A Journey to Ashango Land by Chaillu — One of the most famous early white explorers of central West Africa, the American Paul du Chaillu won fame for confirming the existence of the gorilla—and for his accurate and breathtaking descriptions of the life, customs and behavior of Africans in the pre-colonial era.
This book was written after the author’s last expedition into the African interior when Du Chaillu set out with the intention of reaching the Nile River. After over a year of travel, the expedition failed and he was forced back after being wounded by a poison arrow during an attack by a hostile interior tribe.
The high adventure of Du Chaillu’s expedition—and brutally frank descriptions of his encounters with the natives—are just part of what makes this work a compelling read. It also contains vivid and uncensored descriptions of native African culture, cannibalism, tribal warfare, witchdoctors, superstition, and technology. His astute observations were used by Oxford University professor John R. Baker in a section on African cognitive ability in his classic work Race.
His description of African slavery in particular, is highly relevant, as it shows that the biggest traders in slaves were the Africans themselves, despite all efforts by the British Royal Navy to halt the practice.
“I believe that the negro may become a more useful member of mankind than he is at present, that he may be raised to a higher standard; but that, if left to himself, he will soon fall back into barbarism, for we have no example to the contrary. In his own country the efforts of the missionaries for hundreds of years have had no effect; the missionary goes away and the people relapse into barbarism. Though a people may be taught the arts and sciences known by more gifted nations, unless they have the power of progression in themselves, they must inevitably relapse in the course of time into their former state.”
This new edition
has been completely reset and contains all original 23 illustrations
and maps. 388p-sc