Sudan History of Exploration

Sudan History of Exploration

The knowledge of Sudan dates back to relatively modern times and except for what was learned from the Arabs at the end of the Middle Ages, its recognition by Europeans begins with the century. XIX. It must also be assumed that the ancient Egyptians had penetrated the region, as the drawings of animals and products that appear in Egyptian monuments attest. Vague information is given by the writers of classical antiquity. The Romans, who conquered and colonized all of North Africa and pushed their businesses to the heart of the Sahara, do not seem to have penetrated the Sahara before Julius Maternus went there at an unspecified date, but which seems to date back to the 10th century. I d. C. Going to Garama, the capital of the Garamantes, he was induced by that king to join him in an expedition against the Ethiopians. The shipment, following an unidentified itinerary, it proceeded south for four months, reaching Agisymba, a meeting place for rhinos, which is believed to have been in Bornu. However, it does not seem that this expedition, which would have opened the way to Sudan for the Romans, had any useful consequences. The exploits of Gaius Suetonius Paulinus who, operating in Mauritania, would have gone as far as the Sudan, as reported by Pliny, also contributed very little for the knowledge of Sudan. More certain is the information that the author himself has about the enterprise of the centurions sent by Nero to recognize the sources of the Nile, who were allowed to penetrate eastern Sudan up to 100 lat. N. Overall, therefore, there was little and vague information about this part of Africa before the Middle Ages, when the Arabs began to follow it and to tell us about it in their reports. Of these, particularly noteworthy is that dated in the XII century by el-Bekri, and by Edrisi and more especially then by Ibn Batuta, who in 1352 from Fez reached Timbuktu. But the most notable and most easily disseminated source among Westerners was the Description of Africa and the noteworthy things found in it by African Lion published by Ramusio in the 1st volume Delle navigationi et viaggi and in which an entire chapter is dedicated to the country of the Negroes, which he knew from having been on the sultan’s mission of Morocco to Timbuktu and Bornu. The work of African Lion remained until the end of the century. XVIII the source from which the geographers who dealt with this part of Africa, which remained outside the field of any direct research, drew their information. The same can be said for the work of cartographers, with whom geography continued to exert considerable influence of Ptolemy. The systematic exploration of Sudan began at the end of the century. XVIII with the journey of Mungo Park (1795-97), who, having reached Niger going up Senegal, recognized part of the course and a few years later, having resumed the attempt in which he had to miserably perish, managed to follow it for 2000 km. Development. In the interval between these two expeditions by the daring and unfortunate Scottish traveler, the journey of F. Hornemann took place, who reached Bornu by the Fezzan route and went west and reached Nupe on the Niger where he too found his death.. But this memorable journey through western Sudan yielded little to a deeper understanding of the region. The Dixon Denham, W. Oudney and H. Clapperton expedition brought a very notable contribution. that in 1822-24 from Tripoli reached Kuka in Bornu she discovered Lake Chad and went as far as Sokoto, clarifying many points of Sudanese hydrography and shedding new light on the physical and anthropological conditions of the vast region crossed. The vast program conceived by Clapperton was completed a year later with the new journey he embarked on with others, which from the coast of Guinea brought him back to Sokoto, where he succumbed to illness. A little later than this enterprise is that of the French René Caillé, who from the coast of Guinea through the Futa Gialon reached Niger and reached Timbuktu, giving us, first among Europeans, a broad description of it. With these enterprises the knowledge of western and central Sudan thus gradually extends and will then find a wider contribution in the memorable enterprise of which H. Barth (v.) Was the only survivor and the shrewd narrator (1849-55). The masterly report that he dictated still represents today the broadest illustration that is available for that part of Sudan where the itineraries of the great expedition took place for four years. While the knowledge of western and central Sudan thus progressed, the exploratory activity of Europeans also turned to the eastern one, sharpened by the desire to solve the age-old problem of the origin of the Nile, to extend Egyptian domination, to engage in Christian proselytism in countries where Islamic propaganda had not yet established itself, to expand the field of ivory trafficking and, unfortunately, also of slaves. The Egyptian conquest of Sudan can be said to have begun after 1820 and, affirmed in 1839 with the foundation of Khartoum, it took place in 1872 with the subjugation of the Unioro and extended with that of Darfur. The conquest is accompanied by the recognition of the course of the Nile and its main tributaries in which the names of Sudan Baker, CG Gordon, Romolo Gessi, Giacomo Messadaglia occupy prominent places. To these must be added those of the precursors such as Giovanni Miani and Carlo Piaggia, of missionaries such as Giovanni Beltrame, of merchants such as Andrea De Bono. Up to the Mahdist uprising, eastern Sudan thus became a field of research and studies which greatly advanced knowledge of it (see below: Anglo-Egyptian Sudan). Returning to central Sudan, remarkable results for his illustration yielded the beautiful crossings of G. Nachtigall, G. Rohlfs and others before,

Sudan History of Exploration