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Synopsis

Mungo Park (11 September 1771 – 1806) was a Scottish explorer of the African continent. He was credited as being the first Westerner to encounter the Niger River.

Mungo Park was born in Selkirkshire, Scotland at Foulshiels on the Yarrow Water, near Selkirk, on a tenant farm which his father rented from the Duke of Buccleuch.In 1794 Park offered his services to the African Association, then looking for a successor to Major Daniel Houghton, who had been sent in 1790 to discover the course of the Niger River and had died in the Sahara. On 21 June 1795, he reached the Gambia River and ascended it 200 miles to a British trading station named Pisania. On 2 December, accompanied by two local guides, he started for the unknown interior. The journey was full of difficulties, and at Ludamar he was imprisoned by a Moorish chief for four months.

On 1 July 1796, he escaped, alone and with nothing but his horse and a pocket compass, and on the 21st reached the long-sought Niger River at Ségou, being the first European to do so. An account of his journey containing detailed narrative appeared in 1799 (Travels in the Interior of Africa).

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