RSGS Inspiring People: Professor Charles Withers (Edinburgh Event)


Majestic River: Mungo Park and the Exploration of the Niger

By the late 18th century, the river Niger was to Europeans a 2,000-year-old two-part geographical problem. The first would be solved by Scottish explorer Mungo Park in 1796. But Park’s death in 1806 in failing to solve the second prompted other expeditions which sought to determine the cause of his death and to trace the Niger’s course to its end. Charles Withers examines Park’s achievements, the many expeditions that followed him, and Park’s enduring ‘afterlife’ as an explorer. The remaining part of the Niger problem was solved by exploration in 1830. But years before, it had already been solved by ‘armchair geographers’ who never set foot in Africa.

Majestic River celebrates Mungo Park’s achievements and illuminates his rich afterlife – how and why he was commemorated long after his death. It is also the thrilling story of the many expeditions that sought to determine the Niger’s course and the facts of Park’s disappearance, as well as a biography of the Niger itself as the river slowly took shape in the European imagination.


Wed, 25 January 2023

14:15 – 15:45 

University of Edinburgh, Lecture Theatre 5, Appleton Tower, Edinburgh, EH8 9LE

Tickets are available through Eventbrite or on the door; RSGS Members and students are entitled to free entry on the door – all subject to availability.

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Wednesday 25 Jan 2023
Appleton Tower, Edinburgh. United Kingdom