Travels in the Great Desert of Sahara, in the Years of 1845 and 1846.
Containing a Narrative of Personal Adventures, during a Tour of Nine Months throught the Desert, amongst the Touaricks and other Tribes of Saharan People; Including a Description of the Oases and Cities of Ghat, Ghadames, and Mourzuk.London: Richard Bentley, 1848 Stock Code: 91137
First edition of this account of James Richardson's (1806-1851) first expedition to Africa. Richardson was an English explorer and ardent anti-slavery campaigner; he considered the slave trade to be "the most gigantic system of wickedness that world has ever seen" (Wright, Libya, Chad and the Central Sahara, p. 68). In 1845, Richardson joined a Sahara-bound expedition leaving Tripoli. With it, he travelled to "Ghadames, became the first European to visit Ghat, and, after a nine-month long and arduous journey through Fezzan, arrived safely back in Tripoli" (Embacher, cataloguer's translation). His account includes descriptions of the major cities in the Fezzan region, trade routes and oases, as well as the culture, religion, and traditions of the Tuaregs. Richardson also frequently refers to the trans-Saharan slave trade and the position of slaves in local Tuareg communities, a subject he had already discussed in his "Report on the Slave-Trade of the Great Desert", written for the Anti-Slavery Reporter and Aborigines' Friend upon his return to London in 1846.
Upon publication, the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society wrote of Richardson's Travels: "These volumes are useful contributions to our knowledge of the interior of the imperfectly known regions of Northern Africa; and they describe some hundreds of miles of desert routes over which no Europeans had previously passed, as well as several of the cities of the Desert, of which we had not before received accounts from European visitors" (JRGS, vol. 18, p. lix).
2 volumes, octavo (221 x 137 mm). Original green morocco-grain cloth, titles to spines gilt, decorative frames to boards in blind, Glasgow coat of arms gilt-stamped to front boards, pale yellow endpapers.
Engraved frontispieces, 24 woodcuts in text, and one engraved folding map.
Glasgow High School prize copy with bookplates to front pastedowns. Spines sunned, corners and spine ends bumped, inner hinges of Volume II cracked but holding firm, short closed tear to folding map stub. A very good set.
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