The White Nile

Perhaps the definitive work on the exploration of East Africa and Central Africa, this is one fascinating tale full of interesting characters.  Explorers, adventurers, fortune seekers, missionaries and soldiers explored wild Africa in the last half of the 1800s.  They came from Europe and the U.S., but they especially came from Britain – and most especially from Scotland.

They came looking for the exotic headwaters of the Nile River. They came looking to spread the gospel to unreached tribes.  They came looking for empire.  They came looking for predecessors who were lost or trapped.  They came because it was there.

What a list of characters!  Sir Richard Burton, the eccentric intellectual and explorer, whose tale is told in the film, “Mountains of the Moon.” David Livingstone, the physician and missionary, who was renowned in his life and who died in Africa.  The journalist and explorer H.M. Stanley, who found Livingstone in Central Africa (“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”) when he had not been heard from for years and was presumed dead.  There is General C.G. Gordon, the fearless and famous British General, who governed Sudan from Khartoum and who was killed by enemy Arab soldiers who captured Khartoum.

And the list goes on and on, the intriguing and at times tragic story, of exploration and adventure in Africa.