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18th May, 1788 was born researcher Hugh Clapperton

Hugh ClappertonOn the 18th of May, 1788 was born Hugh Clapperton, traveler, explorer of Central Africa.

Hugh Clapperton grew up in a family with 20 brothers and sisters. In his youth he was hired a cabin boy on a merchant ship. Later he became a pirate. In 1808 he came to serve in the British navy, and after some time was promoted to a captain.

In 1820 fate brought Clapperton with naturalist Audni Walter, who was appointed a consul in Bornu, although no one Englishman had ever been in this state. Ancient maps of Africa show that the medieval empire of Bornu was located at the junction of such modern countries as Chad, Niger and Nigeria.

In 1822 Clapperton with Audni went traveling. Having started from the port of Tripoli, they managed to cross the entire Sahara. Later they were joined by another member of the expedition - Officer Dixon Denham. In February 1823 they reached Lake Chad. In total, the expedition to the African sands covered the distance of 2000 km, and then went to the capital of Bornu - Kukava. The British were the first in the history of Europeans who visited this city.

Then travelers moved by different routes. Denham explored the southern coast of Chad, discovered and mapped the river Shari, which flowed into the lake. He also visited Bagirmi.

Clapperton and Audni proceeded to the city of Kano (northern Nigeria today), which was somewhat west of Chad. Travellers moved by ancient caravan trails and visited many city-states that were involved in the trans-Saharan trade and were important transit points. The heyday of these cities was in the period XV- XIX centuries. Therefore, researchers can trace the route on an ancient map of Africa: Old Tags - Vera - Dogamu - Bekidarfi - Katagum.

In January 1824 Audni died of consumption. After the funeral Clapperton went along the following route: Kano - Digu - Katungye - Zangeya - Girkua - Corba - Sokoto. In May, he turned back, and in July was in Kukava, where he met with Myra Denham. Together they crossed the Sahara and backed to England.

Clapperton, Audni and Denham were the first Europeans who managed to cross the great Sahara desert and discover Chad, thereby confirming the existence of a huge lake in the south of the desert. Clapperton made the right conclusion that the Niger River flows into the Gulf of Guinea.

On his return to England, Clapperton made an offer to government to organize another expedition to Africa and this time to reach Kukava of the Gulf of Guinea. Geographic map of the route was the following: up from the mouth of the Niger to Timbuktu. Traveler believed that it will prove that Nile flows into Gulf of Guinea.

In the expedition under the command of Captain Clapperton took part Pierce, Doctor Morrison, servant Lender. In November 1825 they landed at the Gulf of Guinea, reached the river Benin, landed in Badagry, came up the river Lagos, passed the river Gutsy and deepened further in inland.

Because of the high humidity and unbearable heat, all travelers were sick with fever. The disease has claimed the lives of Morrison and Pierce. If we trace the onward journey to the map, it was held in such cities as Chow, Katungye, across the river Moussa Kiam, Busse Uaua, Zegzeg, Zaria, Kano, Sokoto. In March 1827 Clapperton got seriously ill with dysentery, quickly weakened and died.

Discoveries made by Clapperton in Central Africa, were highly appreciated by scientists. According to experts, he was able to make so many discoveries that nobody could do before him in this region.

This Day in History 18-05-2014