(1771–1806). A child of the Scottish Enlightenment
, Park's Edinburgh
medical and botanical training and Sumatran experience led Banks
to choose him to explore the interior of west Africa for the African Association in 1795. From the Gambian coast he reached the Niger
near Segu, ending long controversy by proving that the river flowed eastwards. A more ambitious expedition for the British government ended in disaster in 1806 when Park was killed at Bussa much further down the Niger. His fate remained a mystery for 20 years, as did the termination of the Niger. Park's Travels
of 1799 have remained in print ever since.
Roy C. Bridges
Mungo Park, 1771–1806, British explorer in Africa, b. Selkirk, Scotland. After serving as a surgeon with the East India Company, he was employed by the African Association to explore the course of the Niger River. Traveling NE from the Gambia River, he reached the Niger at Segu and proceeded 300 mi (483 km) upstream to Bamako. On his return to England he published Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa (1799). He was sent (1805) by the government to trace the Niger to its mouth, but at Bussa he and his party were attacked in their canoes and Park was drowned.
See J. Thomson, Mungo Park and the River Niger (1890, repr. 1970).
(1771–1806) Scottish explorer. The African Association (forerunner of the Royal Geographical Society) asked Park to investigate the course of the River Niger (1795). Approaching from the Gambia
, he explored c.
450km (280mi) of the Upper Niger, a journey described in his Travels…
(1799). On a second, government-sponsored expedition (1805), he and his companions were ambushed and killed.