The Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa (commonly known as the African Association), founded in London on June 9, 1788, was a British club dedicated to the exploration of West Africa, with the mission of discovering the origin and course of the Niger River and the location of Timbuktu, the "lost city" of gold. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. Events 53 - Roman Emperor Nero marries Claudia Octavia 62 - Claudia Octavia commits Year 1788 ( MDCCLXXXVIII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located West Africa or Western Africa is the Westernmost Region of the African Continent. The Niger River (ˈnaɪdʒɚ NYE-jer) is the principal River of western Africa, extending about 4180 km (2600 miles Timbuktu ( Timbuctoo; Koyra Chiini: Tumbutu; French: Tombouctou) is a city in Tombouctou Region, in the West African The formation of this group was effectively the "beginning of the age of African exploration". European exploration of Africa began with Ancient Greeks and Romans, that explored and settled in North Africa 
Organized by a dozen titled members of London’s upper-class establishment and led by Sir Joseph Banks, the African Association felt that it was the great failing of the Age of Enlightenment that, in a time when men could sail around the world, the geography of the Dark Continent remained almost entirely uncharted. Sir Joseph Banks 1st Baronet, GCB, PRS (13 February 1743 &ndash 19 June 1820 was an English naturalist, botanist and patron of The Age of Enlightenment or The Enlightenment is a term used to describe a phase in Western philosophy and cultural life centered upon the eighteenth century Geography (from Greek γεωγραφία - geografia) is the study of the Earth and its lands features inhabitants and phenomena The Ancient Greeks and Romans knew more about the interior of Africa than did the English of the 18th century. The term ancient Greece refers to the period of Greek history lasting from the Greek Dark Ages ca This is a list of topics related to ancient Rome that aims to include aspects of both the ancient Roman Republic and Roman Empire. The 18th century lasted from 1701 to 1800 in the Gregorian calendar, in accordance with the Anno Domini / Common Era numbering system 
Motivated by sincere desires for scientific knowledge and the abolition of the slave trade, yet not averse to gaining opportunities for British commerce, the wealthy members each pledged to contribute five guineas (US $1,350) per year to recruiting and funding expeditions from England to Africa. Abolitionism was a political movement of the 18th and 19th century which sought to make Slavery illegal particularly in the United States and British West Indies The history of slavery uncovers many different forms of human exploitation across many cultures throughout history Commerce is a division of trade or production which deals with the exchange of goods and services from producer to final consumer The guinea coin of 1663 was the first English machine-struck Gold coin. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland 
The kingdom of Mali, from the 13th to 15th centuries, dominated the region which stretched from the West African coast between the Gambia and Senegal rivers almost to Sokoto in the east, and from 150 miles north of Timbuktu to the headwaters of the Niger. Mali, officially the Republic of Mali (République du Mali is a Landlocked nation in Western Africa. West Africa or Western Africa is the Westernmost Region of the African Continent. The Gambia River is a major River in Africa, running 1130 km (700 miles from the Fouta Djallon plateau in north Guinea westward to the The Sénégal River is a 1790 km long River in West Africa, that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania. Sokoto is a city located in the extreme northwest of Nigeria, near to where the Sokoto River and Rima River meet  From Timbuktu flowed exports of gold and slaves in such quantities that the city took on the reputation in the outside world of possessing endless wealth. As a social-economic system slavery is a legal institution under which a Person (called "a slave" is compelled to work for another To Europeans fascinated by the discovery of new worlds, Timbuktu was too great a temptation to resist. The culture of Europe might better be described as a series of overlapping cultures
The Scotsman James Bruce had ventured to Ethiopia in 1769 and discovered the source of the Blue Nile. James Bruce ( December 14, 1730 &ndash April 27, 1794) was a Scottish traveller and Travel writer who spent more than a NOTE This intro is the result of careful NPOV work Please do not make potentially controversial edits to it without first discussing on the talk page Year 1769 ( MDCCLXIX) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a The Blue Nile ( Amharic: ዓባይ transliterated ʿ Abbai, but pronounced Abbai; Arabic: النيل الأزرق transliterated His account of his travels provoked enthusiasm for further exploration into Africa, and the men of the African Association were especially inspired in their own goals. 
The location and course of the Niger River were almost completely unknown in the 18th century, and most maps charting it were mere guesses. The 18th century lasted from 1701 to 1800 in the Gregorian calendar, in accordance with the Anno Domini / Common Era numbering system A map is a visual representation of an area—a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, Regions, and Themes  According to Davidson Nicol,
The most popular description from the 16th to 18th century was one in which the river rose from a lake near the Equator in the centre of Africa, the Lacus Niger. Abioseh Davidson Nicol ( 14 September 1924 &ndash 20 September 1994) was a Sierra Leonean academic diplomat physician writer and The equator (sometimes referred to colloquially as "the Line") is the intersection of the Earth 's surface with the plane perpendicular to the From this point it was supposed to flow northwards almost in a straight line to reach another large lake, the Lacus Bornu. Before reaching this, it was said to flow underground for a distance variously given as being between 18 and 60 miles. After Lake Bornu, it took a bend of 90 deg. and flowed westwards through another lake, Sigisma, or Guarde, to break eventually after another lake system into four rivers, amongst which were the Senegal and the Gambia, which all emptied into the Atlantic at the western-most point of Africa. 
Almost all the theories of the river’s course hypothesized that it flowed east to west, which contradicted reality. Up to this point, no white man had ever seen the river itself. The term Western world, the West or the Occident ( Latin: occidens -sunset -west as distinct from the Orient) can have multiple meanings  In fact, many Europeans were not even convinced of its existence, though it had been well-known and well-traveled by Muslims for hundreds of years. A Muslim (مسلم pronounced Muslim, not Muzlim) is an adherent of the Religion  The Niger had long been the major highway of commerce between the kingdoms of Africa’s interior and traders from as far away as Iraq, and offered significant trade opportunities for Europe. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Iraq topics. Trade is the willing exchange of goods, services, or both Trade is also called Commerce. According to Peter Brent’s Black Nile,
The state that controlled the Niger traffic controlled the flow of trade; with the western Sahara route disused, shipments loaded or unloaded at Timbuctu could be carried along the central and eastern desert routes connecting the Niger with the Mediterranean countries. The Sahara (الصحراء الكبرى aṣ-ṣaḥrā´ al-kubra, "The Great Desert" is the world's largest hot Desert and the world's second largest Domination of the Niger clearly was worth fighting for…. 
The first explorer recruited for travel to Africa was an American named John Ledyard. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the John Ledyard (November 1751 &ndash January 10, 1789) was an American Explorer and adventurer He had traveled around the world with Captain Cook and been acquainted with Thomas Jefferson before attempting a voyage across Russia, Siberia, and North America. Captain James Cook FRS RN ( – 14 February 1779) was an English Explorer, Navigator and Thomas Jefferson (April 13 1743 – July 4 1826 was the third President of the United States (1801–1809 the principal author of the Declaration of Independence Russia (Россия Rossiya) or the Russian Federation ( Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) is a transcontinental Country extending Siberia (Сиби́рь Sibir) is the name given to the vast region constituting almost all of Northern Asia and for the most part currently serving Having failed to complete his journey, he called on Sir Joseph and the African Association, who thought him a perfect fit for their enterprise. 
After setting sail from England on June 30, 1788 he arrived in August at Cairo. Cairo () which means "the Vanquisher" or "the Triumphant" is the capital and largest city of Egypt. While preparing for his westward journey inland in search of the Niger, however, he fell ill and, trying to relieve his "bilious complaint", inadvertently poisoned himself with a fatal dose of sulfuric acid. Bile or gall is a bitter yellow or green Alkaline fluid secreted by Hepatocytes from the Liver of most Vertebrates In many species Sulfuric (or sulphuric acid, H 2 S[[oxygen O]]4 is a strong Mineral acid. 
While Ledyard was still traveling, the African Association had enlisted Simon Lucas to attempt a mission from the northern end of the continent, starting at Tripoli. Tripolis ( Arabic: طرابلس Ṭarābulus - also طرابلس الغرب Ṭarā-bu-lus al-Gharb Libyan vernacular: He spoke fluent Arabic and, having spent time in Morocco, was already friendly with the Tripolitanian ambassador. Arabic (ar الْعَرَبيّة (informally ar عَرَبيْ) in terms of the number of speakers is the largest living member of the Semitic language Morocco (المغرب "al-Maghrib" officially the Kingdom of Morocco (المملكة المغربية is a country located in North Africa  After arriving in Tripoli in October 1788, Lucas found guides to take him across the Libyan Desert but their journey was continually delayed by tribal wars blocking the route. The Libyan Desert (24 degrees North 25 degrees East (الصحراء الليبية is an African Desert that is located in the northern and eastern part of the An ethnic conflict or ethnic war is a war between Ethnic groups often as a result of Ethnic nationalism. Soon his guides abandoned him, and he was forced to limp back to England. He had, however, acquired some valuable information about the southern Libyan region. 
Henry Beaufoy, the Association's recordkeeper, wrote down in the Proceedings of 1790 what little information had been gleaned from these two ill-fated journeys: that the Niger was reputed to be practically non-navigable, and what was known about Bornu and the edges of the Sahara. Year 1790 ( MDCCXC) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year Niger ( or /ˈnaɪdʒɚ/) officially the Republic of Niger, is a Landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. The Bornu Empire (1396-1893 was a medieval African state of Niger from 1389 to 1893  The club’s curiosity had been further stimulated and they quickly renewed their search for explorers.
In autumn of 1790, an Irish major named Daniel Houghton was commissioned to proceed from the mouth of the river Gambia on Africa’s western coast, moving inland towards (hopefully) the Niger. The Irish people ( Irish: Muintir na hÉireann, na hÉireannaigh, na Gaeil) are a Western European Ethnic group who originate He penetrated farther into Africa than any European before him.  From the highest navigable point on the Gambia he continued on foot northeast toward Bundu, where the local authorities delayed his passage. Houghton eventually made his way as far as the north Saharan village of Simbing, 160 miles north of the Niger and 500 miles short of Timbuktu, but in September of 1791, he was lured into the desert, robbed, and killed. Year 1791 ( MDCCXCI) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common 
In May 1792 the African Association decided to capitalize on their discoveries and enlisted the support of the British government. Year 1792 ( MDCCXCII) was a Leap year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap year Her Majesty's Government, or when the monarch is male His Majesty's Government, is the title used by the Government of the United Kingdom, based at They authorized their committee to make "whatever application to Government they may think advisable for rendering the late discoveries of Major Houghton effectually serviceable to the Commercial Interests of the Empire. The British Empire was the largest empire in history and for over a century was the foremost global power. "  A British presence on the Gambia would "strengthen the bonds of trade", so they proposed to install James Willis as consul in Senegambia. James Willis (born September 2, 1972 in Huntsville Alabama) is a former American football Linebacker in the National Football The Senegambia Confederation was a loose Confederation between the West African countries of Senegal and its neighbour The Gambia, which is almost He was to develop good relations with the king of Bambouk by a gift of muskets, thereby opening up communication between the Niger and the Gambia and make inroads for trade with all the "gold-rich lands of the interior which undoubtedly lined the Niger’s banks". Bambouk (sometimes Bambuk) is a traditional name for the territory in eastern Senegal and western Mali, encompassing the Bambouk Mountains 
Mungo Park, a Scottish country doctor, was to travel with Willis to Senegambia, but when Willis’ departure was held up by bureaucratic and logistical problems, Park left England on the trade ship Endeavour and arrived on the Africa coast on June 4, 1795. Mungo Park ( September 11, 1771 &ndash 1806 was a Scottish explorer of the African continent Scotland ( Gaelic: Alba) is a Country in northwest Europethat occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. Bureaucracy is the structure and set of regulations in place to control activity usually in large organizations and government Year 1795 ( MDCCXCV) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a 
Park followed Houghton’s route along the Gambia, and after surviving near-fatal encounters in Muslim territory he reached the land of the friendly Bambara people, who helped guide him to the Niger. Bambara Empire|Bambara language The Bambara ( Bamana in their own language or sometimes Banmana) are a Mande people living in west Africa The doctor was the first European to lay eyes on the Niger and the first to record that it did in fact flow inland to the east. He vowed to follow the river until it led him to Timbuktu, but the intense heat and besetting of thieves stopped him, and he had to return to England. Upon his return he was an instant national hero, and membership in the African Association swelled dramatically. 
Mungo Park’s travels and discoveries had the greatest impact upon Western knowledge of the African continent to that point. Frank T. Kryza (The Race for Timbuktu, 2006), writes:
News of Park’s accomplishments thrilled the African Association (and indeed all of England). He was the first white man to penetrate the forbidding interior of Africa for the sole purpose of finding out what lay there, and to come back alive. He invented a new and glorious calling, creating an adventurous species of hero: the lone, brave African explorer: the African traveler. This beau ideal soon captured the imagination, fed the fantasies, and filled the literature of Europe. 
Park’s expedition lasted two and a half years, and he published the account of the mission in his book, Travels into the Interior Districts of Africa (1799), which was devoured by readers across Europe. Year 1799 ( MDCCXCIX) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a  Park would take attempt a second expedition to find Timbuktu in 1805, but died before returning. Year 1805 ( MDCCCV) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or  The Niger had been found and its direction recorded, but its final termination, and the "golden city" itself, remained undiscovered.
During Park’s first journey, Banks had recruited Friedrich Hornemann to make another trip to Africa. Friedrich Conrad Hornemann ( September 15 1772 in Hildesheim - February 1801 was a German explorer in Africa. He left in summer of 1797 and planned to travel the Cairo path across the Sahara toward Timbuktu while disguised as a Muslim. Year 1797 ( MDCCXCVII) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common After finally joining a caravan from Cairo in 1800, he was never heard from again. Year -of the Julian calendar. The Gregorian calendar was 11 days ahead of the Julian calendar until Friday, but 12 days ahead since Saturday. Nearly 20 years later other explorers learned that Hornemann had died of dysentery after apparently reaching the Niger. Dysentery (formerly known as flux or the bloody flux) is an infection of the digestive system that results in severe Diarrhea containing mucus and blood 
Refusing to give up their quest, the African Association sent out a Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1809, tasking him to follow the same route from Cairo. Switzerland (English pronunciation; Schweiz Swiss German: Schwyz or Schwiiz Suisse Svizzera Svizra officially the Swiss Confederation Johann Ludwig (aka John Lewis, Jean Louis) Burckhardt ( November 24, 1784 - October 15, 1817) Swiss Year 1809 ( MDCCCIX) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year Under orders to maintain a Muslim appearance, Burckhardt spent eight years traveling in Syria, learning the language and customs while waiting for a caravan to form. Syria ( سوريّة or) officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic ar الجمهورية العربية السورية Just as some Arab merchants were ready to depart for the interior in 1817, the perfectly disguised “Euro-Muslim” died of dysentery before leaving Cairo. The araB gene Promoter is a bacterial promoter activated by e L-arabinose binding 
The most bizarre story of the African Association was that of Henry Nicholls in 1804. Year 1804 ( MDCCCIV) was a Leap year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Kryza writes, "Having failed in assaults from the north (Tripoli), the east (Cairo), and the west (Gambia), the membership now proposed that an effort be made from the south. The site chosen from which to strike inland was a British trading post in the Gulf of Guinea". A trading post is a place where the trading of goods takes place The Gulf of Guinea is the part of the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Africa.  In the cruelest of ironies, the river mouth that emptied into the Gulf, from whence Nicholls was to set out in search of the Niger, was precisely the end of the Niger itself—only the Europeans did not know it yet. The starting point of the expedition was in fact its destination.  By 1805 Nicholls had died, probably of malaria. Malaria is a vector -borne Infectious disease caused by Protozoan Parasites It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions including
Meanwhile England was preoccupied with its rivalry with France, and the government decided to take on a larger role in Africa’s exploration in order to establish a commercial dominance there before the French. The Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815 involved Napoleon's French Empire and a shifting set of European allies and opposing coalitions This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. Sir Joseph Banks was growing ill, and slowly the African Association’s influence began to diminish. "The torch was passed from the private to the public sector," though the Association continued its involvement in British exploration until it was absorbed by the Royal Geographical Society in 1831. History Founding members of the Society include Sir John Barrow, Sir John Franklin and Francis Beaufort. Year 1831 ( MDCCCXXXI) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian Calendar (or a 
No explorer sent expressly by the African Association ever did find Timbuktu, though it was a major in the Royal Navy named Alexander Gordon Laing who finally walked through its gates in 1826. The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore known as the Senior Service) Major Alexander Gordon Laing (27 December 1793&ndash26 September 1826 was a Scottish explorer and the first European to reach Timbuktu. For the game see 1826 (board game. Year 1826 ( MDCCCXXVI) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display  The findings of the Association’s recruits, however, accomplished much for European knowledge of Africa and its people. Peter Brent describes the common perception of Africa in the years preceding the African Association:
Jungle, desert, mountain and savannah swam into one disagreeable continuity…all the peoples and sub-divisions of the peoples, all the cultures and languages and religions, were forced by the European imagination into one mould. An ethnic stereotype is a generalized representation of an Ethnic group, composed of what are thought to be typical characteristics of members of the group Out of it stepped the “native,” the “savage,” offering the blood of sacrifice to grinning gods, dancing in lunatic abandon around flames and…making a meal of his enemies. .
In contrast, according to Brent, "the explorers themselves had no such view of Africans, no simple picture that rejected African reality and denied to Africans their full humanity. " Mungo Park’s description in particular contributed to a balanced perspective. George Shepperson writes that, beyond Park's romanticized travel exploits, "his writing indicated that Africans were human beings with their own cultures and commerce (and not monstrous creatures), with whom constructive relations would be possible. Culture (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning "to cultivate" generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic "
This "humanizing" of the African people in the minds of Europeans was no doubt a boon to the abolition of the slave trade, since many of the African Association’s members were abolitionists and had ties to William Wilberforce. Abolitionism was a political movement of the 18th and 19th century which sought to make Slavery illegal particularly in the United States and British West Indies William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833 was a British Politician, a Philanthropist "By the beginning of the 19th century," Brent writes, "the attack on the whole appalling business had sharpened, and Africa had become the subject of the day. The 19th century of the Common Era began on January 1, 1801 and ended on December 31, 1900, according to the Gregorian calendar And still, despite everything, the European ignorance about most of the continent’s interior remained almost unaltered. It was a situation that had to be put right. " The relentless efforts of the African Association over forty-three years certainly contributed to this enlightenment.