Hugh Clapperton into the Interior of Africa

Records of the Second Expedition, 1825-1827

Jamie Bruce Lockhart,

Hugh Clapperton into the Interior of Africa: Records of the Second Expedition, 1825-1827

This definitive edition of Clapperton’s second journey, is a compilation of the various diaries, remark books, letters, maps, and other documents that survived Clapperton’s death in 1827. Hitherto, it has been necessary to rely on the original published version (Journal of a Second Expedition into the Interior of Africa), edited by John Barrow of the Admiralty and published by John Murray in 1829. The present volume differs from the 1829 edition by including material that was previously omitted and offering detailed annotation and commentary. The account reproduced in the new edition adheres as closely as possible to the original sources.

A comprehensive introduction provides information on Clapperton’s life, an account of previous European missions into the interior of West Africa, an assessment of Clapperton’s contribution to geographical “discovery,” details on Clapperton’s methods of journal-keeping, and a discussion of the publication history of the 1829 edition. The introduction offers a commentary on the principal themes on which Clapperton’s records shed original light – the coastal slave trade, abolitionist issues in the Sokoto Caliphate, the history of the states of Oyo, Nupe and Sokoto, and information on travel and trade in the interior of West Africa. The text itself is annotated, with observations on differences between the original sources and the published version of 1829.

The volume includes six appendices of official documents relating to the expedition, its preparation and progress. These include the correspondence of various members of the expedition, letters in Arabic with a commentary, annotated itineraries of travel, and a note on contemporary medicines. Also included is a collection of maps from Clapperton’s earlier mission in 1824-26 – the first known route-maps of the central Sudan, now in the collection of the Royal Geographical Society, London. The book is illustrated with previously unpublished sketches and maps from Clapperton’s remark books and a dozen sketches drawn by one of the co-editors when tracing Clapperton’s footsteps across Nigeria from Badagry to Sokoto in the early 1990s. There is an extensive bibliography.

This comprehensive edition of Clapperton’s last journey will appeal equally to scholars of pre-colonial Africa, specialists in Yoruba studies, and students of European travel and exploration.

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