The Gates of Africa: Death, Discovery, and the Search for Timbuktu Prime – Vansonphu.com


The Gates of Africa: Death, Discovery, and the Search for Timbuktu A good introduction to European exploration in West Africa at the end of the 18th c and the early years of the 19th c., centered on Sir Jos Banks and the British African Association, which dispatched a series of travelers Sattin loves the 18th c use of missionary for them, meaning not religious proselytizers but someone sent out on a particular assignment mission into Africa The African Association s missionaries were to follow the course of the river Niger and visit Timbuktu and A good introduction to European exploration in West Africa at the end of the 18th c and the early years of the 19th c., centered on Sir Jos Banks and the British African Association, which dispatched a series of travelers Sattin loves the 18th c use of missionary for them, meaning not religious proselytizers but someone sent out on a particular assignment mission into Africa The African Association s missionaries were to follow the course of the river Niger and visit Timbuktu andwelldo the groundwork for a set of ill defined and shape shifting ultimate objectives complete the Enlightenment project of filling in the blank spaces on the maps of the world assist in suppressing the slave trade open up British commerce with the African interior and, eventually, allow for British dominion Gates of Africa is a good, quick overview of the careers and fates usually grim enough of the explorers and the changing nature of exploration Very competently written, though with a few odd slips in fact checking around the edges I have a great appreciation for the author and the vast amount of research he must have done for this book Especially nice were the letters, quotes, stories etc he dug up from historical people who ve been dead for centuries That helped bring the story to life and made itfascinating That being said, the actual story of the firstor less African explorers was not all that interesting A guy would go to Cairo, or west Africa or Libya, make his way inland and then die or give up A I have a great appreciation for the author and the vast amount of research he must have done for this book Especially nice were the letters, quotes, stories etc he dug up from historical people who ve been dead for centuries That helped bring the story to life and made itfascinating That being said, the actual story of the firstor less African explorers was not all that interesting A guy would go to Cairo, or west Africa or Libya, make his way inland and then die or give up And this happens over and over again for 400 pages or so It isn t the authors fault, but it just wasn t terribly interesting Much of the book was about the London based society who funded and developed the search for Timbuktu and interior Africa That was an interesting piece of lost history but not interesting enough to save the book overall And sometimes the many valuable quotes, letters etc would cause me to lose my attention as they are written in old world English that is tough to follow for the modern person.Overall a worthwhile read if you want to knowabout Europe s early involvement in Africa And it is well written A riveting account of the many explorers who tried to get to Timbuktu The hardships they endured, the distances they traveled, the people they met Just fascinating Before I read this book I knew nothing at all about the Sahel region of Africa As I read, I kept looking things up online about the region in some ways, it hasn t changed very much since Mungo Park s time there Very interesting. This book s title may mislead a subset of interested readers The history s narrative details, with great clarity and sense of adventure, the efforts of British elites to fund an expedition to Timbuktu in the late 1700s and early 1800s The British elites operated under the name of the African Association, which was later absorbed by the Royal Geographical Society Their primary purpose was to obtain gold and riches, of course, but their curiosity extended to botany, mapmaking, and other forms o This book s title may mislead a subset of interested readers The history s narrative details, with great clarity and sense of adventure, the efforts of British elites to fund an expedition to Timbuktu in the late 1700s and early 1800s The British elites operated under the name of the African Association, which was later absorbed by the Royal Geographical Society Their primary purpose was to obtain gold and riches, of course, but their curiosity extended to botany, mapmaking, and other forms of intellectual conquest In the later years, national pride became a motivating factor in the expeditions, as the race to the center of the continent resulted in post colonial legacies still visible today Throughout the course of the book and for a diverse set of reasons, numerous expedition attempts failed to reach Timbuktu Sometimes a later expedition received news of a previous party or explorer, and these insights provide credibility in the author s conclusions, but also fascinating clues about the interconnectivity of kingdoms across vast distances by trade routes, pilgrimages, etc Some explorers approached the journey as directly as they could Some explorers opted for disguises that took years and years to cobble together Following each party is a pleasure, though outcomes are fraught by death after death.Where Sattin s book is lacking, in my view, is in the descriptions of Timbuktu Certainly, the elites in Britain lamented the state of Timbuktu once information about the city became available Nonetheless, Sattin could have done a better job detailing what Timbuktu, and various other cultural hubs in the region, did and do offer the inquisitive mind The manuscripts preserved by Timbuktu s climate, alone, warrant a mention, as does additional dialogue about the history of intellectualism in the city, however decayed by the time Britain arrived at the scene I realize that these artifacts and traditions did not interest British chrysophilists however, readers are told that all Timbuktu promised was heat and sand That is, The Gates of Africa is exceedingly Anglocentric, in narration and valuation Reading the text proved an entertaining and informative experience, and I do recommend it to readers of world history Despite the work s many strengths, I wish the book featured a slightly broader purview, with greater coverage of settings like Timbuktu, Cairo, Tripoli, and other centers of civilization visited by expeditions on their journeys inland Lastly, the quality of the writing is a little inconsistent, but not enough to impact my rating Really easy to read and fascinating account of the British African Association , a precursor to the Royal Geographic Society, and its search for the legendary Niger River and Timbuktu Lots of interesting background on Western and Northern Africa, England, and the science of geography Extremely well written the pages flew by just like a mystery or adventure novel Very entertaining read London,a group of British gentlemen geographers, scholars, politicians, humanitarians, and traders decide it is time to solve the mysteries of Africa s unknown interior regions Inspired by the Enlightenment quest for knowledge, they consider it a slur on the age that the interior of Africa still remains a mystery, that maps of the dark continent are populate This guy can write and he provides a fascinating glimpse of the difficulties involved in obtaining valid geographical data about the dark continent as well as how the underpinnings of scientific endeavors generally during the Enlightenment. Such a fun read Half history book, half adventure travel, the book tells the story of London s Africa Association, which financed early English exploration in search of the fabled golden city of Timbuktu. Fascinating history, but the storytelling is inconsistent at times well paced, other times quite slow.


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