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Sir Samuel White Baker

The Albert N'Yanza

Published: Macmillan, London, 1870

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Exploration for the source of the Nile reached a fever pitch in the mid-1800s. Speke and Burton explored together 1856-1859, but on July 30, 1858 Speke was the first European to see the lake he named Victoria, Burton being too ill to accompany Speke. Later (1860-1863) Speke returned to explore again, this time with Grant instead of Burton, due to a falling-out with Burton. Samuel Baker, along with his wife (whom he had acquired at a slave-auction in the Ottoman Empire) explored together 1861-1865, and met Speke and Grant on their return journey, and Baker succored Speke and Grant. The Pethericks were exploring 1861-1865, and were entrusted with supplies meant for the relief of Speke and Grant. Speke and Grant were displeased with Petherick when he arrived where Speke and Grant had a few days earlier met up with Baker. 


THE ALBERT N'YANZA: Rebound New Edition dated 1870. The first edition was published in 2 volumes in 1866, and again in 2 smaller volumes in 1867. This is the 1st 1-volume 1870 edition, 3rd overall edition. 


An extract from THE ALBERT N'YANZA follows:

February 15, 1863:

When I first met [Speke and Grant] they were walking along the bank of the river towards my boats. At a distance of about a hundred yards I recognised my old friend Speke, and with a heart beating with joy I took off my cap and gave a welcome hurrah! I hardly required an introduction to his companion, as we felt already acquainted. 

At the first blush on meeting them I had considered my expedition as terminated by having met them, and by their having accomplished the discovery of the Nile source; but... Speke and Grant with characteristic candour and generosity gave me a map of their route, showing that they had been unable to complete the actual exploration of the Nile, and that a most important portion still remained to be determined... The natives and the King of Unyoro (Kamrasi) had assured them that the Nile from the Victoria N'yanza, which they had crossed at Karuma, flowed westward for several days' journey, and at length fell into a large lake called the Luta N'zige; that this lake came from the south, and that the Nile on entering the northern extremity almost immediately made its exit, and as a navigable river continued its course to the north. Both Speke and Grant attached great importance to this lake Luta N'zige, and the former was much annoyed that it had been impossible for them to carry out the exploration. As it happened, it was impossible for Speke and Grant to follow the Nile from Karuma:—the tribes were fighting with Kamrasi, and no strangers could have got through the country. Accordingly they procured their information most carefully, completed their map, and laid down the reported lake in its supposed position, showing the Nile as both influent and effluent precisely as had been explained by the natives.

Speke expressed his conviction that the Luta N'zige must be a second source of the Nile, and that geographers would be dissatisfied that he had not explored it. To me this was most gratifying. I had been much disheartened at the idea that the great work was accomplished, and that nothing remained for exploration; I even said to Speke, "Does not one leaf of the laurel remain for me?" I now heard that the field was not only open, but that an additional interest was given to the exploration by the proof that the Nile flowed out of one great lake, the Victoria, but that it evidently must derive an additional supply from an unknown lake as it entered it at the NORTHERN extremity, while the body of the lake came from the south.

February 20, 1863: 

On the 20th February [the Pethericks] suddenly arrived from the Niambara, with their people and ivory and were surprised at seeing so large a party of English in so desolate a spot.

On the 26th February, Speke and Grant sailed from Gondokoro [to England].


Samuel Baker is so easy to read. He describes a world that no longer exists. The only way for someone in the 21st century to experience what Baker did, is for that person to read his books. The world he explored has ceased to exist. Africa, in many ways, is a violent and unsafe place today, but it is so very different than it was back in the mid- to late 1800s. Read it for an accurate depiction of Victorian Exploration and Africa.


I also have Grant's A WALK ACROSS AFRICA and Speke's JOURNAL OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE SOURCE OF THE NILE, as well as The Pethericks' TRAVELS IN CENTRAL AFRICA listed for sale in Auction #107; please take a look.

  • Binding Condition: Very Good
  • Overall Condition: Very Good
  • Sold By: Springbok Books
  • Contact Person: Wade Burgess
  • Country: United States
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 1-505-382-2875
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Money order / Cashiers check / Personal check / PayPal with a surcharge
  • Trade Associations: AA Approved

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