Richard Burton

Name ID 84

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 041

Map

Extract ID: 5784

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 109
Extract Date: 14 Feb 1858

The rough nurse of rugged men: Zungomero to Ujiji and Kigoma

Chapter 4

When we left Zungomero, we left what Burton called the First Region of his trip and entered the Second, or mountain, Region. Ahead of us, between Zungomero and Lake Tanganyika, lay four more of his regions. Traversing the Second Region would take us from Zungomero over the Rubeho Mountains to the edge of a country Burton called Ugogo, which is near present-day Dodoma. The trek through the Rubeho Mountains was a difficult one for Burton because of the rugged terrain. For us it was also difficult, but mainly because we could not be sure what route Burton's expedition had taken to reach the mountain pass.

Beyond Dodoma, the explorers passed through the Third Region and part of the Fourth Region to reach Kazeh (present-day Tabora), where they rested for five weeks. From Tabora they proceeded to the Malagarasi River, which marked the beginning of Burton's Fifth Region; and from there they plodded laboriously on, reaching Lake Tanganyika at Ujiji on February 14, 1858, seven and a half months after leaving Bagamoyo. When I glanced at Burton's careful list, I counted ninety stations between Zungomero and Lake Tanganyika.

Our own expedition telescoped Burton and Speke's seven and a half months of travel into eight days. We left Bagamoyo on October 25, and arrived at Lake Tanganyika on November 1. Swift though our progress was, however, when we set out from Zungomero I had hoped to cover the distance much more quickly than we actually did. The trip to Lake Tanganyika turned out to be a difficult slog as we detoured and backtracked ceaselessly, trying to identify some of the more elusive portions of Burton's trail.

The rough nurse of rugged men: Zungomero to Ujiji and Kigoma

Extract ID: 5734

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Extract Author: Richard F. Burton
Page Number: 109a
Extract Date: 1857

The women are well dressed as the men

The Lake Regions of Central Africa

The women are well dressed as the men — a circumstance rare in East Africa.... [T]hey never veil their faces, and they show no shame in the presence of strangers. The child is carried in a cloth at the back.

Extract ID: 5735

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Extract Author: Richard F. Burton
Page Number: 111
Extract Date: 1857

Sad sights

The Lake Regions of Central Africa

On the way we were saddened by the sight of the clean picked skeletons, and here and there the swollen corpses, of porters who had perished in this place of starvation. A single large body, which had lost fifty of its number by small-pox, had passed us bu tyesterday on the road, and the sight of their deceased comrades recalled to our minds terrible spectacles; men staggering on blinded by disease, and mothers carrying on their backs infants as loathsome objects as themselves. The wretches would not leave the path, every step in their state of failing strength was precious; he who once fell would never rise again; no village would admit death into its precincts, no relation nor friend would return for them, and they would lie till their agony was ended by the raven and vulture, the fisi [hyena] and the fox…. Under these circumstances, as might be expected, several of our party caught the infection; they lagged behind, and probably threw themselves into some jungle, for the path when revisited showed no signs of them.

Extract ID: 5737

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Extract Author: Richard F. Burton
Page Number: 112a
Extract Date: 1857

Tsetse Fly

The Lake Regions of Central Africa

In this foul jungle our men also suffered severely from the tzetze [fly] .... On the line followed by the expedition, the tzetze was found extending from Usagara westwards as far as the central lakes; its usual habitat is the jungle-strip which incloses each patch of cultivated ground, and in the latter it is rarely seen. It has more persistency of purpose even than the Egyptian fly, and when beaten off it will return half dozen times to the charge; it can not be killed except by a smart blow, and its long, sharp proboscis draws blood even through a canvas hammock.... In the vicinity of Kilwa it was heard of under the name of "kipanga," the "little sword." It is difficult to conceive the purpose for which this plague was placed in a land so eminently fitted for breeding cattle and for agriculture.... Possibly at some future day, when the country becomes valuable, the tzetze may be exterminated by the introduction of some insectivorous bird, which will be the greatest benefactor that Central Africa ever knew.

Extract ID: 5739

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 114a
Extract Date: 1996

The road from Mikumi to Kilosa

We left the Mikumi Lodge at 8:00 a.m. Our route cut through a valley, past an enormous herd of elephants. Near the lodge entrance, a herd of buffalo grazed on a parched brown hill.

I was still trying very hard to follow the exact route of the explorers. From the coast to Dodoma was about one-third of the distance to Lake Tanganyika, and for this first third of our trip it was a struggle to follow Burton's route and to match modern settlements to his place names. What happened, I think, was that the villages grew, or moved, or a town name came to be applied to an area. Also, before the influx of Europeans, the language of this area had no written form and Burton could have misheard names. There were times when I wished I had not decided to try to trace Burton's exact route. But then I would not have made the journey I wanted to make. Burton was a careful and complete diarist. He was exact about where he had gone and why. We found that, west of Dodoma, we could match our route to Burton's much more precisely.

Along the road from Mikumi to Kilosa we saw Sterculia trees. Tall and straight, with pale yellow bark, it is a dramatic deciduous tree with a dense rounded crown. We noticed it all over the countryside. As well, enormously tall, deciduous kapok trees lined the road. They had light-coloured bark and pods hanging from their branches, dark brown outside, like cocoa pods, that split open to reveal the fluffy white substance inside.

The road was bad, not paved, but we kept on, heading directly north. One town we passed through was called Ulaya, meaning "Europe," so called because the first person to camp in this place was a European. We also crossed a road leading to the town of Rumuma, another Burton place name. This region is home to the Sagara tribe.

Extract ID: 5744

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Extract Author: Richard F. Burton
Page Number: 138a
Extract Date: 1857

The arms are slender assegais

The Lake Regions of Central Africa

The arms are slender assegais with the shoulders of the blade rounded Some have large spears for thrusting, and men rarely leave the hut without their bows and arrows, the latter unpoisoned, but curiously and cruelly barbed. They make also the long double-edged knives called sime, and different complications of rungu or knob-kerries, some of them armed with an iron lance-head upon the wooden bulge. Dwarf battle-axes are also seen, but not so frequently as amongst the western races on the Tanganyika Lake. The shield in Unyamwezi resembles that of Usagara; it is however rarely used.

Extract ID: 5765

See also

Arusha Times
Extract Author: By a correspondent
Page Number: 313
Extract Date: 25 March 2004

How Tanga survived the ‘Ice Cream War"

Two prominent families of Asian origin have their roots in Tanga. The Karimjee Jivanjee family settled in Tanga in 1830 while that of Khanbhai has a history in that coastal town that dates back to 1836. After many years of neglect, what makes Tanga tick today is only its history.

Tanga is the most important Tanzania port after Dar, and lies just south of the Kenyan border. Like Bagamoyo, it has an air of fading decadence about it and would not feature in any travel guide were it not for the superb beaches which sprawl to the south of the town, and the vibrant night life that transforms the town after dark. It was here that a German expeditionary force led by Colonel von Lettow-Vorbeck defeated a joint British and Indian landing force in 1914, aided and abetted by millions of angry bees whose hives had been destroyed by gunfire.

The tragic though comical consequences of that battle shaped the opening chapter of William Boyd’s contemporary novel, ‘An Ice Cream War’. About a thousand years ago persons migrated to Tanga and gave it its name, which in Persian has four meanings: straight, green valley, road beside mountain, farm on mountain or rolling hill.

In 1857 Richard Burton, the explorer, visited Tanga and described it as a patch of thatched pent roofed huts, built upon a bank overlooking the sea".

He estimated the population to be 4,000 to 5,000, which included fifteen Baluchis and twenty Indian merchants. The town was under the rule of The Sultan of Zanzibar. At that time Tanga was trading post dealing mainly in ivory. The annual trade in ivory was about 70,000 lbs. Tanga was a small outlying settlement compared to its more prosperous neighbour, Pangani.

With the coming of the Germans to East Africa in the last quarter of 19th century, the port of Tanga probably offered less resistance to The Germans compared to, for example, Pangani, which was more heavily fortified. The Germans took control of the coastal area from the Sultan of Zanzibar in April 1891 calling their colony Tanganyika. In the same year, Tanga was designated a township.

From then on, large scale developments, pushed by private German commercial interests took place. A wharf with a railway line to the interior was developed, construction of the Railway line started in 1896. The line reached Korogwe in 1902; Mombo in 1904 magnificent Cliff block hospital was built in 1902.

The Usambara Mountains were opened up as reliable roads and bridges were built which are still in use today. Rail line was also planned to go to Lushoto and beyond. A short line was built at Shume; parts of it still exist today. The Tanga town centre was also properly planned and developed. Most of the commercial cum residential buildings in use today are from that German period of 1891 to 1914.

Sisal, a plant that looks like yucca, was introduced into Tanganyika by the Germans in 1893. Sisal produces the longest and strongest natural plant fibres, hence the longest and strongest ropes, everything from the largest ropes to tie battle ships to docks to twine for boxes. Sisal was so lucrative with no competitors that it was then called the ‘white gold of Tanganyika’.

Tanga became the largest producer and exporter of Sisal in the world. In 1913, Tanga exported 20,800 tons of Sisal fibre from its port. In 1914, during World War One, an historic battle between the German and the invading British forces was fought in Tanga. The battle is vividly described in the book "Ice Cream War" by William Boyd. The British forces suffered a serious defeat. However, two years later, the British finally pushed the Germans out. There are three graveyards in town exclusively dedicated to the fallen soldiers from those battles.

The British ruled Tanga (and Tanganyika) till independence in 1961.

The Sisal industry reached its peak during this period exporting 200,000 tons in 1958; thereafter nationalization, mismanagement and the rise of synthetics to replace natural fibres destroyed the Sisal, which today is about 8 per cent of 1958. The rise of the Sisal industry in Tanga brought in migrant labourers from throughout the country and the neighbouring countries. Many of these labourers have stayed on. This has given Tanga a truly African cosmopolitan population, with almost all tribes of Tanzania having a considerable presence in Tanga. The indigenous tribe living around the town is the Digo.

They are mainly Moslems, who live on or near the coast. Fishing and subsistence agriculture is the main socio-economic activity. Tanga is renowned for its powerful presence in the Kiswahili literature scene. It has produced some literacy giants and is in the forefront of pushing the language to new heights. For instance, the legendary Shaaban Robert, an author and poet of many authoritative works, was a Tanga resident and is buried a short distance from the town.

Tanga is today the fourth largest town in Tanzania and the second largest port.

Extract ID: 4706

See also

Tanganyika Guide
Page Number: 50
Extract Date: 1953

Section IV—Tabora to Kigoma

West of Tabora the journey leads through densely populated and well-cultivated country for about 40 miles until, at Usoke, the savannah woodland is once more entered. From Kaliva, a little farther on, a branch railway has been built to the richly mineralised country containing the Mpanda Mine. Still farther on, the line dips into the deeply eroded Malagarasi Valley, and runs for some distance along the river, with the Uvinza Salt Works visible on the opposite side. The excellent salt produced at this place was well known when Burton, the explorer, passed by on his way to Lake Tanganyika in 1857, and Africans still come from places hundreds of miles away to purchase it. The salt also finds a good market far into the Eastern Congo.

Once more the line leaves the main valley and climbs to a plateau, finally descending into the Central African Rift. Then come a few low hills, a few groves of oil palms, and the train pulls up on the shore of Kigoma Bay, a sheet of dark blue water, surrounded on three sides by pleasant hills, while through the fourth shines the surface of mighty Lake Tanganyika.

Although the development of Kigoma was severely checked by the war, the port now has a considerable trade from the shores of the lake, from the Belgian Congo and from Ruanda-Urundi. From Kigoma the traveller should not fail to visit the old Arab port of Ujiji, three miles across the hills on the open shores of the lake, where a monument marks the site of the old mango tree under which Stanley met Livingstone in 1871. There are many pleasant walks along the hilltops of Kigoma Peninsula, with splendid views of the lake and the distant Congo Mountains.

Extract ID: 5540

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 112
Extract Date: 9 Aug 1857

Red-billed hornbil

Burton was a keen observer of flora and fauna. For instance,

"We left Mzizi Mdogo on the 9th August, much cheered by the well-omened appearance of a bird with a red bill, white breast, and long tail-feathers."

This description fits the red-billed hornbill: Burton may have been the first European to see this bird, and, if so, perhaps it should be called Burton's red-billed hornbill. Speke has a weaver-bird named after him; and Grant a gazelle. We saw red-billed hornbills all along the route that Burton and Speke travelled on their way from Bagamoyo to Lake Tanganyika.

Burton also made some interesting observations about the Tsetse Fly. His love for it was no greater than ours:

Extract ID: 5738

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Extract Author: Richard F. Burton
Page Number: 113a
Extract Date: 24 Aug 1857

Siyafu Ants

The Lake Regions of Central Africa

Late in the morning of the 24th of August,… we followed the path that leads from Mbumi along the right bank of the Mukondokwa River to its ford…. The path was slippery with mud, and man and beast were rendered wild by the cruel stings of a small red ant and a huge black pismire. The former crossed the road in dense masses like the close columns of any army. They are large-headed, showing probably that they are defenders of the republic, and that they perform the duties of soldiers in their excursions. Though they can not spring, they show great quickness in fasteningthemselves to the foot or ankle as it brushes over them. The pismire, known to the people as the "chungu-fundo," or "siyafu" from the Arabic "siyaf" is a horse-ant, about an inch 12.5 centimetres] in length, whose bulldog-like head and powerful mandibles enables it to destroy rats and mice, lizards and snakes. It loves damp places upon the banks of rivers and stagnant waters; it burrows but never raises hills, and it appears scattered for miles over the paths.

Extract ID: 5741

See also

Fosbrooke, H.A. The Early Exploration of Kilimanjaro: A Bibliographical Note
Page Number: 05
Extract Date: 1872

`Kizungu" (meaning "European" in Swahili)

Richard Burton (1872, Vol II, p.237) mentions a village called `Kizungu" (meaning "European" in Swahili) an inland settlement of the Wazeguva " which he states was mentioned by Krapf as having been occupied by Portuguese." Thus there are indications of stepping stones from the favoured port of Pangani, following the Ruvu rivier right up to Kilimanjaro, but there exists no record of who used this route or of what they saw when they arrived in Chaggaland.

Extract ID: 4548

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 133a
Extract Date: 1996

Tabora from Bagamoyo

It had taken us five and a half days to reach Tabora from Bagamoyo. It took Burton and Speke nearly five months. We had driven 1,400 kilometres, though the distance from Bagamoyo to Tabora is about 680 kilometres in a straight line.

Burton, Speke, and Grant always referred to this town as Kazeh, though everyone else called it Tabora. Kazeh was founded by the Arabs about 1825 as a caravan depot. It eventually became the hub of the slave routes that spread north to Speke's "Great Lake" (Victoria), to Karagwe on its western shore, west to Lake Tanganyika, and south to the populous shoreline of Lake Malawi. Because Kazeh lay on the main route to the coast, it is not surprising that all the early explorers, including Livingstone and Stanley, journeyed through it.

Burton described the expedition's flamboyant entry into the town. As usual the explorers took steps to impress the local population with their dignity and importance:

Extract ID: 5761

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 138
Extract Date: 1996

So they went west

So they went west, and Speke was not to have a chance to slake his curiosity until after they returned to Kazeh six months later. About the lake to the north, Burton would write,

"... by his [Snay bin Amir's] distances and directions we were enabled to lay down the southern limits and the general shape of the Nyanza or Northern Lake as correctly — and the maps forwarded from Kazeh to the Royal Geographical Society will establish in fact — as were subsequently determined, after actual exploration, by my companion."

Burton is being defensive here for on these maps he had, in fact, "adjusted" the distances, dimensions, and shape recorded by Speke. He wanted Lake Tanganyika to be the source of the Nile, but in the event was not able to either prove or disprove it. He accepted the fact of the three large lakes, but did not, like Speke, continue to quiz people for details about them. Information was there for the asking, and Speke was hungry for details and directions. On the trip to Lake Tanganyika, he came to think that what we now know is the eastern escarpment of the western rift valley was the eastern end of a great arc of mountains, the Mountains of the Moon of Ptolemy. Even so, or perhaps even more so, by the time they returned to Kazeh, Speke had become preoccupied with the idea that Lake Victoria might be the source of the Nile. Burton was equally convinced it was not.

Extract ID: 5764
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