Tejerri & Mourzuk (Libya): 1855. Tejerri 5 July 1855 and Mourzuk 19 July 1855. Two bifolia manuscript letters each ca. 21,5x13 cm (8 ½ x 5 in.), respectively four & two pp. Of text in English, in brown ink on white wove paper. The second letter docketed on verso of the second leaf “1855, 19 July. Dr. Barth to R. Reade Private.” With a carte-de-visite albumen photograph ca. 8,5x5,5 cm (3 ¼ x 2 in) mounted on original cardstock by “Hermann Guenther, Hof-Photograph, Berlin.”. Letters housed in two blue custom-made cloth portfolios with red gilt morocco cover labels titled "DR. H. BARTH AFRICA EXPLORER A.L.S. 1855? and ?DR. H. BARTH AFRICA EXPLORER A.L.S. MOURZUK 1855." One letter with minor holes from ink slightly affecting one word, otherwise a very good pair of letters.
Two extensive content rich, rare “expedition” letters authored by the famous explorer of Sahara and Central Africa. Heinrich Barth. The letters written within a two-week period describe the last leg of his epic expedition to the Sahara Desert, Lake Chad and Timbuktu in 1850-1855. The first letter was written in Tejerry (an oasis south of modern-day Quatrun village, Murzuk district, southern Fezzan province of Libya, on the main road to Chad and Niger) and addressed to Frederic Warrington, British Consul in Murzuk in 1854-55. The second letter was written two weeks later in Murzuk (oasis and a major city in the Sahara Desert, southwestern Libya) and addressed to Richard Reade, long-time British diplomat in Tripoli who served as acting consul at the time (1855-56). The letters talk about Barth’s 48-day journey to Tejerry from Kuka, the capital of the Kanem-Bornu Empire near Lake Chad (now Kukawa, northeastern Nigeria) – it was Barth to became the first European to visit Kukawa in 1851; they also mention his travel companion Adolf Overweg (a German geologist who circumnavigated Lake Chad and died from an illness near the lake in 1852), G.W. Crowe (British Agent and Consul General in Tripoli), Osman F. Warrington, vice-consul in Misurata in 1854-57, and others. Very evocative are Barth’s repeated notes on his desire of a bottle of wine – at first, he pleads with Frederic Warrington to get one, and then mentions to Richard Reade that he hopes to get one in Misurata, since Warrington could not find it. Large parts of both letters share the news of the travel plans and achievements of Edward Vogel, a leader of the subsidiary party sent by the British government after the death of James Richardson and include recommendations on how to arrange delivery of letters and supplies to Vogel. Barth mentions Vogel’s travel to Yakoba (the capital of the Bauchi kingdom), and his plans to go to the Waday Empire (Ouaddai, modern-day eastern Chad) where Vogel would be killed in 1856. The letters are supplemented with a rare studio photo portrait of Barth. Overall a historically important collection shedding light on the final days of Barth’s expedition to Central Africa.
The Central African Mission of 1850 led by James Richardson (1809-1851), a “Malta-based agent of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society” aimed to “open ‘regular and secure’ communications between the Mediterranean and the River Niger. Accompanying Richardson was a young German professor, Dr. Heinrich Barth, and another German, Dr. Adolph Overweg, both of them travelling in the service of the British government. The party left Tripoli in March 1850, explored the Garian hills, crossed the Hammadah al-Hamra to Murzuk, and then went down to Ghat. After passing through the district of Air to Agades, the party split up. While Barth went on to Kano, Richardson marched eastwards, but died of fever before he could reach his destination. Barth and Overweg then explored the country to the north, west, and south of Lake Chad but in August 1852 Overweg died. Barth turned westwards and travelled through Sokoto to Timbuctu, which he reached in September the following year. He stayed there six months and returned to Tripoli in September 1855. His magnificent achievement is described in methodical detail in his monumental five-volume Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa which covers the geography, ethnology, history and languages of the Sahara and the western Sudan. On his return from Timbuctu he had net a subsidiary British mission led by Dr. Edward Vogel, at Kukawa, west of Lake Chad. Vogel, also German, had left Tripoli in 1853 and had travelled via Murzuk, making botanical and zoological studies on the way. He was killed in Wadai on the orders of the Sultan in 1856” (Wright, J. A History of Libya. London, 2012, p. 90).
Price: $4,500.00 USD