whether earth movements
or climatic change played the major part in finally breaking this connection is
uncertain from present evidence. But there is no doubt that the rainfall in East
Africa has fluctuated greatly during the Pleistocene (Pluvials and interpluvials
of Wayland and Leakey) and recent palaeontological and archaeological research
in the Sahara has confirmed this and shown that as late as neolithic times the
climate, at least over large areas, was considerably more humid than at present
(Monod). Since its discovery by Teleki and von Hbhnel in 1888 the lake has
on the whole been contracting and becoming more saline (Beadle, 1932). If
this process continues much longer most of its present very rich fauna is doomed
As would be expected from the similarity in history and structure of Lakes
Rudolph and Albert their faunas are basically of the same type but the isolation
of the former, though of short duration, has resulted in a greater divergence of
EVOLUTION OF SPECIES IN THE LAKES OF EAST AFRICA 51
lecies. There are about 12 endemic species of fish in Lake Rudolf compared
th 4 in Lake Albert. In Lake Rudolf, as in Lake Albert, the Nile Perch has
verged into two subspecies (Worthington, 1932 b).
There remains Lake Victoria, the largest lake of all, which, unlike the others,
is] not situated in either Rift Valley, but in a shallow basin between them. In
tle Miocene, before the present lake came into existence there was as already
mentioned, another rather large lake named Karunga by Wayland (1931) on at
least part of the same site. This contained a nilotic fauna including Lates and
Polypterus which together with the other characteristic nilotic fish listed on
p. 46 are now absent from the lake (Greenwood, 1951 a). Towards the end of
the Miocene it appears that the old lake dried up and most if not all its fauna
was destroyed. The fauna of the present lake, though probably mainly nilotic in
drigin, has been sufficiently isolated to have produced 59 endemic species of
cichlid fish of a total of 65 species including 4 endemic genera, and 28 of the 49
ron-cichlid species are also endemic. The well known Lake Victoria ngege,
Tilapia esculenta and variabilis, have evolved in the lake and, apart from Lake
Kyoga, are found nowhere else.
The history of Lake Victoria is rather obscure, but from the geological
evidence (Wayland, 1931 p. 40-44) and from studies by Greenwood (1951 b)
on the Haplochromis species-flocks it can be concluded that very great fluctuations
in amount and distribution of water in the basin.occurred during the Pliocene
and Pleistocene, and that both climatic and tectonic factors were involved. It
is unlikely that the lake ever completely dried up during this period, but the
evolution of the three main groups of Haplochromis species was probably
associated with different types of habitat appearing at different times. The early
stages of flooding of the basin in the late Pliocene produced disconnected swampy
ake. Then came heavy rainfall and extensive deep water during the early
Pleistocene when swampy connections were thereby established with Lake
Edward and certain Victorian species reached that lake (see p. 49). A dry
period in the middle Pleistocene cut this connection and once more reduced the
lake to a smaller scale with perhaps isolated outlying swamps. Since then with
less severe climatic fluctuations the present conditions developed. During the
whole of this period since the Miocene the basin was sinking, and after the
mid-Pleistocene more violent movements resulted in an up-tilting of the western
edge of the basin, and the water of the lake was thus tipped over the brim to the
north to flood an old branching river valley which became Lake Kioga, which
then drained out to the northwest as the Victoria Nile over the Murchison Falls
into the Western Rift and Lake Albert. This comparatively recent event did not
establish a faunal connection with Lake Albert since the Murchison Falls have
remained an effective barrier. The above rather fanciful history is not inconsistent
with, and is in fact suggested by the geological and biological facts. The consider-
able amount of evolutionary progress made by the fauna of the post-Miocene
waters in the Victoria basin was thus associated not only with isolation but
also with great fluctuations in types of habitat, giving a succession of new
opportunities for adaptation.
The recent introductions of the Nile Perch into Lake Kioga, a few of which
have unaccountably appeared in Lake Victoria, of Tilapia zillii into Lake Victoria,
and of both of these species into Lake Nabugabo, will no doubt have some
extremely interesting effects on the ecology and on the further course of
speciation. It is to be hoped that the economic consequences of these experiments
will be beneficial.
52 UGANDA JOURNAL
Lake Nabugabo, a small shallow lake about three miles in diameter off te
western shore of Lake Victoria, demonstrates in a remarkable way the effe ts
of isolation on speciation. It was formed by a sand and gravel longshore br
across the mouth of a river behind which the water has been ponded (Bisho,
1958, Beadle and Lind, 1960, p. 90). A large swamp has formed through whi h
the water seeps to the north into the Katonga Bay of Lake Victoria. The a e
of Lake Nabugabo has been estimated to be about 4,000 years. This hs
been done by radiocarbon dating of waved-rolled fragments of charcoal fourd
in deposits of a former shoreline at Hippo Bay, Entebbe at about the same height
above the present level of Lake Victoria as the sandbag which blocked the
connection with Lake Nabugabo (personal communication from Dr. W. W.
There are a number of species of fish in Lake Nabugabo which are identical
with their relatives in the main lake, including Tilapia esculenta and variabili.
The genus Haplochromis however is represented by four species one of which
is found in Lake Victoria, the remaining three being endemic to Lake Nabugabo.
These three are each similar to a Victorian species from which each was
presumably derived (Trewavas, 1933). Four species of Haplochromis from Lake
Victoria have therefore managed to establish themselves in Lake Nabugabo and
three of these have evolved into new species during the past four thousand years.
Lake Nabugabo thus demonstrates the process of speciation in a very much
more restricted space than in the Great Lakes. I will conclude this survey by
mentioning two even more remarkable examples of localised evolution of cichlid
fish in East Africa. Some of the lakes in the Eastern Rift have been very much
contracted by desiccation and the water has become extremely saline and alkaline,
the soda being derived by leaching from the surrounding volcanic rocks and often
carried to the surface and discharged as hot springs. Most aquatic animals, a
would be expected, are incapable of living in such an extreme environment but
two species of Tilapia have evolved which have managed to develop the
necessary physiological devices needed to live in highly saline and alkaline water.
Lake Manyara in northern Tanganyika is one of the desiccated lakes which
in the dry season becomes a salt-flat with a few streams flowing onto it. A total
of eight species of fish have been recorded which in the dry season are mainly
confined to the freshwater streams. One however, Tilapia amphimelas, is endemic
to Lake Manyara and is capable of living both in fresh water and in water
containing more than 5 per cent of salt which is mostly sodium carbonate and
therefore extremely alkaline (Makerere Expedition, 1961).
A still more remarkable species of Tilapia has evolved in Lake Magadi,
the well known commercially exploited soda lake in the Western Rift Valley in
southern Kenya. The main bulk of the lake is saturated and is in fact largely
solid soda, but at certain points there are hot springs continually discharging
saline water into the lake. On the course of the streams which flow for a few
yards from these springs into the lake there are shallow lagoons in which live
large numbers of the endemic Tilapia grahami which are confined to a very
small volume of water and are found nowhere else. They feed on the masses of
blue-green algae which flourish in this water. There are thus a number of colonies
normally isolated from each other. Occasionally however rainfall is sufficient to
flood the lake and the colonies can join and interbreed and there is consequently
divergence among them (White, 1953, and M. Coe, personal communication).
The springs at the south end of Lake Magadi issue at 45C and with a salinity
of about 2 per cent, and the fish are found in the streams where the temperature
EVOLUTION OF SPECIES IN THE LAKES OF EAST AFRICA 53
has dropped to 420C or lower. A higher temperature will in fact kill them.
They can live in fresh water and at a much lower temperature but will not
apparently breed in captivity at a temperature lower than about 320C (un-
published observations of M. Coe and L. C. Beadle). This is an extraordinary
example of the evolution of a species adapted to extreme conditions close to the
limits possible for living organisms and in a very confined space. The origin of
Tilapia grahami is in doubt, but 40 feet above the present lake level there are
recent sediments laid down in obviously fresher water containing remains of a
Tilapia species similar to but larger than grahami (White, 1953). Whether or not
these were their ancestors, the Tilapia grahami of the saline hot-springs must
have been derived from a species previously adapted to life in a large and fresh-
water Lake Magadi. They are certainly closely related to the Tilapia amphimelas
of Lake Manyara and it is of great interest to record that a similar species has
been found in the springs surrounding Lake Natron which is another soda lake
in the Rift Valley between Lakes Magadi and Manyara. A comparative study of
these three species and of their habitats would probably solve a number of
The great geological and climatic changes which have transformed the
face of East Africa during the past 15-20 million years since the Miocene have
thus provided a powerful stimulus for the evolution of aquatic animals, especially
the fish. The East African Lakes are particularly suitable for the study of this
process because of the great differences in types and variety of habitats, past
history, duration and degree of isolation, and in the range of species available at
the start. Even in the present inadequate state of our knowledge we can link
the present situation with events in the recent geological past to a degree not
often possible elsewhere. We have here a challenging field for research through
the application of modern techniques in ecology, genetics, physiology and
palaeontology which should throw more light on some very fundamental
problems and provide the necessary scientific basis for conservation and useful
Beadle, L. C. (1932). Scientific results of the Cambridge Expedition to the East African
Lakes, 1930-31. The water of some East African Lakes in relation to their fauna
and flora. 1. Linn. Soc. London, (Zool.) 38, 157-211.
Beadle, L. C. and Lind, E. M. (1960). Research on the Swamps of Uganda. Uganda J.,
Bishop, W. W. (1958). Raised swamps of Lake Victoria. Records of the Geol. Survey of
Brooks, J. L. (1950). Speciation in ancient lakes. Quart. Rev. Biol., 25, No. 2, 131-176.
Capart, A. (1952). Le Lac Tanganyika et sa faune. Bull. Soc. Zool. de France, 77, 245-51.
Corbet, P. S. (1961). The food of non-cichlid fishes in the Lake Victoria basin, with
remarks on their evolution and adaptation to lacustrine conditions. Proc. Zool. Soc.
Lond., 136, 1-101.
Cunnington, W. A. (1920). The fauna of the African Lakes: a study in comparative
limnology with special reference to Tanganyika. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 507-622.
Damas, H. (1937). Recherches hydrobiologiques dans les lacs Kivu, Edouard et Ndalaga.
Inst. des Parcs nat. du Congo Belge, Explor. du Parc Nat. Albert, Mission H. Damas
(1935-36), Fasc. 1.
54 UGANDA JOURNAL
Dixey, F. (1941). The Nyasa Rift Valley. S. Af. Geogr. 1., 23, 21-45.
Dixey, F. (1956). The East African Rift System. Col. Geol. and Min. Resources, Suppl.
Ser., Bull. No. 1 H.M.S.O., London.
Fryer, G. (1959). The trophic inter-relationship and ecology of some littoral communities
of Lake Nyasa. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 132, 153-281.
Fryer, G. and Iles, T. D. (1955). Predation pressure and evolution in Lake Nyasa.
Nature, 176, 470.
Fuchs, V. E. (1939). The geological history of the Lake Rudolf basin, Kenya Colony.
Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond., B., 229, 219-74.
Greenwood, P. H. (1951 a). Fish remains from miocene deposits of Rusinga Island and
Kavirondo Province, Kenya. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., (2), 4, 1192-1201.
Greenwood, P. H. (1951 b). Evolution of the African cichlid fishes: the Haplochromis
species-flock in Lake Victoria. Nature, 167, 19.
Greenwood, P. H. (1958). The Fishes of Uganda. The Uganda Society, Kampala.
Greenwood, P. H. (1959). Quarternary fish fossils. Inst. de Parcs Nat. du Congo Belge,
Explor. du Parc Nat. Albert, Mission I. de Heinzelin (1950) Fasc. 4.
de Heinzelin, J. (1957). Les fouilles d'Ishango. Inst. des Parcs. Nat. du Congo Beige,
Explor. du Parc Nat. Albert., Mission I. de Heinzelin (1950). Fasc. 2.
Makerere Expedition to Lake Manyara. (1961). General Report, Makerere College
Marlier, G. (1955). Un trichoptere pelagique nouveau du lac Tanganyika. Rev. Zool. Bot.
afr., 52, 150-55.
Monod, T. The late Tertiary and Pleistocene in the Sahara and adjacent southerly
regions, with implications for primate and human distributions. Symp. No. 15.
Wenner-Green Foundation for Anthrop. (1961).
Moore, J. E. (1903). The Tanganyika Problem. Hurst and Blackett, London.
Parkinson, J. (1930). The Dinosaur in East Africa. H. F. and G. Witherby, London.
Poll, M. (1939 a). Poissons. Inst. des Parcs Nat. du Congo Belge, Explor. du Parc Nat.
Albert, Mission de Witte (1933-35), Fasc. 24.
Poll, M. (1950). Histoire due peuplement et origins des especes de la faune ichthylogique
du lac Tanganyika. Ann. Soc. Roy. Zool. de Belgique, 81, 111-40.
Poll, M. (1952). Les Vertebres., Inst. Roy. Nat. Belgique., Explor. hydrobiol. du Lac
Tanganyika, Vol. 1, 103-165.
Trawavas, E. (1933). Scientific results of the Cambridge Expedition to the East African
Lakes, 1930-1, II. The cichlid fishes. I. Linn. Soc. London, (Zool.), 38, 309-41.
Wayland, E. J. (1931). Summary of progress of the Geological Survey of Uganda
(1919-29). Govt. Printer, Entebbe.
Wayland, E. J. (1934). Rift, rivers, rains and early man in Uganda. 1. R. Anthrop. Inst.,
White, T. H. (1953). Some speculations on the sudden occurrence of floods in the
history of Lake Magadi. I. E. Af. Nat. Hist. Soc., 22, 69-71.
Worthington, E. B. (1932 a.) The Lakes of Kenya and Uganda. Geogr. 1., 79, 278-97.
Worthington, E. B. (1932 b). Scientific results of the Cambridge Expedition to the
East African Lakes, 1930-31.
2. Fishes other than Cichlidae. i. Linn. Soc. London, (Zool.), 38, 121-34.
Worthington, E. B. (1933). The fishes of Lake Nyasa (other than Cichlidae). Proc. Zool.
Soc. London, 106, Part 2, 285-316.
Worthington, E. B. (1937). On the evolution of fish in the great Lakes of Africa. Inst.
Rev. Hydrobiol., 35, 304-17.
Worthington, E. B. (1940). Geographical differentiation in fresh waters, with special
reference to fish. In The New Systematics. Oxford.
Worthington, E. B. (1954). Speciation of fishes in African Lakes. Nature. 173, 1064-67.
EARLY TRAVELLERS IN UGANDA: 1860-1914
By B. W. LANGLANDS1
THE accompanying map (inside back cover) represents an attempt to plot the
passage of early travellers through Uganda. It therefore deals with the opening
up of Uganda in so far as it indicates the routes taken by the people who provided
knowledge of the country to the outside world. In this way it deals with the explo-
ration and discovery of Uganda; but only a few of the persons travelling into
previously unknown parts can be considered as explorers in the normal sense. One
would prefer to regard the map as showing the passages of early travellers into
otherwise unknown parts of Uganda, rather than to call it a map of exploration.
This means that it illustrates the routes taken by alien peoples moving in the
various parts of Uganda for the first time. Inevitably most of the routes shown are
those of Europeans; but the opening up of southern Teso by Kakungulu is also
shown in so far as it represents the movement of a political agent alien to the area
in which the operation took place. A further point should also be made concerning
the limitations of the map, and that is that, contrary to common practice, no
attempt has been made to show the complete route of early travellers, but only
those parts are shown where new ground was being opened up. Thus, although
it is possible to follow most of the route of Speke through Uganda, Chaill Long
is only shown for the parts in which he deviated from the path already taken
by Speke. Certain routes were followed frequently; and it would be impossible to
show the entire routes of people passing into and out of Uganda by the Albert
Nile route. Nevertheless, it is thought that even with these limitations, the map
is useful as a guide to the opening up of the several parts of the country.
Initially the map was compiled for the forthcoming Atlas of Uganda, in which
it will be published at a larger scale and in colour. The map reproduced here is
a simplified version and is intended as an illustration for the notes which describes
the various journeys in chronological sequence. So far as possible the routes have
been plotted accurately upon a modern outline map of Uganda, and have been
adapted from the published maps of the individual travellers. However, in
many instances the original source does not provide a map and for these the
route has been plotted from written descriptions. In a few instances the line
shown only represents the general area in which the individual operated.
A final point concerning the map is that the routes have been drawn by
different types of lines to indicate the period in which the itinerary took place.
On the map for the Atlas of Uganda these have been drawn in different colours
and the pattern is more clearly portrayed. This system of mapping in itself
reveals some interesting features. The early routes between southern and northern
Uganda along the line of the Nile were known mainly before 1860. The various
portions of the Nile system were made known by people like Speke, Baker,
Chaill6 Long, Gessi and Piaggia. The process was completed by 1880, and can
IThe author acknowledges the helpful criticism of Mr. H. B. Thomas upon an
earlier draft of these notes and the map. The omissions and errors remain those of
the author. It is hoped that these notes will prompt others to look more closely at early
travels through the districts of Uganda.
56 UGANDA JOURNAL
be taken as representing the first phase in the opening up of Uganda. In the
same period Stanley circumnavigated Lake Victoria and made a journey west to
Lake George, and Emin Pasha travelled much in north Acholi and the lands
adjacent to the Albert Nile. In the second phase, 1881-1892, Uganda was
approached from the east. Thomson arrived at the very border of the present-day
Uganda. Bishop Hannington made the first entry of Uganda from the east and
Peters in 1890 came as far as Rubaga from that direction. In the same period
western Uganda became better known through the passage through it of Stanley
with the Emin Relief Expedition and by the subsequent crossing of western
Uganda made by Lugard. In many respects 1892 marks the end of the major
exploration of Uganda. In the third phase, 1893-1899, knowledge of western
Uganda was completed by the military expeditions in connection with the
Bunyoro wars in the first half of the period; and north-eastern Uganda became
better known in the latter part. The first decade of the present century represents
the fourth phase from 1900-1909 and saw the beginning of administration and
missionary work in the area of the Lake Kyoga basin which was opened up at
this time. In addition parts of Acholi and Karamoja became better known. The
final phase from 1910-1914 marks the beginning of knowledge of the central
area of northern Uganda-west Teso, Lango and east Acholi. This was the last
area of Uganda to be revealed. Although more peripheral parts of the country
such as Karamoja, West Nile and Kigezi were not effectively administered until
after this date, people had travelled through them much earlier.
The chronological list which follows, records the achievements of all the
travellers who opened up areas of Uganda to the outside world, and the routes
taken by such travellers are all mapped. In addition the list includes references to
other persons whose arrival in Uganda and whose travels in the country may
have been significant even though they may not have covered new ground. Thus
there are a number of references in the list to journeys which are not mapped.
These brief notes contain a statement on the area opened up, and the date when
the journey was made. There is also a brief reference to the source from which
the information has been derived. An attempt has also been made to indicate
the occupations and nationalities of the persons concerned. However, a limitation
of both the map and the list is that each relies solely upon published sources.
Careful research into district archives may in future yield interesting
material. North Busoga is an example of an area in which administration under
Grant was being established at much the same time as missionaries were begin-
ning to operate in the area. Thus an examination of district archives may make
it possible to plot some new routes to the credit of Grant, but from the published
references more information can be obtained concerning the work of the
missionaries. It is possible, too, that the early archives of Lango and Teso would
yield material for filling in some of the gaps on the map for parts of these districts.
In so far as the first traveller of note into Uganda was John Hanning Speke;
and since the centenary of his first visit to Uganda is being celebrated in 1962, it
is appropriate that this wider summary of travel into unknown parts of Uganda
should accompany this special issue of the Uganda Journal. All those people who
followed after Speke and Grant have been adding to the information concerning
the several parts of Uganda. This is a process which began really with the arrival
of the first Arabs into Uganda in the reign of the Kabaka Suna in the 1840's.
However, no record of this journey was made, and the first written information
of knowledge derived personally of any part of Uganda is probably that of Miani
who learnt something about Acholi in 1860. The process of learning about new
EARLY TRAVELLERS IN UGANDA
parts of Uganda went on continuously from then until 1914 by which time no
large areas of Uganda remained unknown. The map and the chronological list
record the process by which Uganda became known.
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF TRAVELLERS IN UGANDA
Miani, G. (Private explorer-Italian). 1860 March. South of Nimule. Miani travelled
down the Nile to Galuffi (Afuddo) on the north bank of the Unyama River
which is located on the very border of the present territory of Uganda, though
on the Sudan side. Miani is therefore the first European to have caught a
glimpse of part of the present Uganda. Ref: Thomas, H. B. Giovanni Miani
and the White Nile (Uganda Journal, Vol. 6, 1939): Leone, E. de L'Italia in
Africa, Vol. 2, Le esplorazione (1955). The introduction to Stigand's Equatoria
written by R. Wingate contains the information that in 1857 Miani reached
Dufile, but this is clearly incorrect.
Amabile (Trader-Maltese). 1861. Faloro in Madi East. Amabile was a nephew of
Andrea de Bono a slave trader in the southern Sudan. Amabile established a
trading station at Faloro in the present East Madi county. Being a Maltese
he was the first European to have entered the bounds of the present Uganda.
Ref: Thomas, H. B. and Scott, R. Uganda (1935).
Speke, J. H. (Explorer sponsored by the Royal Geographical Society-British). 1862
January 1863 February. Through Uganda from South to North-Masaka,
,Buganda, Southern Victoria Nile, North Bunyoro, Acholi. Speke was the first
outsider to travel right through Uganda. Having entered the country on January
28th, 1862 by following a landward route across Karagwe he met the Kabaka
Mutesa I on the 20th February, 1862 and later proceeded to the Victoria Nile.
The object of Speke's visit was to discover the outlet of the Nile from Lake
Victoria, which he did on arriving at the Ripon Falls on 28th July. Thereafter
he proceeded at a fairly rapid pace across northern Uganda, crossed the Somerset
Nile at the Karuna Falls and left Uganda on passing Afuddo, Miani's furthest
south, on 1st February, 1863. Ref: Speke, J. H. Journal of the Discovery of the
Source of the Nile (1863).
Grant, J. A. (Explorer sponsored by the Royal Geographical Society-British). 1862 1863.
Through Uganda from South to North. Grant accompanied Speke for most of
the route through Uganda, though was not with Speke on the Victoria Nile.
In crossing Masaka some months after Speke he followed a route to the west
of Speke. Ref: Grant, J. A. A Walk across Africa (1864).
Baker, S. W. (Private explorer-British). 1864 January. Acholi to Bunyoro and Lake
Albert. Baker entered northern Acholi by an inner route away from the Nile
in January 1864 and after crossing the Aswa River proceeded southwards by a
route west of that followed by Speke in the opposite direction in the previous
year. From Mruli he struck out westwards across Bunyoro to Lake Albert
which he sighted first on the 14th March, 1864. Lake Albert was traversed
from south to north and Speke's route north rejoined at the Karuna Falls.
Ref: Baker, S. W. Albert Nyanza (1867).
Baker, S. W. (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-British). 1872 April. To Masindi.
Baker returned to Uganda under the service of the Khedive of Egypt, but only
opened new ground in Uganda by reaching Masindi in April, 1872. Ref:
Baker, S. W. Ismailia (1874).
58 UGANDA JOURNAL
Chaill6 Long, C. (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-American). 1874. Bugand9,
North Victoria Nile and Lake Kyoga. Chaill Long crossed Acholi by a roue
which perhaps lay to the west of Baker (1864), and crossed Buganda perha s
slightly to the west of Speke. On returning Chaille Long followed the Ni e
north from where Speke had discovered it and followed it thence throu
Lake Kyoga (which he called Ibrahim) to prove the continuity of the Victo a
and Somerset Niles. Ref: Chaill6 Long, C. Central Africa (1876). Mapped s
Chippindall, W. H. (Official under Khedive of Egypt-British). 1875 January to Apri.
Dufile to Wadelai. Chippindall under the command of General Gordon ws
sent down the Albert Nile to find out if it was navigable to Lake Albert. H
advanced down the east bank of the river as far as Wadelai. Re
Chippindall, W. H. Journey beyond the cataracts of the Upper Nile towards t
Albert Nyanza (Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society-Old Series
1875-6) and Allen, B. M. Gordon and the Sudan (1931).
Bellefonds, E. L. de (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-Belgian). 1875 April
To Rubaga from the North. Linant de Bellefonds visited Buganda in 1875
He took a route west of Mruli and through northwestern Mengo and the
turned south to enter Rubaga. Ref: Petermann, A. Karte des Gebietes (Peterman
Mittheilongen, Vol. 20, Map 21, 1877).
Stanley, H. M. (Private explorer-British). 1875 April to 1876 January. Circum
navigation of Lake Victoria and across South Uganda to Lake Edward. Stanle
on his first visit to Uganda entered by way of Lake Victoria from the south
east and passed the coast of Busoga in March to arrive at Rubaga at the same
time as Linant de Bellefonds on 5th April, 1875. During the early part of his
visit to Rubaga he crossed south Kyaggwe, accompanying a military force
of the Kabaka against the people of the Buvuma Islands. He continued the
circumnavigation of the lake to the southwest. Later he also made a journey
inland along the line of the Katonga River to Lake George passing through
Masaka, south Toro and north Ankole in November, 1875, to return via
Koki in January, 1876. Ref: Stanley, H. M. Through the Dark Continent
Gordon, C. (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-British). 1876. In Bunyoro. General
Gordon came south to Bunyoro in 1876 to establish some military posts in
the area. In the course of these expeditions he probably journeyed between
Mruli, Masindi and Magungo before anyone else. Ref: Allen, B. M. Gordon
and the Sudan (1931).
Nuehr, Aga (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-Egyptian). 1876. To Buganda. Nuehr
Aga commanded a company of General Gordon's force into Buganda to establish
a military post. He probably followed a recognized route. Not mapped.
Gessi, R. (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-Italian). 1876 March to April.
Circumnavigation of Lake Albert. Gessi was the first person to circumnavigate
Lake Albert, and in doing so entered the extreme south for the first time. In
the far south Gessi sailed for some distance up the River Muzizi, but did not
identify the Semliki. Ref: Gessi, R. Seven Years in the Sudan (1892).
Piaggia, C. (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-Italian). 1876 April. To Lake
Kyoga. Piaggia sailed with Gessi up the Somerset Nile to Murchison Falls,
then went overland to Foweira and by canoe again from here to Lake Kyoga.
A few days were spent on the southern shore of this lake, and a river was
reported as flowing out to the north-east. Only short stretches of this journey
were new. Ref: Gessi, R. Seven Years in the Sudan (1892).
EARLY TRAVELLERS IN UGANDA
Emin Pasha (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-German). 1876 July. To Buganda,
Emin Pasha came to Rubaga to extricate Nuehr Aga. On this, his first visit to
Buganda, Emin probably followed a recognized route. Ref: Schweinfurth, G.
and others Emin Pasha in Central Africa (1888). Not mapped.
Gordon, C. (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-British). 1876 July to September.
In North Buganda. In July, Gordon made an expedition eastwards with the
intention of establishing a post on the Victoria Nile. On this journey he travelled
overland across north Buganda to the Victoria Nile, but returned by canoe
along a route earlier used by Chaille Long. Ref: Allen, B. M. Gordon and the
Sudan (1931) and Thomas, H. B. Gordon's Farthest South in Uganda in 1876
(Uganda Journal, Vol. 5, 1938).
Mason, A. M. (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-American). 1877 June. Circum-
navigation of Lake Albert. In June, 1877, Mason made a survey of Lake Albert;
sailing round it in the opposite direction from Gessi. It has been commonly
supposed that Mason discovered the River Semliki and even that he sailed
up it. However, in his second brief paper on this journey he makes it very
clear that he did not find a river in the southwest and that the river up which
he sailed was the Muzizi, in the southeast. Therefore it is clear that Mason
did not in fact discover anything on this voyage. A further fallacy concerning
Mason is that he circumnavigated Lake Albert before Gessi but this is not
the case. Ref: Mason, A. M. Report of a Reconnaissance of Lake Albert (Proceed-
ings of the Royal Geographical Society-Old Series-Vol. 22, 1877-78) and
Mason, A. M. The River at the Southern end of Albert Nyanza (Proceedings
of the Royal Geographical Society-New Series-Vol. 12, 1890). Not mapped.
Junker, W. (Private explorer-Russo-German). 1877. Towards the Lugbara in the
West Nile. In 1877, Junker reached the Congo-Nile watershed probably within
about twenty miles of the present town of Arua. In approaching from the
northwest to his southernmost point he commented on the mountains in view.
Later he wrote In Lubari land I came nearer to the mountains already seen ",
Lubari land certainly refers to the land of the Lugbara and the mountains
which he named Gessi, Gordon and Baker have been identified as Liru, Wati
and Luku. Posnett thinks that Junker must have been observing these mountains
from near Olovu on the watershed just west of Mount Wati, which would
place Junker a short distance inside the present Uganda boundary. Ref:
Junker, W. Travels in Africa, Vol. 1 (1890) and Stigand, C. H. Equatoria. A full
discussion on these observations is given in Posnett, R. N. Some Notes on the
West Nile Hills and History (Uganda Journal, Vol. 15, 1951).
Wilson, C. T. and Smith, S. (Protestant Missionaries-British). 1877 July. To Rubaga
from Southwest Lake Victoria. Wilson and Shergold Smith who were the first
missionaries to come to Uganda arrived in Rubaga by way of the Lake route
from the southwest in July, 1877. Although they were the first Europeans to
enter from this direction by the lake they only followed a route already used
in the opposite direction by Stanley. Ref: Wilson, C. T. Uganda and the Lake
Victoria (Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society-New Series-Vol. 2,
1880) and Wilson, C. T. and Felkin, R. W. Uganda and the Egyptian Sudan
(1882). Not mapped.
Emin Pasha (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-German). 1877 August to October.
In Bunyoro. In the latter part of 1877, Emin Pasha was operating in Bunyoro
and probably crossed north Bunyoro from Magungo to Mruli, and from Mruli
to Hoima for the first time. Ref: Schweinfurth, G. Emin Pasha in Central Africa
Emin Pasha (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-German). 1877 November to
December. To Rubaga. Later in 1877 Emin paid a second visit to Buganda
and it was on this journey that he first took the route directly south to Rubaga.
Ref: Schweinfurth, G. Emin Pasha in Central Africa (1888).
Emin Pasha (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-German). 1878 March to Nov-
ember. In North Acholi. During these months Emin Pasha made a brief visit
from the Sudan to Padibe during which he passed near to the present Madi
Opei. Ref: Petermann Mittheilungen, Vol. 25 (1882).
Emin Pasha (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-German). 1878 December to
1879 January. In Acholi. In these months Emin went along a new route from
Dufile to Patiko (Baker's camp). Ref: Schweinfurth, G. Emin Pasha in Central
Felkin, R. W. (Protestant Missionary doctor-British). 1879. To Rubaga. In February,
1879 Felkin, together with other missionaries (G. Litchfield and A. V. Pearson)
arrived from the north, but probably came on an established route. Ref:
Wilson, C. T. and Felkin, R. W. Uganda and the Egyptian Sudan (1882). Not
Lourdel and Amans (Catholic Missionaries-French). 1879 February. From South
to Rubaga. Early in 1879 the first Catholic missionaries landed at Entebbe,
but having come by the western lake route did not open new gound. Not mapped.
Wilson, C. T. and Felkin, R. W. (Protestant Missionaries-British). 1879 May to
June. To North. In mid-1879 the missionaries Wilson and Felkin left Uganda
again by the standard route to the north. Ref: Wilson, C. T. and Felkin, R. W.
Uganda and the Egyptian Sudan (1882). Not mapped.
Emin Pasha (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-German). 1879 November to
December. In Alur country. Late in 1879, Emin toured amongst the Alur
on western side of Lake Albert in the north. Ref: Scheinfurth, G. Emin Pasha
in Central Africa (1888).
Emin Pasha (Official under the Khedive of Egypt-German). 1880 October to 1881
May. In North Acholi. Between these dates, Emin returned to Acholi twice.
In his first visit he journeyed from north to south but only opened new ground
around Fadibek and again when he travelled from Fatiko to Wadelai. Later
in 1881 he travelled through north Acholi to Fajuli south of the present Kitgum.
Ref: Schweinfurth, G. and others. Emin Pasha in Central Africa (1888).
Thomson, J. (Private explorer-British). 1883 December. To the Sio River and
Mt. Elgon. Thomson was the first person to approach Uganda from the east.
Late in 1883 he reached the Sio River which forms the present eastern boundary
of Uganda and then turned northwards to get a short distance up the southern
side of Mount Elgon. H. H. Johnston must have thought that Thomson had
come further west since he identifies the caves and waterfall that Thomson
found within the present bounds of Uganda but this was probably a mis-
identification (Johnston, H. H. in the Geographical Journal, 1902). Ref:
Thomson, J. Through Masailand (1885).
Hannington, J. (Protestant Missionary-British). 1885. Through South Busoga to
Lubwa's. Bishop Hannington was the first person to enter Uganda from the east on
his way to Rubaga but was killed in Lubwa's country on the 29th October, 1885.
Ref: Dawson, E. C. James Hannington: A History of his life and works (1887).
Junker, W. (Private explorer-Russo-German). 1885. From Wadelai to the Somerset
Nile. In 1885, Junker made an unsuccessful attempt to enter Bunyoro from the
north but after crossing southern Acholi was refused permission to pass through
EARLY TRAVELLERS IN UGANDA
Junker, W. (Private explorer-Russo-German). 1886. From Bunyoro to Rubaga. In his
final route out of Central Africa, Junker passed from Emin's to Kabarega's
and thence out by way of Mutesa's and the southern Lake Victoria. In his
journey from Bunyoro, Junker passed well to the west of previous travellers,
along a route generally in line with the present Hoima-Kampala road, though
probably the crossing of the Kafu River was still further to the west. Ref:
Junker, W. Travels in Africa, Vol. 3 (1891).
Casati, G. (Private explorer-Italian). 1886. Bunyoro. Casati followed very soon after
Junker into Bunyoro but probably did not go anywhere new. Ref: Casati, G.
Ten Years in Equatoria (1881). Not mapped.
Emin Pasha (Official of the Khedive of Egypt-German). 1886 April to October.
Discovery of the Semliki River. In 1886, Emin made a tour of Lake Albert in
the process of which he discovered the River Semliki which he called the Duero.
Ref: Schweinfurth, G. and others. Emin Pasha in Central Africa (1888).
Mounteney-Jephson, A. J. (Officer of the Emin Relief Expedition-British). 1888.
To Lake Albert and the Albert Nile. In 1888 the advance party of Stanley's
Emin relief expedition arrived at the south end of Lake Albert and made contact
with Emin. Mounteney-Jephson was left behind for a time with Emin and
together they travelled through Alur country and up to Wadelai. Probably
he did not touch any new ground. Ref: Mounteney-Jephson, A. J. Emin Pasha:
The Rebellion at the Equator (1890). Not mapped.
Stanley, H. M. (Leader of the Emin Relief Expedition-British). 1889. From Southwest
Lake Albert via the Semliki, and Western Ruwenzori to Ankole. In conducting
the Emin relief party out of the Upper Nile region, Stanley crossed a large
part of south-western Uganda. The account of this traverse is given by a number
of people on the expedition. Ref: Stanley, H. M. In Darkest Africa, Vol. 2 (1890);
Casati, G. Ten Years in Equatoria (1891); Parke, T. H. My personal experiences
in Equatorial Africa (1891); Mounteney-Jephson, A. J. Emin Pasha and the
Rebellion at the Equator (1890); and Stuhlmann, F. Die Tagebiicher von Dr. Emin
Pasha (1917). There was little deviation from the route taken by the leader,
though Stairs ventured a considerable distance up the Ruwenzori on the western
side. An account of this is given in Stairs, W. G. From the Albert Nyanza to
the Indian Ocean (Nineteenth Century, June 1891).
Peters, C. (Officer of a German colonial trading company-German). 1890 February.
Across South Busoga and Buganda. Carl Peters made the first successful approach
to Mengo from east, having crossed the Nile and Kyagwe by way of Grant Bay.
On leaving Mengo shortly afterwards, Peters called on the Sesse Islands on his
way south by the lake. Ref: Peters, C. New light on Dark Africa (1891).
Jackson, F. J. and Gedge, E. (Officials of the Imperial British East Africa Company-
British). 1890 February. Round North Elgon. Whilst awaiting instructions to
proceed into Uganda, Jackson and Gedge made a journey from Mumias north-
wards to the east of Mt. Elgon and up the Suam River. They returned by way
of Save (Kapchorwa) and across the Elgon crater to Mumias again. Thence
they followed on the route of Peters across Busoga and Kyagwe. Through
Kyagwe they may have passed slightly north of Peters' route. Ref: Jackson, F. J.
Early Days in East Africa (1930) and Ravenstein, E. G. To Uganda via Masai-
land (Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society-new series-Vol. 13, 1891).
For the Elgon portion a clearer analysis appears in Thomas, H. B. and
Lindsell, R. F. S. Early ascents of Mount Elgon (Uganda Journal, Vol. 20, 1956).
Gedge, E. (Official of the I.B.E.A. Co.-British). 1890 April. Busoga. Gedge made a
foray north of Wakoli's in 1890. This must represent the first deviation from
the recognized east to west route through Busoga. Ref: Information supplied
from H. B. Thomas from the Diary of Ernest Gedge. Only roughly mapped.
Lugard, F. D. (Oficial of the I.B.E.A. Co.-British). 1891. Across Western Uganda.
In his bringing out of the remnants of Emin's force from the south of Lake
Albert in 1891 Lugard made a new crossing to the west through Ankole and
back through Toro. Lugard also did a fair amount of travelling into new parts
of Singo and Mubende. Ref: Lugard, F. D. The Rise of Our East Africa Empire
Emin Pasha and Stuhlmann, F. (Officers of the Government of German East Africa-
Germans). 1891. Across South Ankole and Kigezi. After being taken to the coast
by Stanley, Emin then joined German service and conducted an expedition
from Bukoba to the eastern Congo. On route this party crossed parts of Ankole
and Kigezi. Emin Pasha was later killed somewhere west of the River Semliki.
After Emin's death, Stuhlmann returned to Bukoba on a route slightly south of
that taken on the journey westwards. Ref: Stuhlmann, F. Mit Emin Pasha ins
Herz von Afrika (1894). Emin's route is also plotted on the map accompanying
Scott-Elliot, G. F. A Naturalist in Mid-Africa. Stuhlmann's return journey i
plotted on the map of exploration in the Atlas of Tanganyika. Mapped a
Smith, A. F. E. (Soldier attached to the I.B.E.A. Co.-British). 1891 April. South
Busoga. Smith led a party of Imperial British East Africa Company people int
Uganda from Mombasa and before returning made a short expedition south o
Wakoli's to Macdonald Bay which he inspected from canoes. Ref: Thomas, H. B.
Captain Eric Smith's expedition to Lake Victoria in 1891 (Uganda Journal, Vol. 23,
Langheld, W. (Official of the Government of German East Africa-German). 1892
January to March. In South Ankole. Major Langheld of the German adminis-
tration in Bukoba crossed over into southern Ankole early in 1892. No map is
given in his book. Ref: Langheld, W. Zwanzig Jahre in Deutschen Kolonien
(1909). Not mapped.
Van Kerkhoven (Officer of the Government of Belgium-Belgian). 1892 August.
To the West Nile. Van Kerkhoven was in command of an expedition in the
Inner Congo moving towards the watershed with the Nile but was killed in
August, 1892. By this time Van Kerkhoven had probably already entered the
Lugbara or Alur area and his tomb is mapped as being within the present
bounds of Uganda on the G.S.G.S. map of 1905. The Congo Altas, however,
places the point of his death further to the west. Ref: Wauters, A. J. L'expedition
Van Kerkhoven (Mouvement Geographique, 1893).
Milz (Officer of the Government of Belgium-Belgian). 1892. To Wadelaifrom the West.
Lt. Milz carried on eastwards after the death of Van Kerkhoven to reach the
Nile at Wadelai on the 9th October, 1892. Ref: as above, and Ingham, K.
The Making of Modern Uganda (1958).
Macdonald, J. R. J. (Soldier attached to the I.B.E.A. Co.-British). 1891 1894.
Busoga, Buganda, Bunyoro and Toro. Captain Macdonald was in command of
the military force in Uganda following the departure of Sir Gerald Portal.
Portal had himself entered Uganda in 1893 but had not ventured far beyond
well-known paths. Developments in the west which he had set up were only
beginning at the time that he left later in the year. Under Macdonald, however,
detachments under his command or with himself in attendance moved over
much of the southern part of Uganda. Many of these detachments are considered
below under the individual in command of each, but the general body also
EARLY TRAVELLERS IN UGANDA
passed through some new country. Macdonald's entry into Buganda, initially
in connection with a railway survey, must have been one of the first to have
passed through central rather than southern Busoga. Mention is made of Mkoba's
(Mgobi's) which was near the present Iganga. Also the main body was possibly
the first to make the most direct route between Kampala and Hoima, slightly
east of that taken originally by Junker. Ref: Macdonald, J. R. L. Soldiering
and Surveying in British East Africa (1897) and Portal, G. H. The Mission to
Austin, H. H. (Soldier attached to the I.B.E.A. Co.-British). 1893. To South Elgon.
Austin took a detachment of Macdonald's main force north from Mumias to
the south Elgon area but probably did not venture upon areas not visited
earlier by Jackson and Gedge. Ref: Map at end of Macdonald, J. R. L. Soldiering
and Surveying in British East Africa (1897).
Arthur, Lt. (Soldier attached to the I.B.E.A. Co.-British). 1893 July. In Central
and North Busoga. Lt. Arthur took a detachment of Macdonald's force into
Busoga. This journey is mapped in Macdonald's book and apparently went
through the area of the present Iganga, Kamuli and Kaliro. Ref: as above.
Villiers, C. H. (Soldier attached to the I.B.E.A. Co.-British). 1893 August. South
Masaka. Lt. Villiers had a detachment of Macdonald's force operating in the
area south of Masaka and in Koki. Lake Kijanebalola on which Rakai stands
was for a time known as Lake Villiers. Ref: Macdonald, J. R. L. Soldiering
and Surveying in British East Africa (1897).
Reddie, C. (Administrator of the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1892 and 1893.
Western Uganda. During the early years of the establishment of administration
in western Uganda, Reddie made a number of interesting surveys. Some of
these, as in eastern Toro may have been through new country, but for the
most part the areas he travelled in were close to those already opened up by
Stanley or Lugard. Ref: Macdonald Map, I.D.W.O., 1900 and Thomas, H. B.
and Spencer, A. E. A History of Uganda Land Surveys (1938). Not mapped.
Owen, R. (Soldier attached to the I.B.E.A. Co.-British). 1893 1894. In Singo, Toro
and Bunyoro. Major Owen did a lot of journeying in western Uganda at the
time of the Bunyoro wars. He travelled between most of the western forts
established by Lugard and was instrumental in establishing new ones under
the direction of Portal. He later operated in the west under the command of
both Macdonald and Colvile. In the course of these events he probably opened
new routes in Singo and Toro in 1893. In 1894, he operated in Bunyoro and
ventured as far north as Wadelai. In this area he took an overland route along
the north Lake Albert shore from Kibero to Magungo. Ref: Bovill, M. and
Askwith, G. R. Roddy Owen: A memoir (1897).
Decle, L. (Private traveller-French). 1893. In Singo. Decle was a French tourist
who joined Owen for some of his travels through Singo but went nowhere
new by himself. Ref: Decle, L. Three Years in Savage Africa (1898). Not
Colvile, H. (Soldier attached to the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1894. Western
Uganda. Col. Colvile took over the command of the Uganda forces in the war
against Bunyoro. Separate detachments under his command operated in Bunyoro
and Toro and are considered under their respective leaders. Colvile himself
probably did not go anywhere new. Ref: Colvile, H. Land of the Nile Springs
(1895). Not mapped.
Thruston, A. B. (Soldier attached to the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1894. In
Bunyoro. Thruston was operating in Bunyoro during the Bunyoro wars and
may have made the initial journey through parts of this country as well perhaps
as an early crossing of Lake Albert. Ref: Thruston, A. B. African Incidents (1900)
Gibb and Grant (Soldiers attached to the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1894 June.
In West Busoga. These two officers under Colvile led a military force across
north Buganda and down the east bank of the Victoria Nile, Ref: Colvile, H.
Land of the Nile Springs (1895).
Cunningham, G. (Administrator of the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1894 August.
Central Ankole. Major Cunningham crossed through Ankole on his way to
Toro and signed a treaty with the Nganzi of Ankole. This marked the beginning
of the establishment of administration in Ankole though no permanent
administrative headquarters was established immediately. Cunninghamis
route may have been the earliest through parts of Ankole. Ref: Ingham, IK.
The Making of Modern Uganda (1958). Only roughly mapped.
Scott-Elliot, G. F. (Private traveller-British). 1894. Across Ankole, Lake George and
up the Ruwenzori slopes; returning via south-west Ankole to Tanganyika. Scottf
Elliot made a private tour through Uganda to the Ruwenzoris. Ref: Scott.
Elliot, G. F. A Naturalist in Mid-Africa (1896). Mapped as Elliot.
Vandeleur, C. F. S. (Soldier attached to the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1895
In West Lango and North Buganda. Vandeleur operated in Bunyoro at the en
of the Bunyoro wars. Although many of his journeys were over well-trode
ground he penetrated up the Koli River in western Lango opposite the Somerse
Nile. His was also probably one of the first expeditions to pass through Nakaso
ngola in Buruli, Mengo. Ref: Vandeleur, C. F. S. Campaigning on the Upp
Nile and Niger (1898).
Ternan, T. (Soldier attached to the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1895- 1897
In Buganda and Western Uganda. Ternan took over the acting Commissioner-
ship of Uganda in 1897 after serving in Uganda during the clearing up opera-
tions of the Bunyoro wars. He probably did not venture anywhere new himself.
Ref: Ternan, T. Some experiences of an old Bromsgrovian (1930). Not mapped.
Crabtree, W. A. (Protestant Missionary-British). 1895 1896. Busoga. Rev. Crabtree
was occupied in establishing a C.M.S. mission station at Miro's (Iganga) in
1895 and 1896. Ref: Tucker, A. R. Eighteen Years in Uganda and East Africa
(1908). Not mapped.
Hobley, C. W. (Administrator from British East Africa-British). 1896. Round
Mount Elgon. Hobley passed through the country of Bukedi and Bugisu in
his journey around Mount Elgon. Ref: Hobley, C. W. Note on a Journey round
Mount Masaba or Elgon. (Geographical Journal, Vol. 9, 1897) The route mapped
has been taken from that shown on the Kenya Atlas map of exploration.
MacAllister, R. L. D. (Administrator of the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1897 1900.
In Ankole. Permanent administration began in Ankole in 1897 with the presence
there of MacAllister. During these years, MacAllister travelled along most of
the routes leading radially from Mbarara. These are shown on Macdonald's
map of Uganda, published by the Intelligence Division of the War Office in
Kandt, R. (Private traveller-German). 1898 January. South Kigezi. Kandt in a
journey mainly across Tanganyika to the eastern Congo just passed through
south Kigezi to the north of Muhavura. Ref: Kandt, R. Caput Nili (1921).
Macdonald, J. R. L. (Commander of a military expedition-British). 1897 1899.
Northern Uganda: Karamoja and North Acholi. In 1897, Macdonald re-entered
Uganda at the head of a military force mainly interested in the affairs of the
north and the Sudan. Macdonald with the main force went right through
EARLY TRAVELLERS IN UGANDA
eastern and northern Uganda into the Sudan in October, 1898. Ref: Austin, H. H.
With Macdonald in Uganda (1903).
Kirkpatrick, R. T. (Soldier attached to a military expedition-British). 1898. North
Ankole. Macdonald's map of Uganda, 1900, indicates that Kirkpatrick made a
substantial new passage across Ankole, south of the Katonga River. This journey
must have been made early in 1898, before the journeys mentioned below.
Kirkpatrick, R. T. (Soldier attached to a military expedition-British). 1898 June.
Through Bugerere to Lake Kyoga. Kirkpatrick commanded a detachment of
Macdonald's force through Bugerere from south to north and then eastwards
along the Lake Kyoga. Ref: Kirkpatrick, R. T. Lake Choga and the Surrounding
Country (Geographical Journal, Vol. 13, 1899).
Kirkpatrick, R. T. (Soldier attached to a military expedition-British). 1898 October.
North Karamoja. Kirkpatrick again left the main force to enter the far north
of Karamoja up to the Mt. Morungole. Ref: Austin, H. H. With Macdonald
in Uganda (1903).
Kirkpatrick, R. T. (Soldier attached to a military expedition-British). 1898 November.
To the Nyakwai Hills. Yet again Kirkpatrick left the main force of Macdonald
to penetrate the hills in western parts of central Karamoja but was killed on
26th November, 1898. Ref: as above.
Tucker, A. R. (Protestant Missionary-British). 1898 August. Across the Semliki
to Mboga. Bishop Tucker and other missionaries went through western Uganda
to Mboga beyond the Semliki but probably did not cross much new country.
The route had also been used two years before by Apolo Kivebulaya, a Muganda
Christian reader. Ref: Tucker, A. R. Eighteen Years in Uganda and East Africa
Austin, H. H. (Soldier attached to a military expedition-British). 1898 October to
December. Elgon to Lake Rudolf. Austin and Pringle took a detachment of
Macdonald's force eastwards to Lake Rudolf from Elgon. Ref: Austin, H. H.
With Macdonald in Uganda (1903).
Blackledge (Protestant Missionary-British). 1899. North Busoga and Bukedi. Early
in 1899, Blackledge crossed from Bugerere to commence missionary work for
the C.M.S. amongst the Bakedi. Ref: Tucker, A. R. Eighteen Years in Uganda
and East Africa, Vol. 2 (1908). Only mapped roughly.
Evatt, M. J. (Soldier attached to a military Expedition-British). 1899 March.
South Lango. Evatt conducted a military expedition across the Maruzi and
Kyoga peninsulas of southern Lango to Kangai early in 1899. Ref:
Lawrance, J. C. D. The Iteso (1957). The map of Uganda by Macdonald
attributes this journey to Madocks, April, 1899.
Tucker, A. R. (Protestant Missionary-British). 1899 July and August. To North
Busoga. Bishop Tucker and a party of C.M.S. missionaries made an itinerary
of northern Busoga visiting the chiefs Miro, Mudambado, Mpindi, Tabingwa
and Gabula. This may have represented the opening up of some of these places
for the first time; though Grant of the Protectorate administration was also
itinerating in the same area at about the same time. Ref: Tucker, A. R.
Eighteen Years in Uganda and East Africa, Vol. 2 (1908). Not mapped.
Grogan, E. S. (Private traveller-British). 1899. In South and North Kigezi. In a
traverse across Africa from south to north Grogan just passed through new
parts of Kigezi. Ref: Grogan, E. S. From Cape to Cairo (1900).
Martyr, C. (Soldier attached to a military expedition-British). 1899. On the Albert Nile
and in Acholi. Martyr conducted a military party up the Albert Nile and
south through Acholi. Although it had been a long time since an expedition
66 UGANDA JOURNAL
in these parts no new ground was covered. A full account of the movements
in connection with the expedition of Major Martyr is given in an earlier volume
of the Uganda Journal. During these operations Lt. Gage crossed from Fajao
to Wadelai on a route previously used by Junker in 1885, Major Martyr went
up the Nile to Dufile on a route already known, and Captain Carleton proceeded
from Foweira to Patiko and established a post at Lamogi. It is also apparent
from the book written by one of the officers on these operations that the main
contacts with Lamogi were from the north. Southern Acholi seems to have
remained little known. Ref: Gray, J. M. Acholi history, 1860-1901, Part II
(Uganda Journal, Vol. 16, 1952) and Sykes, C. A. Service and Sport on the
Tropical Nile, 1903. Ingham, K. The Making of Modern Uganda (1958). Not
Wellby, M. S. 1899. In Northeast Karamoja, Wellby made a journey in 1899 across
north Kenya and Ethiopia. In doing so he crossed into Karamoja in the extreme
northeast. The route has here been mapped from the exploration map in the
Atlas of Kenya where it is wrongly dated as having occurred in 1900. Ref:
Wellby, M. S. 'Twixt Sirdar and Menelik (1901).
Buckley, T. R. (Protestant Missionary-British). 1900 January. To Teso. Rev. Buckley
was the first missionary to enter Teso which he did from the Busoga side of
Lake Kyoga, but he probably did not go much beyond Bululu. Ref: Tucker, A. R.
Eighteen Years in Uganda and East Africa (1908).
Gibbons, A. St. H. (Private traveller-British). 1900 February and March.
By eastern Lake Edward. Gibbons followed shortly after Grogan in a long
journey from south to north Africa. He passed through little new ground but
must have been the first person to have traversed the eastern side of Lake
Edward. Later Gibbons spent three months in the Lado Enclave. Ref:
Gibbons, A. St. H. Africa from South to North through Marotseland (1904).
Kakungulu, S. (Administrator of the Uganda Protectorate-Muganda). 1900. In Teso.
Semei Kakungulu was a Muganda agent employed by the government who,
during the period 1896 to 1900, had been establishing a line of posts around
Lake Kyoga on both the south and north banks. In 1899 his efforts were
directed towards Teso and during the next year began to penetrate into interior
parts of the Serere and Pallisa peninsulas. Until this time only occasional forays,
as to Dokolo in Lango in 1899, had carried him even a slight distance from
the coast. Kakungulu is significant in that his administration in the area until
1904 represented the introduction of an alien element into the Teso scene.
Ref: Lawrance, J. C. D. The Iteso (1957).
Delm6-Radcliffe, C. (Military surveyor-British). 1899 to 1901. In Acholi. From late
1899, Delme-Radcliffe was surveying in Acholi. For many of the places that
he visited he was the first intruder since the earlier expeditions of Emin but
in his work on the central course of the Aswa River and the Lango boundary
he was working entirely new ground. Ref: Delm6-Radcliffe, C. Surveys and
Studies in Uganda (Geographical Journal, Vol. 26, 1905). Mapped as Radcliffe.
Moore, J. E. S. (Private traveller-British). 1900. Ruwenzori. Moore ascended the
Mubuku Valley of Ruwenzori to its glacier which marked the commencement
of a series of climbs on that mountain. Moore entered Uganda by a route from
the southwest which lay beyond the bounds of the present Kigezi. Ref:
Moore, J. E. S. To the Mountains of the Moon (1901).
Hanlon, H. and Kestens, G. (Catholic Missionaries-British and Dutch). 1900
December. To Mbale. By 1900 Kakungulu had already established a post near
the present Mbale which was visited shortly after its foundation by two Catholic
EARLY TRAVELLERS IN UGANDA
missionaries, Bishop Hanlon and Father Kestens, who came by way of Busoga,
the Mpologoma and Naboa. Ref: Gale, H. P. Uganda and the Mill Hill Fathers
Crabtree, W. A. (Protestant Missionary-British). 1900 December. To Nabumali.
Immediately following Bishop Hanlon, Rev. Crabtree of the C.M.S. came to
the same area. Crabtree came from the direction of Lake Kyoga and crossed
the Mpologoma near Kibale. Having left for this journey in November he
arrived at Nabumali very shortly after Hanlon had visited the area. Hanlon
wrote later a C.M.S. agent out for a holiday followed on my heels ". Ref:
Tucker, A. R. Eighteen Years in Uganda and East Africa (1908) and
Crabtree, W. A. Bukedi (Mengo Notes, 1901).
Howard, T. N. (Soldier attached to the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1901 May.
South Teso and South Lango. Captain Howard made an interesting journey
across the northern parts of the Lake Kyoga lowlands from Mbale to join
Delm6-Radcliffe in the region of the River Tochi in west Lango. Probably
much of this route was through country opened up earlier by Kakungulu.
Ref: Thomas, H. B. Capax Imperii; the story of Semei Kakungulu (Uganda
Journal, Vol. 6, 1939). Not mapped.
Johnston, H. H. (Administrator of the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1901. Round
Mount Elgon. Johnston toured Mt. Elgon in 1901 but did not cover any new
ground. Ref: Johnston, H. H. The Uganda Protectorate (Geographical Journal,
Vol. 19, 1902). Not mapped.
Johnston, H. H. (Administrator of the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1901. To Ruwe-
nzori and the Semliki. Johnston made a tour of western Uganda but probably
did not cover any new ground inside the present bounds of the country. Ref:
Johnston, H. H. A recent journey in the Uganda Protectorate to the Semliki River
and the Ituri Forest (Geographical Journal, Vol. 17, 1901). Not mapped.
Grant, W. and Walker, W. R. (Administrators of the Uganda Protectorate-British).
1902. In Teso and Bukedi. Grant and Walker were government officials engaged
in south Teso and Bukedi in removing Kakungulu's force to Mbale. Ref:
Lawrance, J. C. D. The Iteso (1957). Not mapped.
Buckley, T. R. and Others. (Protestant Missionaries-British). 1902. In Budaka area
of Bukedi. In 1902 Rev. Mr. Buckley and Miss Chadwick went from north Busoga
to Budaka to open a C.M.S. mission there. Probably the journey across from
Busoga may have been an early one in these parts unless a government official
had been here before. Father Kestens had been asked to retire to Budaka from
Mbale in 1901. Ref: Tucker, A. R. Eighteen Years in Uganda and East Africa
Powell-Cotton, P. H. G. (Private traveller-British). Powell-Cotton went through
Karamoja from south to north and made contact with most of the east Uganda
mountains-Elgon, Debasien, Napak, Moroto and Morungole. Ref: Powell-
Cotton, P. H. G. In Unknown Africa (1904). Mapped as Cotton.
Kirk, C. J. (Catholic Missionary-British). 1902 1903. Budaka to Ngora. Father Kirk
based at Budaka made a number of journeys north including a visit to Ngora.
Ref: Gale, H. P. Uganda and the Mill Hill Fathers (1959).
Purvis, J. B. (Protestant Missionary-British). 1902 1903. In Teso. Rev. Purvis travel-
led through eastern Teso from Lake Kyoga and claimed to have discovered
the water connections between Lakes Gedge (Opeta) and Salisbury
with Lake Kyoga. It is also possible that he pioneered the route from Mbale
to Ngora. Ref: Purvis, J. B. Through Uganda to Mount Elgon (1909).
Bell, W. D. M. (Private elephant hunter-British). 1902- 1903. In South Karamoja.
Bell went into Karamoja from the Elgon area by a standard route to Manimai
but returned from there further to the west. Ref: Bell, W. D. M. Wanderins
of an Elephant Hunter (1923). The route has been mapped by Cleave, .
Bell in Karamoja (Uganda Wildlife and Sport, Vol. 2, 1961).
Delm6-Radcliffe, C. (Surveyor-British). 1902 1904. South Ankole and Kige.
DelmB-Radcliffe worked with the Anglo-German Boundary Commission o
1902-4 and must have worked in areas not previously visited, though the route
taken by people on this commission are not shown on the reports of the Com
mission. Ref: Delm6-Radcliffe, C. Surveys and Studies in Uganda (Geographica
Journal, Vol. 26, 1905) and Extracts from Lt.-Col. C. Delmd Radcliffe's Dia
1902-4 (Uganda Journal, Vol. 11, 1947). Mapped as Radcliffe.
Behrens, T. T. (Surveyor-British). 1903 December. Kigezi. Lt. Behrens left th(
main part of the Anglo-German Boundary Commission and cut across Kigezl
to Lake Edward and the Kazinga Channel. Parts of this route must have beer
close to that taken earlier by Scott-Elliot. Ref: Thomas, H. B. and Spencer, A. El
A History of Uganda Land and Surveys (1938). Not mapped.
Lloyd, A. B. (Protestant Missionary-British). 1903 August. In South Acholi.
In 1903, Lloyd crossed the Somerset Nile from Bunyoro to enter the Alag
Valley area as far as chief Ojigi's. Ref: Lloyd, A. B. Uganda to Khartoum (1906).
Tucker, A. R. and Others. (Protestant Missionaries-British). 1904 April. In South
Acholi. In the following year Bishop Tucker,. Dr. Cook and Rev. Lloyd returned
to Ojigi's and continued beyond to Keyo and Lamogi, north of the present
Gulu. Ref: Tucker, A. R. Eighteen Years in Uganda and East Africa (1908),
Cook, A. Uganda Memories (1945) and Lloyd, A. B.. Uganda to Khartoum
McGregor, A. H. (Soldier on a military Expedition-British). 1904 September.
To North-West Elgon. McGregor led a military expedition into the Siroko Valley
and the area north-west of Mt. Elgon from Mbale in 1904. Ref: Moyse-
Bartlett, H. The King's African Rifles (1956).
Lloyd, A. B. (Protestant Missionary-British). 1905 January. In North Acholi.
After establishing the first missionary station in Acholi, Lloyd left Acholi by
a wide tour in the north of the district with the Rev. Kitching. Much of this
was over territory visited earlier by Emin or surveyed by Delmb-Radcliffe.
Ref: Lloyd, A. B. Uganda to Khartoum (1906) and Kitching, A. L. On the
Backwaters of the Nile (1912). Not mapped.
Bell, W. D. M. (Private elephant hunter-British). 1905 c. To North Karamoja.
Round about 1905, Bell returned on a second hunting expedition to Karamoja
and this time traversed the whole district from south to north. Ref: Bell, W. D. M.
Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter (1923). This route has been mapped by
Cleave, J. in Bell in Karamoja (Uganda Wildlife and Sport, Vol. 2, 1961).
Ward, L. E. S. (Soldier on a military expedition-British). 1905 September. To
Budama. In September 1905, Lt. Ward led a military force south of Mbale to
the Budama country west of Tororo (Mulanda's and Esseme's). Ref: Moyse-
Bartlett, H. The King's African Rifles (1956).
Belgians 1897 1906. In the West Nile. Intermittently from 1897 onwards the
Belgians maintained administrative stations in the West Nile. Probably Belgian
activity was at its maximum about 1906 when posts were maintained at Kajo-
Kaji (just north of the present Uganda boundary with the Sudan) at Old and
New Dufile, at Wadelai and Mount Wati. There was also a sub-post at Aringa.
Presumably these posts were connected with each other as well as with other
posts in the Congo. Most of them were abandoned about 1907 pending the
EARLY TRAVELLERS IN UGANDA
transfer of power in the area to the Sudan. There does not appear to have
been very much written about the Belgian phase of administration in the West
Nile. Ref: Stigand, C. H. Equatoria (1923) and Henry Le Commandant Henry
sur le haut Nil (Mouvement Geographique, 1900).
the Duke of the Abruzzi (Private mountaineer-Italian). 1906. To the summit
of Ruwenzori. In 1906, the Duke of the Abruzzi led a formidable team of climbers
to Mount Ruwenzori and climbed to its highest point. Ref: Filippi, F. de
Ruwenzori (1908). This climb and others on Ruwenzori are discussed in
Bere, R. M. Exploration of the Ruwenzori (Uganda Journal, Vol. 19, 1955).
Jack, E. M. (Surveyor-British). 1907 1908. Anglo-Congolese Border-Kigezi. In
1907-8 a commission under Major Bright was operating to survey the Uganda-
Congolese Boundary. The routes taken in connection with that survey through
Ankole and Kigezi have been mapped by Captain Jack, though Major Bright
has also contributed a more technical account of the operations. Ref: Jack, E. M.
On the Congo Frontier (1914); Bright, R. G. T. The Uganda-Congo Commission,
(Geographical Journal, 1908); and Bright, R. G. T. Survey and exploration in
the Ruwenzori and Lakes Region of Central Africa (Geographical Journal, 1909).
The lines on the map marked Jack probably indicate routes taken by the
commission as a whole.
Fishbourne, C. E. (Surveyor-British). 1907 December to 1908 February. Nimule
to Mbale. Fishbourne accompanied Churchill on his trip through Uganda and
returned from Nimule to his duties in connection with the survey of Lake
Kyoga by crossing Acholi, Lango, Karamoja and Teso to Mbale. In the early
part this route lay through the regions of Acholi in which the early explorers
and later Delm6-Radcliffe had worked. In the later part the route connected
at Mt. Nakwai and Manimani with areas worked by Kirkpatrick and the
Macdonald expedition. Between these two areas a wide stretch of unknown
land was crossed. Ref: Fishbourne, C. E. Lake Kioga (Ibrahim) Exploration
Survey, 1907-8 (Geographical Journal, Vol. 33, 1909).
Fishbourne, C. E. (Surveyor-British). 1908. Teso. Later in 1908 Fishbourne
continued the Lake Kyoga survey into the Lake Salisbury-Opeta area which
had been visited earlier by Purvis, but continued westwards towards Soroti
and beyond. Ref: as above.
Bary, M. de (Private traveller-French). 1908 March. Across Mount Elgon. In 1908
Maxime de Bary crossed Mount Elgon from Mbale eastwards to the Uasin
Gisu. Ref: Bary, M. de Grand Gibier et Terres Inconnues (1910) and Thomas
H. B. and Lindsell, R. F. S. Early ascents of Mount Elgon (Uganda Journal, Vol. 20,
1956). This latter work contains an account of a number of ascents of Elgon
of about this time.
Ivory Poachers 1908-1911. The West Nile. Between 1908 and 1911 with the break-
down of administration in the area numerous ivory poachers visited the Lado
Enclave, part of which now forms the West Nile District of Uganda. It is
virtually impossible to trace the route of any of these persons but much of
the country of the Alur, Lugbara and West Madi was visited by them. A good
account of this period is given in Boyes, J. The Company of Adventurers (1928).
A list of the persons visiting south Lado during the period 1908-1911
would include the following: Bailey, Banks, Bell, Bennet, Berti, Boyes, the
Brittlebanks brothers, Buccieri (killed by Lugbari near Mt. Wati 1908/9),
Buckley, Caink, Clarke, the Craven brothers, Dickens, Dickinson, Fleischer,
Foran, Forbes, Fox (a Sudan official), Gibbons, Glencross, Quentin Grogan,
Knowles, Langdon, MacQueen, Owen (a Sudan official), J. Pearson, P. Pearson,
Philips, Pickering, Rogers, Roosevelt, Russell-Bowker, Selland, Stigand (bot
as a hunter in 1908 and as an official in 1911), and Ulm. Many of these person s
produced their own accounts but none of them gives a map. Only Stigan I
Bell, W. D. M. (Private elephant hunter-British). 1909 c. In North Karamojm.
On his final trip to Karamoja, Bell hunted in the Didinga country of th
southern Sudan and passed through new parts of north Karamoja. Re:
Bell, W. D. M. Karamoja Safari (1949). This route is also plotted in Cleave, J.
Bell in Karamoja (Uganda Wildlife and Sport, Vol. 2, 1961).
Coote, J. M. (Administrator of the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1909 to 19101
Kigezi. Coote was in charge of an administrative unit which ventured beyond
the present bounds of Uganda into the Kivu area. In this process administration
was first brought to the present Kigezi District. Most of the work of this
Mission was in the region of the Kigezi volcanoes which had been visited by
Kandt and Grogan earlier. In passing to this region the mission went through
the borderland between Ankole and Kigezi and may have pioneered some
new paths in this area. Ref: Coote, J. M. The Kivu Mission, 1909-1910 (Ugand
Journal, Vol. 20, 1956).
Jack, E. M. (Surveyor-British). 1910. South Kigezi. Captain Jack later worked on
another part of the boundary of Uganda, that in the southwest between Kigezi
and Ruanda on the Second Anglo-German Boundary Commission. This com-
mission visited parts of the south of Kigezi which had seldom if ever been
visited before. Ref: Jack, E. M. On the Congo Frontier (1914), and
E. G. D. Lardner. Soldiering and Sport in Uganda (1912).
Haldane, J. O. (Administrator of the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1911 January.
Lango. Early in 1911 the Protectorate Government established a temporary
administrative post at Lira, for which Haldane came up from Palango (Ibuje).
Administration was then continued by Muganda agents and a military post at
Ngeta, though it was some months before a permanent post was established
here. Ref: Wright, M. J. The early life of Rwot Isaya Ogwangguji, M.B.E.
(Uganda Journal, Vol. 22, 1958).
Northern Garrison. (Military expedition-British). 1911 1914. Acholi and Karamoja.
The Northern Garrison was a military command patrolling the northern
frontier of Uganda with the Sudan. During the period of its operations new
territory was crossed in the vicinity of the border. The movements of these
patrols are mapped in Moyse-Bartlett, H. The King's African Rifles (1956).
For a number of the patrols the individual commander is named and these
have been used on the map. Where, however, no individual is specified the
new routes have been mapped with the label Nn. Garrison.
Johnston, R. H. (Soldier on a military expedition-British). 1911 November. Across
Lango from South to North. Lt. Johnston crossed Lango from Lake Kwania
to Ngeta (Lira), Eruti and the River Aswa. Ref: Moyse-Bartlett (see above).
Lilley, H. A. (Soldier on a military expedition-British). 1912 April. East Acholi.
Lt. Lilley conducted a patrol across the Lango-Acholi border from Lira to
Mount Parabong in north-east Acholi. Ref: Moyse-Bartlett (see above).
Webb-Bowen, W. I. (Soldier on a military expedition-British). 1912. In East Madi
and North Acholi. During 1912, Lt. Webb-Bowen was operating in areas of
northern Uganda previously toured by Emin, but occasionally he crossed new
parts of the country. Ref: Moyse-Bartlett (see above).
Dunne, M. (Catholic Missionary-British). 1913. Soroti to Lira. Mr. H. B. Thomas
writes to the effect that during 1912 the administrators in Lango began
EARLY TRAVELLERS IN UGANDA
operating towards Aloi and the administrators in Teso began operating as far
as Orungo so that, even if Dunne's journey from Soroti to Lira had not been
made before, the ground was not entirely unknown.
Leeke, R. H. (Soldier on a military expedition-British). 1913. In North-East Acholi
and North Karamoja. Captain Leeke of the Northern Garrison was stationed
at Madial, a post now just over the Sudan border, from whence he patrolled
the Mt. Rom area of north-east Acholi and from whence he made a longer
expedition across north Karamoja to the River Tarash. Ref: Leeke, R. H.
The Northern Territories of the Uganda Protectorate (Geographical Journal,
Vol. 49, 1917).
Kmunke, R. (Private traveller-Austrian). 1911 1912. Across North Uganda. Kmunke
led an Austrian party up Mount Elgon. The party then left Uganda by crossing
the north of the country from Mbale to Nimule. In making this crossing they
had assistance from the Northern Garrison, but must have crossed unknown
country in the Teso-Karamoja-Acholi border region. Considerable discussion
followed the journey concerning the claims that Kmunke made for it as a major
feat of exploration. Ref: Kmunke, R. Quer Durch Uganda (1913). There is
also a discussion of this journey in Thomas, H. B. and Lindsell, R. F. S.
Early Ascents of Mount Elgon (Uganda Journal, Vol. 20, 1956).
Stigand, C. H. (Official of the Government of the Sudan-British). 1911-1912.
Stigand working mainly at Kajo-Kaji just over the present border in the Sudan
made tours of the southern part of his province in 1911 and 1912. In the account
he gives of the West Nile country it is not easy to tell whether he is writing
of his visit to the area as an official or of his earlier unofficial visit to the area.
Nevertheless, it is clear that he visited much of the district in his official capacity,
including most of West Madi, Aringa, Mt. Wati and the future site of Arua.
From Arua, Stigand seems to have cut across to the Nile and south to Wadelai.
It is also clear that he visited the Alur in the south-west of the district. Ref:
Stigand, C. H. Equatoria (1923).
Postlethwaite, J. R. P. (Administrator of the Uganda Protectorate-British). 1913.
To Kitgum. Postlethwaite was the district administrator who opened the station
of Kitgum in north-east Acholi. In establishing this post he cut virtually straight
across country from Gulu. Ref: Postlethwaite, J. R. P. I Look Back (1947).
Dunne, M. (Catholic Missionary-British). 1913. Soroti to Lira. The last remaining
unknown area of Uganda, the borderland between Teso and Lango, was not
covered until as recently as 1913. In that year Father Dunne of the Mill Hill
Fathers went from Nagongera to Soroti to survey the country and prepare
for a further advance. Full of enthusiasm he pushed northwards towards Lira
and beyond, remaining so long in this unknown country that he was considered
lost ". Ref: Gale, H. P. Uganda and the Mill Hill Fathers (1959).
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-EXTRACTS III
Edited by SIR JOHN GRAY
[These extracts from Die Tagebiicher von Dr. Emin Pascha, edited Dr. Frana
Stuhlmann, vols. i, ii, iii, iv, and vi (Braunschweig: Watermann, 1916-27), have
been translated and provided with introductory notes and comments by Sir John
Gray. They are planned to appear in The Uganda Journal as a series covering
Emin's first visit to Buganda in 1876, his visit to Bunyoro in 1877 and his
second visit to Buganda in the same year, followed by such portions of his later
diaries as are relevant to Emin's contacts with the Uganda region during the
years spent as Governor of Equatoria until his withdrawal in 1889. The first
extracts appeared at page 1 and the second at page 149 of Uganda J., 25 (1961).
III EMIN'S VISIT TO BUGANDA IN 1877-78
THE reason for his second visit to Mutesa's court is set out in two of Emin's
letters. The first of these was written on 2 November 1877, and was addressed
to August Petermann shortly before he set out on his journey to Buganda. The
second was written on 18 March 1878, to Seyyid Barghash, Sultan of Zanzibar,
when he was on the point of returning from Buganda to the Sultan with his
mission unaccomplished. Gordon had instructed him to endeavour to make his
way through Buganda to Karagwe and thence to Ruanda and Lake Tanganyika
and thus to fill up certain gaps in Stanley's explorations during his first trans-
continental journey. It is safe to say that there was no guile behind these
instructions. Gordon realized only too well that he lacked both the manpower and
the administrative personnel to make the question of further annexation to the
south a matter of practical politics. Emin was the only person on Gordon's staff
who had any of the qualifications necessary for an explorer and it was for that
reason that he was entrusted with his mission.
The results of his journey to Buganda were best summed up by Emin in a
letter which he wrote at Lado on 8 June 1878, to August Petermann and which
reads as follows:
"After a somewhat tiresome journey I reached here several days ago from
Uganda. I have not been able to reach my particular goal, Karagwe and the
region between Mwutan Zige (Lake Albert) and (Lake) Tanganyika, because
of Mutesa's insuperable mistrust of Egypt and everything which comes from
there. All my endeavours to continue my journey came to nothing. What largely
led to this was the envy of certain Zanzibaris living there, who enjoy great
popularity with Mutesa. I therefore returned with a heavy heart, but I have
turned my sojourn there to good account and hope soon to give you further
information. So long as the position is that there can be no passage for travellers
from Egypt through Mutesa's land there is still another way, that is, through
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-III 73
Unyoro, the mountains of Gambalagalla (Ruwenzori), the district of Toro with
its proud white folk, Nkole, Mpororo, Utumbi and finally Ruanda suggest
themselves as goals for a journey." (Stuhlmann, Die Tagebiicher von Dr. Emin
Pascha, i, 503).
On reading Emin's account of his earlier visit to Kabarega and of his sub-
:equent visit to Mutesa, one can see that the journey was foredoomed to failure.
Whilst in Bunyoro, Emin had on 10 and 11 October 1877, received the informa-
"to bring no soldiers with him". As he explained in another letter of 18 December
1877, to Petermann, he was compelled to wait at Mruli for a whole month before
the guides and porters, whom he had requested Mutesa to send to him, at last
put in their appearance. (Stuhlmann, op. cit. i, 28).
Mutesa had in fact not yet got over the alarm, which had been caused by
the arrival of Nur Aga and his troops at Rubaga in 1876 and which had impelled
him to write to the Sultan of Zanzibar for assistance. (U.J. 15 (1951), 9). Many
obstacles were placed in the way of Emin's progress towards Mutesa's capital.
The presence of Christian missionaries at that place was deliberately concealed
from him. When he and C. T. Wilson of the C.M.S. finally met further obstacles
were placed in the way of their attempting to communicate with each other.
Whenever Emin tried to broach the question of being allowed to proceed to
Karagwe, the conversation was speedily diverted to other channels. When Emin
finally put the question in such circumstances that a direct answer could no
longer be evaded, the traders from Zanzibar, who did not want to see their
markets thrown open to competitors from the Sudan, supported Mutesa's refusal
to grant permission on the pretext that the journey would be a dangerous
Circumstances over which he had no control prevented Emin from attempting
to make his journey to the south through Bunyoro, but it is exceedingly doubtful
whether Kabarega would have proved any more accommodating than Mutesa.
When Emin had broached the same question to Kabarega, the latter had always
evaded giving a direct answer and placed obstacles in the way of Emin obtaining
information from traders, who had arrived in Bunyoro from Karagwe. The fact
of the matter of course was that neither he nor Mutesa wanted their respective
countries to become corridors for strangers.
Enforced idleness during his sojourn at Mutesa's court enabled Emin to
collect and record in his diary a number of ethnological and other scientific notes
of considerable value. It also enabled him to depict for us in his diary a portrait of
Mutesa. It is the portrait of a remarkable opportunist, who was ever ready to
make a complete volte face when some fresh circumstance appeared to him to
make such a course desirable. Thus his neighbour and rival Kabarega was
supported whenever it suited Mutesa's purpose to do so, only to be discarded
when a change of circumstances suggested that such support should be withdrawn
and accorded to some rival claimant to the throne of Bunyoro. It has to be
admitted that from time to time Mutesa had a lot of good cards in his hand
and that generally speaking some curious intuition taught him how to play them
Extracts from Emin's Diaries
(The following extract from a letter, dated at Mruli 2 November 1877, and
addressed by Emin to August Petermann of Gotha, explains the reason for Emin's
second visit to Buganda.
74 UGANDA JOURNAL
"Next Monday (sc. 5 Nov. 1877), if God wills, I travel from here to Bugandl
and Karagwe and will accordingly attempt to fulfil Gordon Pasha's desire for m
to go to Lake Akanyaru1 and the Mufumbiro Mountains and so to Ruanda."
November 6, 1877 ... Shortly before evening three of Mutesa's people came. Up
to the time of my visit they had been quartered on Ruyonga's island.
November 7 ... Today I wrote to Mutesa saying that, if the porters did not
arrive within eight days' time, I would go back to Lado.
November 8. ... Mutesa's Mutongole arrived.... When he heard that his people
had departed, he set out quickly to overtake them.
(Emin had to wait at Mruli for the best part of a month until he could obtain
the necessary guides and porters, whom he had requested Mutesa to send to him).
November 27. (A party of Baganda under the leadership of Kanagurba and
November 29. (Emin set out for Buganda. Owing to inundations it was necessary
to follow a different route from that taken by him in the previous year.) Not far
from here, to the right hand of the road is the spot where, three years ago, Linant
(de Bellefonds) was obliged to fight Kabarega's people for the passage over the
Khor Kafu3. The porters having been twice permitted to take a short rest,
the rapid march continued. The Baganda are splendid, indefatigable porters.
Following the sound of the drums which called to us, we arrived early at our
night's quarters, which consisted of several huts surrounded by plantations of sweet
potatoes, a solanum with edible red berries of the size of cherries, and some
bananas. The place is called Bututi and belongs to Kabarega.
November 30. (Reached Kyivambiri after a hard march of eight hours).
December 1.... After the usual delays the march was recommenced.... The
water stood everywhere knee deep upon the perfectly level plain which was thickly
grown with grass. A path eighteen inches to three feet wide led us through this chaos
of water and mud. Whenever it had been used by elephants, their visits were plainly
indicated by holes into which we sometimes fell. .. .We marched on through thick
and thin. When I told the leaders that we might perhaps halt for the day because
the porters must be tired out by wading through the mud, I was informed that
our quarters for the night were very near by. Nevertheless it turned out that they
were at least three hours distant At last the country began to rise slightly ...
and a large well-cared-for banana grove, in which there were many good huts,
became our halting place for the night. As usual, the entire population of the village
had fled, with bag and baggage, when we approached and had left us only the
December 2.... On our arrival at the Dubenge swamp, the waters of which flow
into the River Lugogo, we made a short halt in order to remove some of our
clothes preparatory to crossing the swamp. All really superfluous clothing, together
with the hundred and one small impedimenta which a traveller frequently requires
on the road-one's watch, compass, aneroid, etc.-were made up into a bundle
and carried on the head. Visible from here, 12 miles away, are the banana groves of
Kirimba. A mountain is also in sight at 318*. The water reached up to our necks
and was filled with the decomposing detritus of plants. Slowly the porters
marched forward, feeling every step of the way with their spears. Not a single
load was dropped in the swamp. The crossing lasted nearly an hour, when we again
reached solid ground. We then entered the district of Kahura, which is under the
government of the great chief Mureko. He is our guide and consequently has to
do the honours of the land. The village of Kiramba consists of a large number of
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-III 75
uts and is surrounded by fields of potatoes and lubia with violet flowers. There
is a small group of two or three houses, which are surrounded by lofty colacasias.
In the middle of them there is a miniature hut which is empty and is dedicated to
the higher powers.
December 8. (Entered the district of Bulemezi belonging to the chief Kangawo.)
The stores of beer in Mureko's hut were still not exhausted but he
has decided to make a start. A short march led to Khor Ergugu (River Lugogo),
an enormous swamp, the waters of which form the chief supply of Khor Kafu.
Neither any water current nor any channel were visible. Grass, mud and water
breast-high filled a gully which ran between two rows of hills running from S.E.
to N.W. It took us fifty minutes of laborious wading to cross. Kangawo's territory
of Bulemezi here abuts on Mureko's district. We passed through another swamp
and stopped for the night at a village called Kapeke.
Large baskets for the storing of corn and for the preparation of mwenge were
hanging in the house allotted to me. Gourds and smaller baskets were lying about.
An immense number of curiously shaped stones, small gourds, eggs, and half-
charred pieces of human skull were hanging before the door. It is believed that the
skulls increase the fertility of the soil, when scattered in pieces on the fields.
December 9.... In the middle of one of the swamps we heard the sound of a
drum, thus signifying the approach of a person of rank. Shortly afterwards Muton-
gole Nyakubwa, chief of all the herdsmen in Mureko's district passed us after a short
greeting. His people, with their spears and bows and arrows (which latter are very
seldom seen in Buganda), were carrying their chief's baggage on their heads.
The baggage was carefully wrapped up in skins and mats. After a long time we
passed the village of Irkabwe. Its inhabitants did not run away. Hitherto all
except Mureko's people had fled before us. At last we reached Guru, where we
halted for the night as rain was threatening. I enjoyed the luxury of a house this
night, but first of all I had to receive messengers from Mutesa. They brought me
his greetings. After resting for a short time they took their departure. According
to them the rain was pouring down in torrents every day at Mutesa's place, and
the whole countryside was flooded. I could readily believe this. It had only rained
three or four times that day, nevertheless we had been wading in water breast-high.
The seams of my boots are splitting open because constant wet has caused the
thread to rot.
December 10. (After wading through a number of swamps reached Kabaru).
December 11. (Reached Kirembwe). At noon I was engaged in collecting all
kinds of animal specimens when suddenly a spear struck the ground close by me.
At the same time reports of guns echoed through the bananas. When I returned,
being quite unarmed, to my house, a man was brought down quite close to the door
with a spear thrust through his right kidney. Shortly afterwards two other serious
wounds were inflicted by gunshots. All of us then retreated into our zeriba, which
within a few minutes we converted into a fortress. The doors were barricaded
with bananas trees which had been hurriedly torn up and huts for sentries were
erected in all the enclosures. Our people, who were still half drunk, stalked about
the place fully armed. By this time my two chiefs were completely intoxicated and
made a brave show with their guns. Patrols, which had been sent out in every
direction, soon returned, bringing with them about ten women and children, three
or four men and some goats.
December 12.... I had been informed that we must remain for two days in order
that we should not appear to have been robbers running away with their loot.
I remonstrated very strongly against this proposal and requested the chiefs to
76 UGANDA JOURNAL
release their prisoners and the goats, because then nobody could accuse us of
robbery. At first they refused to agree, but after the night had passed without
further disturbance, which was what I had expected, they at length agreed to my
protest. After we had handed over the wounded to some friendly chiefs living in the
neighbourhood, we continued our march, taking with us, however, our prisoners
to be delivered up to Mutesa. (Reached Kyikasa).
December 13 ... As usual, all my traps were packed up and placed before the
door of my hut. I myself sat under a tree, ready for the march. No porters, how-
ever, appeared. After I had waited for them for a whole hour, I sent for my guides.
They did not come, but sent me word that I could unpack my goods, as they
intended to remain here both today and tomorrow. At last my patience was
exhausted. I at once sent word to them that they had better take good care of
my goods, as I intended to start at once. I followed up my words with deeds.
Accompanied only by my few people and the porters who were carrying the
ammunition, I set out on my way with my compass in my hand.
Over very high mountains we ascended to Mount Sempa, the summit of which,
according to tradition, no human being can ever reach, because hyenas guard the
way and warn off all wanderers from the mountain.
(Left Mount Sempa to the right and entered Muwambya's4 district and even-
tually reached the principal village Degeya.)
The grass grew knee high and the extensive courtyards and houses were deserted.
Mutesa's messengers had fallen upon this district by night and had carried off
the people, their herds, stores and household goods in order to pander to the
covetousness of their master. Pieces of newly made mbugo (bark-cloth), which were
half-finished, and delicately woven grass-mats were still lying before some of the
houses. The women had been torn away from their work to swell the numbers of
slaves in the king's household.5
We marched on and reached the little district of Nasiriye, where people again
made their appearance and seemed to be in full enjoyment of their own possessions.
(Reached Kitakubwa where they decided to halt for the night.)
Our evening meal was arranged for quite satisfactorily. Meat roasted in ashes
and maize cobs prepared in the same way instead of bread are by no means to
be despised. Just as we were so engaged, three of Mureko's people suddenly
appeared. They had been sent after me to persuade me to wait. They gave me a
very comical description of how Mureko had inquired about me all along the way
and had been told everywhere that we had passed long ago ..... At last he asked
how on earth I had found my way alone.
My things having not yet arrived I had to sleep on green banana leaves.
December 14. In order to save time, I gave orders to continue the march,
notwithstanding the want of my things and that rain was threatening. We had
hardly passed the mud puddles just beyond the village and climbed the hill, when
the rain came down in torrents. We were forced to turn aside into the bush in
order to seek a small zeriba in the bush and wait there. The rain ceased after about
an hour and a half. We had scarcely proceeded two miles through two walls of
tall grass, when Kanagurba's people came running towards me and told me that
he had marched past me in the rain and was waiting for us in some banana groves
a little way ahead of us.
(Proceeded to the village of Kasirye.) Kanagurba had arrived before me. After
waiting some time, the porters arrived with my things. They were led by Mureko,
who came to pay me a visit. One must say this for the Baganda, they are full of
bounce and, one might say, so unconsciously impudent that, although one gets
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-III 77
angry with them a hundred times, one only laughs at them in the end.
We had hardly settled down, when there appeared one of Mutesa's messengers.
He was dressed in clean bark-cloth and had brought me an English letter, which
informed me that I might rest two days at each place on the way so as not to
overtire myself. I am now highly delighted that I marched both yesterday and
today. From here to Mutesa's is only four hours. Thus, yesterday's march has
gained me at least four days.
(The letter from Mutesa has been inserted in the diary. It reads as follows:-)
To Dr. Emmin Affendi
December 12th 1877.
I have resived your letter and that I have prepaar a place already an every
place you come stop two days each. I am true your well wisher.
From Mtesa king of uganda.
December 12 1877.
Carefully wrapped up in bark-cloth there hangs in my house the vertebral column
of a python. It is said that it is an infallible preventive of colic and convulsions to
bind a piece of it round the bodies of small children.
When I asked my guides today why Muwambya's land is totally depopulated,
they told me that there was in Buganda a powerful magic called Kampodi.6 If
this spreads over a land, it depopulates it far and wide. When I asked if the magic
affected goats, cows and household goods, both chiefs remained silent. It would
appear from this that Mutesa always wraps up his plundering expeditions in a
veil of mystery. Faith or superstition does indeed go hand in hand with cruelty.
December 15. (After a late start reached the village of Kiti.) A little further on
I found all my porters collected together in a banana grove near some houses. Each
had a large piece of sugar-cane in his hand. When I asked them to move on, I
was told that it was impossible, because the country ahead of us belonged to the
king's wives and nobody was allowed to pass the night there. Being interpreted,
this probably means that nobody is permitted to plunder there. We are in
consequence compelled to remain here.
December 16 .. The name of our halting place is Debatu (not to be identified
with Linant's Debatu). It is celebrated on account of the quantity and excellence of
its bananas. Unfortunately I could obtain nothing for my journal because all the
inhabitants had fled. Neither could I add to my collections on account of the
December 17.... Today I had the honour to receive another letter from the king,
brought by a young man named Amara, whom I had seen last year. He was
dressed in a dark blouse and pantaloons and was accompanied by about forty
soldiers, who were dressed in white cotton clothes and were armed with old
flint-locks. He brought me his royal master's greetings. After he had informed me
that he would come tomorrow half way to meet me, he then returned with my
salutations to Mutesa's capital.
December 18.... As usual, on account of a thunderstorm, we started late .. An
hour later we came upon the Mayanja, the largest watercourse which we had yet
seen. It had a broad white sandy bed and was filled with clear cold water. ....
Upon one of the next hills I ordered my people to halt in order to give them time
to don their uniforms. The march was then resumed. Shots rang out. Thousands of
gesticulating and yelling people surrounded us. My guides marched in a long
line which was headed by beating drums. When we arrived at a cross road at
Mount Lugoba, we came upon a deputation led by Amara, whom Mutesa had
78 UGANDA JOURNAL
sent to greet us and to form our escort. Once again guns began to fire.
We descended the mountain. We were being greeted every moment by
Mutesa's pages, who rushed hither with guns much larger than themselves.
They brought us his greetings and then immediately returned. We waded painfully
through a muddy plain. Then we made a short march uphill and fired a volley to
announce our arrival. The banner of Egypt waved over my hut in brilliant sunshine.
We had reached our goal.
(Emin's first audience with Mutesa had to be postponed because Mutesa was ill.)
December 19. (Emin received the following letter which is inserted in the diary)
"To Dr. Emmin Affendi. My dear friend thank be to God that you have
reach safely and I rite this letter. I am truely Mtesa King of Uganda. December
20th, 1877" (Today is the 19th)
.. .Most of my old Zanzibar acquaintances have gone-Hammedi, Said, the old
Sheikh Mohammed are all absent, the Katikiro dead, only the lesser folk such as
Messaud, Abdulla, etc. remain. Some are in Karagwe.
December 23.... We approached the gates of the royal residence, which is
situated on the crest of a hill. Here a halt was suddenly called. I was given to under-
stand that I must wait. I of course vehemently protested and told the people that
unless admission was immediately granted I should at once return home. Kanagurba
had the impertinence to laugh. I accordingly called my soldiers and turned back, but
I had not ridden twenty paces before they rushed after me exclaiming that the
king would see me at once. As they saw that I still hesitated, Kyambalango
appeared together with my old friend Idi (who had only arrived three days
previously and was unwell) and begged me to return with them, as the king had
specially sent them in hot haste.
I therefore followed them. We passed through the first gates. On either side
of these there were some small pieces of artillery of very minute calibre, which
were mounted on some rickety wooden carriages. They were made of bronze and
were very prettily worked, but they were mere toys. At each of the following
gates there was likewise a gun of the same kind. We passed through a lane of
soldiers between the first gate and the king's house. They presented arms. They
were all dressed and well-armed, but wore neither fezs nor footgear. Their clothing
was mostly white calico and red wool. All their firearms were percussion guns.
It would appear that most of the old flint-locks had been converted into percussion
guns. There must have been at least a thousand of these soldiers.
We passed through five very long courts. I alighted and approached the sanctum
sanctorum, which was a house of somewhat imposing dimensions. At the entrance
we were greeted by the most ear-splitting noise from innumerable instruments.
Before us we saw a room about twelve to fifteen yards long and five to six yards
wide, which was divided into three sections by two parallel rows of pillars con-
sisting of slender palm trunks. The central nave, which led to the throne was left
free. High officials and officers were seated on either side. They were all in gala
dress, which made a pretty sight-red and black with gold and silver. A soldier
was stationed against each of the pillars supporting the roof. They were dressed
in the gayest coloured uniforms imaginable and presented arms.
Mutesa apologised for not rising, because he had been suffering for days past
from colic and every movement was painful to him. My chair was then placed
close to the edge of the carpet-a piece of material resembling the pattern of a
Scotch plaid, over which leopard skins had been laid. I seated myself there. I
took advantage of the preceding pause to have a look at my surroundings. In the
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-III 79
first place there was Mutesa in red trousers, a kind of black coat which did not
fit him well, a red fez and red shoes. He had a sword with an ivory mounted
handle and scabbard and he was leaning on a stick which he held between his legs.
Round his neck there was suspended on a silver chain a perfectly plain bright
polished silver disc of the size of a Maria Theresa dollar. The corner of his white
skull cap peeped out from underneath his fez. Taken altogether his appearance
was n6glig6 and in no way so genteel or foppish as that exhibited by him last year.
There were wrinkles across his forehead and crows' feet at the corners of his eyes.
Even the corners of his mouth were relaxed and drooping. He sat in a kind of easy
chair, which stood upon leopard skins. Behind him was a partition or screen
which hid the back part of the house. Beside him knelt a boy dressed in red and
gold. The hereditary chiefs, the Katikiro, Kyambalango, Kamalabyonna, Sekibobo
and my old friend Idi had seated themselves in a row upon the carpet and numbers
of people were posted along the walls.
Having thus surveyed the scene, I explained that, as I had been well received
by Mutesa last year, His Excellency the Pasha had for this reason selected me to
bring presents which the Khedive had sent from Egypt to Mutesa. At the same
time, at the desire of His Excellency the Pasha, I was instructed to extend in
every manner the friendly relations which now subsisted and that Mutesa would
no doubt find it to be to his advantage to have closer relations with us. I further
said that I had other instructions, which I would explain at length at our next
meeting. I then presented my credentials in English and Arabic from His Excellency
The letters were at once opened. The English one was translated rather fluently
by Muftaa, who once had been Stanley's servant. That in Arabic presented more
difficulty, notwithstanding that Messaud, the secretary of the Pasha is a full blooded
Arab of Zanzibar. I then caused the presents to be produced. They were opened
and named one by one. They were displayed at a distance, as nothing can be
brought near to the king. These things caused a great sensation, more especially
amongst the Zanzibaris and half-breeds, some three or four of whom I knew.
They were then quickly removed into the interior of the house.
After some further time had been wasted in conversation, I rose to leave.
Mutesa appeared to be quite satisfied that I should do so. No sooner had I turned
my back than he disappeared into the interior of the house. I myself passed through
the courts, being conducted by Idi and Kyambalango. I was soon overtaken by the
Katikiro and Sekibobo, who came to shake me by the hand. The Katikiro is a
respectable and polite fellow. They were accompanied by a number of people,
some of whom are known and some unknown to me. Amongst the former was
the mutongole who had served me during my stay last year and who had not
received anything for his trouble. I therefore asked him to come to me tomorrow,
as his present was ready for him. Idi was soon recalled. I then continued on my
way, riding a mule. I arrived safely at my temporary abode at noon with another
headache. My audience had lasted from exactly 10 until 11 a.m. and I had left
home at 9 a.m.
I have sent word to Mutesa through Idi that, if he wishes to see me again, he
should give me a hut near him; otherwise I should not come again. I should
mention that Mutesa asked me whether in truth I had paid a visit to Kabarega
and whether I had taken many soldiers with me. It appeared to him to be
incredible that I had gone.
The Sultan has left his residence of the previous year and now lives in the
palace, in which Linant Bey looked for him (sc. at Rubaga).
80 UGANDA JOURNAL
December 26.. .. Mr. Dallington Muftah, Mutesa's English dragoman7 favouredj
me in company with the same ill-mannered folk who had come with him in the
previous year. He himself wore a sort of bayonet in a sheath of steel, long and
clean polished, as a weapon, and two boys with arms accompanied him. After the
customary greeting in gibberish of English, I gave him the books which had
come from England and the accompanying letter as an acknowledgment and then
had the pleasure of being cross-examined by him for two whole hours.
(Idi8 told Emin that people from Ankole and Mpororo often went to Mwenge9.
"In reply to my question whether there was any traffic with the Masai on the east
side of the lake, or whether people came from there to here, there was a decided
December 27 .. Today I had one of the greatest surprises of my life. Mutesa
had sent at an early hour to summon me to come to his presence. I prepared to
comply with his desire. Near his residence I was again received by an enormous
crowd of people and a full orchestra of horns, trumpets, pipes, etc. I was conducted
by them to the inner court where I had to wait for a moment until the door was
opened. I then proceeded through a lane of soldiers who presented arms. I then
entered the reception room, which I have already described. This was again filled
by a crowd dressed in red, black and white garments. My chair was placed in its
former position and after making the requisite salutations I took my seat and
awaited events. I sat like this for about a quarter of an hour and had exchanged
a few conventional remarks with Mutesa, when suddenly somebody behind me
asked "Speak you English, Sir?" Like lightning I turned round on my chair and
saw at my side a light bearded European, who was bronzed by the sun but yet was
pale. We bowed to each other and a conversation was soon in full swing. Then
Mutesa inquired through the interpreter in Arabic and English whether we had
known each other for a long time. Then there followed a number of questions.
To whom were the Sultan of Zanzibar and the Khedive of Egypt subject?
Would the Queen of England receive his ambassadors kindly? Were there any
other powerful kings in Africa besides the Khedive? Could he send ambassadors
to him and would I take them there? I told him that I thought this was his duty,
seeing that the Khedive had sent him envoys and presents every year, whereas he
had never sent anybody, which was exceedingly discourteous. He said he had
sent Tandi, who, however, had returned from Mruli without having accomplished
his task. I admitted that this was so, but I asked him whether he thought that an
inferior officer such as Ntanda was suited to be an envoy, seeing that Effendina
(the Khedive) sent colonels to him. For a moment he was silent. Then he asked
me how many days it would take to go from here to Khartoum and from Khartoum
to Cairo, and how long it would take to go to Zanzibar.
He then asked to know whether I had anything else to communicate to him. I
replied in the affirmative and told him that I would willingly come every day, but
was prevented from doing so owing to the enormous distance between my house
and his residence. He promised to find me a more suitable house and thus give me
the opportunity of meeting him more frequently.
Today Idi and Messaud acted as dragomen. Mutesa wore a black coat, very
wide white trousers, with a red stripe round the bottom, and a fez over a white
skull cap. By way of ornament he had the plain silver disc already mentioned and
a white Ganda walking stick.
A great deal of drumming and shouting or orders indicated that our audience
was at an end. Mutesa rose and disappeared into the interior of the house. We
likewise rose and left.
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-III 81
I had intended to conduct my acquaintance Mr. Wilson10 to my house. While
we were on the way, conversing as well as my faulty English permitted, Mutesa
sent two messengers in succession in order to tell us that he wished each of us to
go to his own house and not to remain together. I for. my part should not have
taken the least notice of this ridiculous command, but would have gone on our
way uninterruptedly, but I saw that Wilson was impressed thereby and at once
Held out his hand to take his leave. I accordingly went on my way, having previously
placed myself at his disposal with all that I possessed. I also promised to send his
letters by my messengers from here by way of Mruli to Khartoum and Egypt.
He told me that he had come across the lake without touching Karagwe and was
awaiting a companion named Smith to arrive in two or three days' time. Then there
will be three of us.
I was with Mutesa for an hour from 10 to 11 a.m. When I arrived home another
surprise awaited me. During my visit to the king my old factotum Kiza, who for
the last two years has accompanied me in all my wanderings, had arrived from
Mruli. He also had encountered serious delays on his journey and had hastened on
in advance of his companion, a Mutongole of Ruyonga who has been sent to me
from Mruli-I do not know why. The Mutongole has my mail and will arrive
Late in the evening Kanagurba came half drunk. He told me Mutesa had
ordered him to bring me some bananas and he deposited five bunches in front
of me. I certainly do not know what to do with them.
(Wilson's own account of his meeting with Emin is given below. It will be seen
that it supplements, and in no way contradicts that of Emin.
"Matters were going on much as before, when one morning as I was walking
up to the palace, I was overtaken by a negro trader named Sungura, or the
Rabbit, who lived in Buganda, and he told me that a white man had arrived in
Buganda from the north, that his name was Abdul Amini, and that he was sent
by the Colonel to see Mutesa. Of course I was anxious to see this Mzungu, but
he was ill for some time after he got to the capital, and Mutesa, who did
not wish me to see him, put all possible obstacles in my way. At last, however,
on December 27th I met him at Mutesa's court and he proved to be Dr. Emin
Effendi (now Bey), who had been sent by Colonel Gordon on a diplomatic
errand to Mutesa. Dr. Emin seemed much surprised to see me and asked if I
had just arrived in Buganda, and was immensely astonished when I told him
that I had been there six months. He had known of our mission and expected to
have heard of our arrival, and on entering Buganda had repeatedly inquired if
there was any news of us, but was always told that there was none; and when
he asked Mutesa himself, he received the same answer that nothing had been
heard of us. The Doctor, who spoke good English, gave me all the latest
European news, which was some nine months more recent than any I had, and
kindly offered to do anything that he could. On leaving the palace we walked
together down the hill, followed by a large crowd, and on reaching the turning
down to my house, I invited Dr. Emin to return home with me, and we both
proceeded towards it, but had not got far when three or four chiefs came rushing
after us, and insisted on the Doctor returning to his own quarters.
"The next day I went up to the palace again, hoping either to see Dr. Emin
or to get permission to visit him, but without success." (Uganda and the
Egyptian Soudan i, 112-3) Dallington Muftah, the scripture reader left behind
by Stanley, had not disclosed the fact of Wilson's presence in Buganda.)
82 UGANDA JOURNAL
December 28.... Early this morning Muftah came ... He told me that the
Reverend Wilson had been here for the past six months, and when I asked him
how he occupied himself and what he was beginning to do, he answered (in
English), "Nothing; sometimes he makes his prayers with the king."
(As readers of Uganda and the Egyptian Soudan will realise, after Lieutenant
Shergold Smith's departure for the southern end of Lake Victoria, Wilson went
through very difficult times owing to the unfriendly attitude adopted by Mutesa.)
December 31 At 10 o'clock in the morning I received a surprise visit from
the Rev. Wilson. He came to bring me his mail and told me that his two
companions, Mr. Smith and O'Neill, on their way here with several people from
Zanzibar, servants and traders, had been killed in Ukerewe. He wished as soon as
possible to go from here by the lake in a boat to Ukerewe to see justice was done
and to go to his companions in Usukuma. Mr. Wilson was full of fever.
(Wilson had received the news of the murder of Smith and O'Neill on
30 December. That same evening he obtained Mutesa's permission to go to
Ukerewe to inquire into the tragedy. Next morning he again went to Mutesa and
asked permission to see Emin. His account of what followed is best told in his
"After some hesitation he (Mutesa) consented, but said I must go at once
and selected several men to go with me. I suspected that Mutesa's objection to
my visiting Dr. Emin was the fear that I should send letters through him to
Colonel Gordon, and this I found afterwards was the case, and the reason of
hurrying me off in this way was to prevent me returning home to get any letters
which I might have written. However, I was prepared for this, and having
written my letters the previous evening, had brought them with me. I found
Dr. Emin living in a nice hut on the road to Nabulagalla, Mutesa's other capital,
and about two miles from Rubaga. He welcomed me very warmly, and I spent
the greater part of the day with him, exchanging notes with him and receiving
much valuable information. On leaving, Dr. Emin gave me a number of
medicines of which I was in great need, for the small stock which I had brought
with me from Kageyi had long been exhausted under the frequent demands made
upon it by the natives; he also gave me a quantity of tea, soup, spices and other
good things, and, last but not least, a bundle of English newspapers. I in
return gave him some objects of natural history, and a copy of my meteorological
observations during the period of six months I had been in Buganda. I also
entrusted a packet of letters to the Doctor, choosing a moment when all Mutesa's
men had left the hut to slip them into a box. I had made it a rule always to have
two or three letters begun, so that should an opportunity of sending a mail
occur, I might have something ready to send at a moment's notice.")
Wilson left Rubaga on 2 January and sailed from Entebbe two days later
(Wilson and Felkin, Uganda and the Egyptian Soudan i, 114-7).
New Year at the Equator! 1878.... In order that the year may commence well,
the Katikiro sent me his confidential servant at an early hour. He brought me two
goats, two new spears (not of Ganda make), a straw shield, two earthen vessels,
which are intended for use as wash-hand basins, a pair of very pretty sandals made
of buffalo hide and trimmed with fur, a piece of finely marked bark-cloth and two
curved Ganda knives, all being a present from his master.
I naturally sent some small presents in return. The messenger left soon after-
wards. He was accompanied by Missioba, who had come to wish me good morning.
Mureko and Kanagurba were also here for a while. The last named has now
THE DIARIES OF EMIN PASHA-III 83
got a house allotted to him for his residence. It is the house which I first occupied
and is a good half-hour journey from here.
Shortly after they had left me Muftah Dallington came and brought the
somewhat scanty meteorological observations, which the Reverend Mr. Wilson
promised to send me yesterday. They are for the period August to December 1878,
and he has given me written permission to publish them and has also sent me a
few very kind lines. He sent me also a few seeds, a few land shells, and a pipe
from Usukuma as well as a copy of the Gospel of Saint John in the Kiswahili
language. He is leaving here early tomorrow morning.
According to Muftah's statement, the party killed in Ukerewe consisted of two
men, Mr. O'Neill and Lieutenant Smith, together with some twenty artisans
from Zanzibar. God grant that the whole story may prove to be untrue, but
unfortunately there is little hope of this. If Wilson is still here tomorrow, I shall
demand Mutesa's permission to visit. I expect I shall also manage to take a trip
to the lake during the next few days.
Dallington promised to do his best for my collection. He told me that Mutesa's
menagerie consisted of three lions, four leopards and six elephants. I will not
venture at present to decide how much this may be exaggerated.
Lieutenant Smith was here before the Reverend Mr. Wilson11 but left again
in order to bring here the whole of the party intended for Buganda. Now he is said
to have been murdered.
January 3. Miftah came early with several small gourds as a present for me,
but also asked for writing paper. Tanda12 has been deputed to go as ambassador
to England by way of Zanzibar and Miftah is writing to Dr. Kirk13 and Consul
Webb14 at Zanzibar to receive him. Mr. Wilson is supposed to have left yesterday
with the return caravan of four persons (natives of Zanzibar). .. .Mutesa himself
appears to be quite invisible.
He has, as Mr. Wilson told me, an unending fear of Egypt and its desire for
annexation, hence, clearly, his mistrust of me.
January 5 .... Tanda, whom I had not yet seen, came to see me; he is being sent
as an ambassador to England and says he is going with a large company to
Zanzibar, but will go thence by himself. His preparations are finished and he will
set out in the next few days. He is also commissioned to make an alliance with
Seyyid Barghash of Zanzibar. All this is the result of last year's fiasco due to
Nur Aga and Mohammed Effendi Ibrahim.
(In a letter to August Petermann of this date Emin writes that,
"If I can overcome Mutesa's suspicions, I am thinking of going to the south-
west. If I am denied this, I shall return and, with Gordon Pasha's consent, try
to go from our western stations to the south of Mwutan-Nzige" (sc. Lake
January 7. ... Sungura is much travelled and knows the land from Zanzibar to
Lake Tanganyika (he was with Burton at Kirira) and from Zanzibar to here quite
well and I hope to get some information from him.
January 10. (Emin gives an account of the Bachwezi which has been printed
in Emin Pasha in Central Africa, 92.)
January 11 .... Idi came in great style and stayed about an hour, for the purpose,
as it appeared, of listening to me. As this was what I wanted, I laid my plans
before him, my desire to go to the Kagera River and Mufumbiro Mountains and
the south of Mwutan-Nzige. He listened carefully and replied that he was convinced
that Mutesa would give me the desired permission provided I left my things and
84 UGANDA JOURNAL
most of my men here and went with only a few things and people, but he thought
I should not come back here, but must go off in some other direction. Now one
can see what sort of prison Buganda is. He was on the point of going, when Muftah
came ... he gave me a list of Kings of Uganda which he had compiled on Mutesa's
information.15 Mutesa has informed Kabarega that he will not assist him to fight
January 12.... The Arab merchants demanded ten dollars for a parrot. This
morning I sent to the Katikiro to ask for some bananas. My people have nothing
to eat except meat, and the bananas brought for sale are not sufficient. We muster
twenty-one persons, including the Magungo porters. The people are all afraid to
offer us anything for sale. Mutesa sends absolutely nothing. Without his orders
nobody may do anything. I am not able to speak to him. Everybody whom I ask
to deliver a message to him promises to do so, but fails to carry the promise out.
An enviable situation.
Women are numerous here. So little value is attached to them that yesterday to
my astonishment I found some women with the porters whom I had brought from
Mruli. When I asked whose property they were, I was told "They have come to live
with us, and they will also return with us to Mruli." If a man of this place desires
to marry, there is no need to buy the woman as in Bunyoro. The father is asked
for his daughter or daughters-for there is no objection to marrying two sisters at
the same time-and he gives them away without any compensation. It in fact
frequently happens that girls simply walk into some house and install themselves
there as wives of the master of the house. Such relations are not considered
improper. They are recognized on either side, that is to say by both the father
and the husband, as being fully binding. In connection with this subject, the case
of the sisters; and also presumably of the daughters, of Mutesa or of any other
chief is particularly glaring. They are not permitted to marry according to the
law, although some exceptions do occur, but they pursue their private pleasures
with the greatest possible sans gene.
(Idi is to lead an expedition into Kabarega's territory.)
January 16.... Ntanda, who was commissioned as ambassador to go to England
has gone off as chief of a plundering expedition to Kitara and Toro. On his return
he will probably accompany me to Khartoum.
January 18. (Emin had an audience with Mutesa. In the middle thereof Mutesa
Mutesa then came back-everybody rose when he rose. He called me to him and
laid a small packet in cowhide before me so that I might open it. My astonishment
can be imagined-Grant and Speke's water colours-an elephant dragging a
cannon-an interior, two civilians and an officer drinking red wine, a bow belonging
to the English, a copy of the Kaffir Laws in the cover of which a Buceros (horn-
bill) was painted-Baker and wife at the Albert Nyanza, Speke presenting
Rumanika with three rhinoceros heads-portraits of Speke and Grant; photographs
of Ismail Pasha, Colonel Gordon, and Abu Saud.17 Mutesa was surprised when I
told him the name of the giver of each picture and at once directed me to send
Colonel Grant his best wishes. A small New Testament, which bore the name
E. Pocock was then shown to me.18
(In the course of the ensuing conversation Mutesa informed Emin that he had
become a Christian.)
January 19. ... I was asked (by Mutesa) if our soldiers at Mruli and the other
stations would stay there or be withdrawn. To my answer that we had conquered
the land, sword in hand and that it was now ours and that as Kabarega, who was