First Footsteps in East Africa or, An Exploration of Harar [Illustrated] (1856)

First Footsteps in East Africa or, An Exploration of Harar [Illustrated] (1856) Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS 19 March 1821 20 October 1890 Was A British Explorer, Geographer, Translator, Writer, Soldier, Orientalist, Cartographer, Ethnologist, Spy, Linguist, Poet, Fencer, And Diplomat He Was Known For His Travels And Explorations In Asia, Africa And The Americas, As Well As His Extraordinary Knowledge Of Languages And Cultures According To One Count, He Spoke 29 European, Asian And African Languages Burton Was A Captain In The Army Of The East India Company, Serving In India And Later, Briefly, In The Crimean War Following This, He Was Engaged By The Royal Geographical Society To Explore The East Coast Of Africa And Led An Expedition Guided By The Locals And Was The First European To See Lake Tanganyika In March 1854, He Transferred To The Political Department Of The East India Company And Went To Aden On The Arabian Peninsula In Order To Prepare For A New Expedition, Supported By The Royal Geographical Society, To Explore The Interior Of The Somali Country And Beyond, Where Burton Hoped To Discover The Large Lakes He Had Heard About From Arab Travelers It Was In Aden In September Of This Year That He First Met Captain Then Lieutenant John Hanning Speke, Who Would Accompany Him On His Most Famous Exploration Burton Undertook The First Part Of The Trip Alone He Made An Expedition To Harar In Present Day Ethiopia , Which No European Had Entered Indeed There Was A Prophecy That The City Would Decline If A Christian Was Admitted Inside This Leg Of The Expedition Lasted Three Months Although Much Of The Time Was Spent In The Port Of Zeila, Where Burton, Once Again In Disguise, Awaited Word That The Road To Harar Was Safe Burton Not Only Travelled To Harar But Also Was Introduced To The Emir And Stayed In The City For Ten Days, Officially A Guest Of The Emir But In Reality His Prisoner The Journey Back Was Plagued By Lack Of Supplies, And Burton Wrote That He Would Have Died Of Thirst Had He Not Seen Desert Birds And Realized They Would Be Near Water Lieutenant Burton S Book, First Footsteps In East Africa, Is But The First Instalment Of What Is Intended To Be A Journey Through Central Africa, And A Discovery, If Possible, Of The Sources Of The White Nile And The Mountains Of The Moon It Treats Of The Berber Race In The Somauli Country, That Peninsula Of Africa Which Lies Just South Of The Straits Of Bab El Mandeb Mr Burton Is Not In Any Sense A Missionary, But A Daring, Perhaps We May Add A Rather Unscrupulous Adventurer, Determined To Push His Way By Perseverance And Pluck His First Footsteps Were Not Very Prosperous He Was Driven Out From The Country, With The Loss Of Some Of His Men And All His Goods But He Stayed Long Enough To Learn A Few Dialects, To See The Country, And To Get Materials For An Entertaining Book He Was The First Frank Traveller Who Ever Reached The Capital Of Eastern Africa And Though His Sojourn There Was Limited To Ten Days, And Was A Sort Of Imprisonment, He Made Excellent Use Of His Eyes And Ears In That Time Mr Burton, Like Mr Bayard Taylor, Is One Of Those Travellers Whose Apparent Mishaps Always Turn Out To Be Strokes Of Good Luck And If He Is Not Able To Find The First Rills Of That River, The Divine Riddle Of Which Has Never Yet Been Read, The Long Attempt May Be Given Up As Hopeless Chapter 1 Departure From Aden 2 Life In Zayla 3 Excursions Near Zayla 4 The Somal, Their Origin And Peculiarities 5 From Zayla To The Hills 6 From The Zayla Hills To The Marar Prairie 7 From The Marar Prairie To Harar 8 Ten Days At Harar 9 A Ride To Berberah 10 Berberah And Its Environs. An interesting journey whose telling is burdened with a hefty cargo of the easy confidence of unchallenged racism and imperialism. Chock full of ethnographical information about the Muslims of Somalia, Richard Burton s First Footsteps in Africa is a great look at a white man s first forays into that area of the continent As an adventure novel, the book is kind of dry Burton essentially travels to an area, is held there by its leaders and observes the people before he is finally all
A detailed if not at times dry pardon the pun description of the author s travels into the interior of what was then unknown country His understated observations and sober reflections provide an occasionally thrilling if not foolhardy insight into the mind of a dedicated explorer in the colonial age That he succeeded is a testament to his knowledge of Arabic, his patience and a familiarity with the temperaments and moral attitudes
Victorian era nonfiction by the first European to return from Harar, a city in modern day Etheopia A slow read due to the language of the time, but still quite interesting His reaction to the natives, varying from reverent to derisive, is telling. Somalia and Harrar Great book Took my about 6 months to finish, Glad I did though. An account of the author s travels in Eastern Africa A slow read. DNF very slow, the footnotes drove me nuts But some interesting observations, and many would no longer be true today.