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BURTON, Richard F.

First Footsteps in East Africa;

or, an Exploration of Harar.

London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1856 Stock Code: 140400
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A very good copy

First edition, second issue, without Appendix IV on infibulation as usual. Following his "pilgrimage" to Mecca, instead of returning to Britain where he was guaranteed a hero's welcome at the Royal Geographical Society, Burton "lingered in Cairo until November 1853 Even as he completed the manuscript of his Personal Narrative after returning to Bombay, he was planning the penetration of another forbidden city. This time his objective was Harar, an important religious centre and notorious base for the slave trade in Somalia" (ODNB). The expedition was enthusiastically supported by the Bombay Council, and the party of four, Stroyan, Burton's companion from Sind; Herne, a skilled photographer and surveyor; and John Hanning Speke, a young officer who was taken on at the last minute following the death of Assistant-Surgeon J. E. Stocks, assembled at Aden in October 1854. Burton revised his plans in response to the misgivings of the political resident James Outram, reserving the inland trip to Harar for himself. Speke was forced to return early to Aden from his trip to Wadi Nugal by the treachery of his guide; Burton spent ten days in Harar, where he was "spied upon constantly, but learnt much from local scholars" (Howgego), meeting up with the other two party-members at Berbera. Once back in Aden, Burton planned a further trip, a trek up the Nile from the Somali coast. But on their return to Berbera in April their camp was attacked by Somali tribesmen, Stroyan being killed by a spear thrust, Burton receiving his famous facial wound, the party barely escaping. An account of the skirmish is included in the Postscript.

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Octavo (213 x 134 mm). Recent purple-brown half morocco, titles in gilt direct to spine, raised bands, marbled boards, pale green endpapers.


Chromolithographic tissue-guarded frontispiece and 3 similar plates, 7 in-text illustrations, and 2 full-page maps.


20th-century armorial bookplate of Jonathan Edward Harrod to front pastedown. Slight rubbing to edges, very occasional faint foxing, else internally clean; a very good copy.


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