Mungo Park.

The Journal of a Mission to the Interior of Africa, in the Year 1805 online

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I found the boards useless, and left them. I left Toucha early next
morning, and at nine A.M. arrived at Douabougou. The Chief wished me to
stay, but I refused, and he gave me a sheep. Farther on we passed
Dilla-faa Courna and Bonabougou, where we staid awhile, and went to see
Magnacoro at sunset: (these villages are all surrounded by Ronn-trees;
[Footnote: A species of palm tree. (I do not know the particular
name.)]) the thief carrying all the way the remaining hog. On my way
there, one of my people staid on the road, having a sore leg. I was well
treated at Magnacoro and slept there; the man with the sore leg came
next day. I staid two days. There is in this village a fine Doualli
tree, the first I had seen on my way from Senegal; this tree is most
beautiful, always green and in blossom, but bearing no fruit whatever.
On the back of the village there is a foundery for casting iron; at a
little distance on the river there is a cataract, not quite so high as
the Feloups. I took guides to shew me the right road. Departed early; at
noon arrived at Soubacarra, passed Tacoutalla; crossed there a small
rivulet; farther on crossed another, and stopped at Sirecaime, a village
situated between two mountains, where we slept. Next morning received
ten moulles [Footnote: A small measure made out of a calabash.] of corn
and departed.

At noon arrived at Camecon; received there from Fiong, the Chief, a
sheep, some milk, and corn. In the afternoon departed, and passed
Sidong. At sun-set arrived at Sannanba, where we slept. I found here my
sister and one of my wives I had left in my voyage with Mr. Park, and
where they waited for my return. I asked them what they heard concerning
Mr. Park. They assured me that they had seen Alhagi Biraim, who told
them that Mr. Park was dead; and that he saw the canoe in which he died
in the country of Haoussa; to which country, he, Alhagi, had been, and
to the place where Mr. Park died. Yamme Marabou gave me bullock; so did
Moulina one; Guiniba one; and Facoro, the Chief, also one and some corn.
Two sheep were given to me by Alhagi; one by Fatuna-bougou; one by
Amadibinne-doucara, and three by Dimba Soumares. We staid there eight

On the ninth day the hog I had left behind was brought here. I received
one ass from Mouline: I gave to Amadibinne one musket and five yards of
white cotton; to Yamme half a bottle of powder; to my sister ten dollars
and one muslin pagne; to the Chief one bottle of powder and twenty
flints. I released here the thief, who all the way had carried the hog;
I released him, because I was certain, that, if once in the King's
power, he would be put to death. Four days after the hog came, being the
thirteenth day of my stay at Sannamba (Saturday), and the seventh moon
of my voyage.

I departed early, and ordered the hog to be brought along by the same
people; passed Baromba, took water at a large fountain; passed
Bancoumalla. After passing a large lake, stopped and slept at Sirberra,
at the house of Babamerine, who killed a sheep: received from Manchia
the Chief, one sheep; I gave them twenty loads of powder and ten flints.
Departed in the night, and arrived at two in the morning at Counnow.
There is but one well for the whole village, and three beautiful large
Doualli trees are round it. Found there the King's army.

There is on the east of the village an enormous large tree, inhabited by
a great number of bats; another such tree is on the west side of the
village, likewise full of bats; but what is most extraordinary, the bats
of the east constantly go at night to the west, and return to the east
at the approach of day; those of the west never go to the east. The bats
are all of the same kind. The natives say that their lawful king lies on
the west. [Footnote: Tiguing-coro, the descendant of the lawful Kings of
Sego.] The army departed about three, and I about day-light; we met on
the road the rear guard on its way to join the army. At four P.M.
arrived at Gargnie, a large village, where we slept. There is but one
door to enter it, and two large trees on each side of the door; the
village is situated in the front of a beautiful large lake, which
supplies them with water. We met there a caravan from Cancare; received
from them a few collas. Departed early, and at ten A.M. arrived at
Dedougou, where we slept. The people of Gargnie had brought here the hog
and gone back; and the people of this village being all out in their
fields, I was obliged to wait until next morning, so as to have the hog
carried; received three fowls; I gave three loads of powder. Next
morning I required four hands to carry the hog (which imposition I laid
on every village I came to) and departed. Passed Issicora and five
deserted villages; at four P. M. arrived at Yaminna, and stayed there
three days, at the house of Boya Modiba, who killed me a sheep. I gave
him two bars of scarlet cloth. A woman who had been redeemed at
Montogou, and who had followed my caravan, found here her husband, who
gave me a sheep and a hundred collas.

Departed early and arrived at noon at Yaminna, [Footnote: Bearing the
same name as the last place.] on the river Joliba (Niger). I wanted to
cross the river immediately, but the rain prevented me; at four P.M.
embarked in a canoe, and went on till about ten P.M. Arrived at
Mognongo, on the other side of the river, having passed nine villages.
The river here is very wide. Departed again, and arrived at noon at
Samman; lodged with Guinguina, where we formerly lodged with Mr. Park,
and where we lost three white men by sickness. At four P.M. departed,
and arrived at sun-set at Sego-coro, on the opposite side of Samman,
having passed four villages; lodged with Sego Somma.

This village was formerly the residence of the kings; and to this day,
when the King wishes to go to war, he always goes there to have his
gris-gris (amulets) made, and to prepare himself. When they take a king,
a prince, or a man of high rank, whether a stranger, or of the country,
they confine him until the fasting moon is come. He is brought in that
moon to this village, and laid down in a house appropriated for this
purpose only. His throat is then cut across. When the blood has
completely stained the ground, the body is carried into the open field,
and left a prey to the wild beasts. There is not a fasting moon, but
that one or more are butchered in the house, and for the space of eight
days after these executions, no man, whatever he may be, is allowed to
pass by that house (called Kognoba) without pulling off his shoes or

Departed early, passed Segobougou, Segocoura, and Douabougou, and
arrived about eight A.M. at Sego-chicoro, the residence of Dacha King of
the Bambarras, on Monday 11th of the moon. [Footnote: August 26, 1810.]
This town was built by Dacha's grandfather, [Footnote: Mansong's father,
named Wolloo.] who rebelled against the lawful king; being chosen leader
at the head of his party, drove the king from his dominions, who retired
to the west, [Footnote: He is obliged to gather another army and go
himself at the head of it, to revenge the first, should it be
destroyed.] and was proclaimed king himself. Being a great warrior, he
maintained himself on the usurped throne, and left it to his posterity,
who enjoy it peaceably now.

I lodged with Guiawe, a man attached to the King. Next morning the King
hearing of my arrival, sent to tell me he was going to Douabougou, and
wished I would go and see him there. He had got on his horse and was
proceeding, when a heavy shower of rain came on; he dismounted and went
back to his house. After the rain, he ordered me to come to him, and
bring him the hogs in the manner I had tied them for travelling. On my
entrance in the first yard I found a guard of forty men, young, strong,
and without beards. On entering another yard I met another guard, well
armed and very numerous, lying in the shade. A little farther on I found
the king sitting; there were four broad swords stuck in the ground, on
each side and behind him, which had been given to him by Mr. Park. He
had on his military coat, which he is obliged to wear when he sends out
an army, and cannot leave off until the army returns. He commonly wears
dresses of white or blue cotor, or silk, with a great many gris-gris,
covered with plates of gold or silver, sewed about his dresses. I sat
down on one side of him, and my landlord on the other side. After the
usual salutations, I laid before him the drum, the two blunderbusses,
the bed, the two hogs, the scarlet cloth, &c. and one dog. [Footnote:
The other got away on leaving Mariancounda, and was lost.] I said to
him: "Maxwell, Governor of Senegal, salutes you, and sends his
compliments to you; here is the present which Manchong (or Mansong) your
father asked of Mr. Park, and which he promised to send him." He said,
"Is the Governor well?" I said, "Yes, he is well, and desired me to beg
your assistance in his endeavours to discover what is become of Mr.
Park, and ascertain whether he is dead or alive; and that you would give
me a vessel to facilitate my voyage; and the Governor will reward you
for so doing." He replied, "What does the Governor mean to give me?" I
said, "If you render me all the assistance in your power, the Governor
will give you two hundred bars." He asked me, how the Governor could
give him that sum, being so far from him? I told him, the Governor, it
was true, was far from him; but that I was there to represent and answer
for him. He then accepted my offer and promised me his assistance. The
King ordered a bullock to be killed for me. I staid to the end of that
moon. [Footnote: September 13, 1810.]

The first [Footnote: September 14, 1810. They reckon one day when the
moon is seen.] of the following moon, being the day I intended to
depart, a prince of Tombuctoo came to Sego, to demand a wife who had
been promised him. The King went out to meet him with a guard of six
hundred men, almost naked and well armed. The prince said, that being a
friend of his father (Manchong), he thought it his duty to come and let
him know of his coming to take the wife promised him; the King replied,
"Why have you permitted the people of your country to plunder one my
caravans, [Footnote: My landlord lost his share in that caravan; seven
hundred gros of gold and a slave.] and why did you not prevent it, and
why did you yourself plunder another, belonging also to me?" The King
left the prince out, and returned to his house with the guards, after
unloading their muskets. The prince went to his lodging. He reflected
how critically he was situated, and that by his bad behaviour, the wife
which he had once been promised, had been given to another; and that the
people of the caravan he had plundered, had been before the King and
there had denounced him; and that his life was at stake. He immediately
sent three horses to the King, and half a piece of cotor [Footnote: So
in the MS. of this translation.] to all the chiefs present.

Next day the ambassadors of Giocha came together with the ambassadors of
Tiguing-coro. The day after the King went to Impebara. I next day went
to meet him there. After staying there nine days, and hearing nothing, I
was much displeased; some one went to the King and told him that I was
angry, and was about to depart. He sent to tell me he was going to
Banangcoro, and that I should go with him; he did depart from
Banangcoro, but I staid; he sent me a courier to order me near him. I
went to Banangcoro, and lodged with Inche, the King's slave and
confident. The motive of the King's journey was to see one of his
children. He has six now living: and three he had destroyed. The custom
is when a male child of the King's wives is born on a Friday, that the
throat should be cut; which is done immediately. The King sent for me. I
went to him at ten A.M.; he ordered part of the presents to be brought
before him; which was done, and among which were the hogs. [Footnote:
The remaining hog died shortly after my arrival at Sego.] They were left
loose before him and pleased him much.

On the next day (Friday) he gave me a canoe with three hands
(fishermen), and I departed on my voyage after Mr. Park the following
tide; we passed ten villages, and arrived at supper time at Sansanding,
[Footnote: This village is two days journey by land from Banangcoro.]
where we slept; departed by land at three P.M. and arrived at sunset at
Madina, and lodged with Alihou. I found there Amadi fatouma, [Footnote:
Amadou fatooma.] the very guide I had recommended to Mr. Park, and who
went with him on his voyage from Sansanding. I sent for him; he came
immediately. I demanded of him a faithful account of what had happened
to Mr. Park. On seeing me, and hearing me mention Mr. Park, he began to
weep; and his first words were, "They are all dead." I said, "I am come
to see after you, and intended to look every way for you, to know the
truth from your own mouth, how they died." He said that they were lost
for ever, and it was useless to make any further enquiry after them; for
to look after what was irrecoverably lost, was losing time to no
purpose. I told him I was going back to Sansanding, and requested he
would come the next day there to meet me, to which he agreed. I went to
Sansanding and slept there; next day I sent back the canoe to Impebara.
Amadi fatouma came at the appointed time to meet me, being the 21st day
of the moon. [Footnote: 4th October, 1810.] I desired he would let me
know what passed to his knowledge concerning Mr. Park.


We departed from Sansanding in a canoe the 27th [Footnote: This Journal
mentions no moon nor year.] day of the moon, and went in two days to
Sellee, [Footnote: Called Siila in Mr. Park's first voyage.] where Mr.
Park ended his first voyage. Mr. Park bought a slave to help him in the
navigation of the canoe. There was Mr. Park, Martyn, three other white
men, three slaves and myself as guide and interpreter; nine in number,
to navigate the canoe: without landing we bought the slave. We went in
two days to Ginne. We gave the Chief one piece of baft and went on. In
passing Sibby, [Footnote: Here no mention is made of times. Called
Dibbie in the plan.] three canoes came after us, armed with pikes,
lances, bows and arrows, &c. but no fire-arms. Being sure of their
hostile intentions, we ordered them to go back; but to no effect; and
were obliged to repulse them by force. Passed on; we passed Rakbara;
[Footnote: Called Kabra in the plan.] three came up to stop our passage,
which we repelled by force. On passing Tombuctoo we were again attacked
by three canoes; which we beat off, always killing many of the natives.
On passing Gouroumo seven canoes came after us; which we likewise beat
off. We lost one white man by sickness; we were reduced to eight hands;
having each of us fifteen muskets, always in order and ready for action.
Passed by a village (of which I have forgotten the name), the residence
of King Gotoijege; after passing which we counted sixty canoes coming
after us, which we repulsed, and killed a great number of men. Seeing so
many men killed, and our superiority over them, I took hold of Martyn's
hand, saying, "Martyn, let us cease firing; for we have killed too many
already"; on which Martyn wanted to kill me, had not Mr. Park
interfered. After passing Gotoijege a long way, we met a very strong
army on one side of the river; composed of the Poul nation; they had no
beasts of any kind. We passed on the other side and went on without

On going along we struck on the rocks. An hippopotamus rose near us, and
had nearly overset the canoe; we fired on the animal and drove it away.
After a great deal of trouble we got off the canoe without any material
danger. We came to an anchor before Kaffo, and passed the day there. We
had in the canoe before we departed from Sansanding, a very large stock
of provisions, salted and fresh of all kinds; which enabled us to go
along without stopping at any place, for fear of accident. The canoe was
large enough to contain with ease one hundred and twenty people. In the
evening we started and came to before an island; we saw on shore a great
quantity of hippopotami; on our approach they went into the water in
such confusion, that they almost upset our canoe. We passed the island
and sailed. In the morning three canoes from Kaffo came after us, which
we beat off. We came to near a small island, and saw some of the
natives; I was sent on shore to buy some milk. When I got among them I
saw two canoes go on board to sell fresh provisions, such as fowls,
rice, &c. One of the natives wanted to kill me; at last he took hold of
me, and said I was his prisoner. Mr. Park seeing what was passing on
shore, suspected the truth. He stopped the two canoes and people,
telling the people belonging to them, that if they should kill me, or
keep me prisoner on shore, he would kill them all and carry their canoes
away with him. Those on shore suspecting Mr. Park's intentions, sent me
off in another canoe on board; they were then released. After which we
bought some provisions from them, and made them some presents.

A short time after our departure, twenty canoes came after us from the
same place; on coming near, they hailed and said, "Amadi fatouma, how
can you pass through our country without giving us any thing." I
mentioned what they had said to Mr. Park; and he gave them a few grains
of amber and some trinkets, and they went back peaceably. On coming to a
shallow part of the river, we saw on the shore a great many men sitting
down; coming nearer to them they stood up; we presented our muskets to
them, which made them run off to the interior. A little farther on we
came to a very difficult passage. The rocks had barred the river; but
three passages were still open between them. On coming near one of them,
we discovered the same people again, standing on the top of a large
rock; which caused great uneasiness to us, especially to me, and I
seriously promised never to pass there again without making considerable
charitable donations to the poor. We returned and went to a pass of less
danger, where we passed unmolested.

We came to before Carmasse, and gave the Chief one piece of baft. We
went on and anchored before Gourinon. Mr. Park sent me on shore with
forty thousand cowries to buy provisions. I went and bought rice,
onions, fowls, milk, &c. and departed late in the evening. The Chief of
the village sent a canoe after us, to let us know of a large army
encamped on the top of a very high mountain, waiting for us; and that we
had better return, or be on our guard. We immediately came to an anchor,
and spent there the rest of the day, and all the night. We started in
the morning; on passing the above-mentioned mountain, we saw the army,
composed of Moors, with horses and camels; but without any fire-arms. As
they said nothing to us, we passed on quietly, and entered the country
of Haoussa, and came to an anchor. Mr. Park said to me, "Now, Amadi, you
are at the end of your journey; I engaged you to conduct me here; you
are going to leave me, but before you go, you must give me the names of
the necessaries of life, &c. in the language of the countries through
which I am going to pass;" to which I agreed, and we spent two days
together about it, without landing. During our voyage I was the only one
who had landed. We departed and arrived at Yaour.

I was sent on shore the next morning with a musket and a sabre, to carry
to the chief of the village, also with three pieces of white baft for
distribution. I went and gave the Chief his present: I also gave one
piece to Alhagi, one to Alhagi-biron, and the other to a person whose
name I forget, all Marabous. The Chief gave us a bullock, a sheep, three
jars of honey, and four men's loads of rice. Mr. Park gave me seven
thousand cowries, and ordered me to buy provisions, which I did; he told
me to go to the Chief and give him five silver rings, some powder and
flints, and tell him that these presents were given to the King
[Footnote: The King staid a few hundred yards from the river.] by the
white men, who were taking leave of him before they went away. After the
Chief had received these things, he enquired if the white men intended
to come back. Mr. Park being informed of this enquiry, replied that he
could not return any more. [Footnote: These words occasioned his death;
for the certainty of Mr. Park's not returning induced the Chief to
withhold the presents from the King.] Mr. Park had paid me for my voyage
before we left Sansanding: I said to him, "I agreed to carry you into
the kingdom of Haoussa; we are now in Haoussa. I have fulfilled my
engagements with you; I am therefore going to leave you here and

Next day (Saturday) Mr. Park departed, and I slept in the village
(Yaour). Next morning, I went to the King to pay my respects to him; on
entering the house I found two men who came on horseback; they were sent
by the Chief of Yaour. They said to the King, "we are sent by the Chief
of Yaour to let you know that the white men went away, without giving
you or him (the Chief) any thing; they have a great many things with
them, and we have received nothing from them; and this Amadou fatouma
now before you is a bad man, and has likewise made a fool of you both."
The king immediately ordered me to be put in irons; which was
accordingly done, and every thing I had taken from me; some were for
killing me, and some for preserving my life. The next morning early the
King sent an army to a village called Boussa near the river side. There
is before this village a rock across the whole breadth of the river. One
part of the rocks is very high; there is a large opening in that rock in
the form of a door, which is the only passage for the water to pass
through; the tide current is here very strong. This army went and took
possession of the top of this opening. Mr. Park came there after the
army had posted itself; he nevertheless attempted to pass. The people
began to attack him, throwing lances, pikes, arrows and stones. Mr. Park
defended himself for a long time; two of his slaves at the stern of the
canoe were killed; they threw every thing they had in the canoe into the
river, and kept firing; but being overpowered by numbers and fatigue,
and unable to keep up the canoe against the current, and no probability
of escaping, Mr. Park took hold of one of the white men, and jumped into
the water; Martyn did the same, and they were drowned in the stream in
attempting to escape. The only slave remaining in the boat, seeing the
natives persist in throwing weapons at the canoe without ceasing, stood
up and said to them, "Stop throwing now, you see nothing in the canoe,
and nobody but myself, therefore cease. Take me and the canoe, but don't
kill me." They took possession of the canoe and the man, and carried
them to the King.

I was kept in irons three months; the King released me and gave me a
slave (woman). I immediately went to the slave taken in the canoe, who
told me in what manner Mr. Park and all of them had died, and what I
have related above. I asked him if he was sure nothing had been found in
the canoe after its capture; he said that nothing remained in the canoe
but himself and a sword-belt. I asked him where the sword-belt was; he
said the King took it, and had made a girth for his horse with it.


I immediately sent a Poule to Yaour to get me the belt by any means and
at any price, and any thing else he could discover belonging to Mr.
Park. I left Madina and went to Sansanding, and from thence to Sego. On
my arrival I went to Dacha, the King, and related to him the above
facts. He said he would have gone himself to destroy that country, if it
had not been so far. He gathered an army and went with it to Banangcoro.
I followed him there. He ordered the army to go and destroy the kingdom
of Haoussa. The army went away, passed Tombuctoo a long way, and made a
halt at Sacha; and dispatched a courier back to the King, to let him
know where they were, and that Haoussa was at too great a distance for
an army to go, without running many dangers of all kinds. The King
ordered them to go to Massina, a small country belonging to the Poule
nation, to take away all the Poules' cattle, and return. They did so,
and brought with them a great many cattle. The vanguard came with the
cattle after a voyage of three months; and the army came one month
after, which made four months they had been out. The King was much
displeased with the Chiefs' conduct, and wanted to punish them for not

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