Mungo Park

Topics: Niger River, Timbuktu, African Association Pages: 4 (1512 words) Published: April 25, 2013
The age of Imperial Encounters marked a time period where cultures were connected and new perspectives were formed through exploration. No other explorer in this period of time caught the attention of the public as much as Mungo Park. Park’s travels represented not only exploration, but also imperialistic adventures, which he portrayed through his famed books and created a new perspective of the interior of Africa. Park, after growing up to be a physician, made two voyages to the interior of Africa where his experiences and encounters are well documented within his journals. Mungo Park’s adventures changed the view of African geography as well as commercial perspectives. His encounters, which led to his ultimate death, are still studied and relevant in modern culture.

Before Park ever traveled he insinuated an imperialistic approach to his ventures and displayed much more humane expectations to the natives. Mungo Park was born the seventh child to family of thirteen in Scotland in 1771. From a young age Park apprenticed as a physician and even got his medical degree. Upon traveling to London, Park met Sir Joseph Banks, an explorer who had travelled the world with Captain Cook. Banks who served as the treasurer for “The Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa” sparked Park’s interest for exploration. Banks propsed to Park the mystery of the Niger River and how its course had baffled Europeans for years. Park’s interest in this quest is well documented in his first journal “Travels In The Interior of Africa” as Park wrote “I had a passionate desire to examine into the producitons of a country so little known…and the character of the natives…and if I should suceed in rendering the geography of Africa more familiar to my countrymen and in opening to their ambition and idustry new sources of wealth and new channels of commerce”. His writing shows that his journey was contrary to popular belief. Many thought there was no need to travel...
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