Park, Mungo

views updated May 18 2018

Park, Mungo (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

Park, Mungo

views updated May 18 2018

Park, Mungo (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.