First Footsteps in East Africa

or An Exploration in Harar

BURTON, Richard

BURTON'S ATTEMPT TO ENTER HARAR

BURTON, Richard First Footsteps in East Africa or An Exploration in Harar

Longmans, 1856.

First edition. Original publisher's red cloth lettered gilt to the spine and blind floral border to the covers (Penzer's secondary binding, as usual). Four chromolithograph plates and two steel engraved maps and seven steel engravings in the text. A very good copy indeed, spine slightly browned and patches of wear to the joints and corners. Internally fresh with hinges perfect.

Burton's first expedition into East Africa, made with the purpose of exploring the forbidden Islamic city of Harar.
"No European had ever entered Harar, and its inhabitants believed that should any Christian do so, the city would fall... Burton sailed from Aden on 29 October 1854, disguised as a Turkish merchant. After some pleasant preparatory weeks in the town of Zayla on the Somali coast, he started for Harar. As he approached the city, however, he fell under suspicion of being a foreign spy. Reasoning that his Turkish identity would afford little protection from the amir of Harar, who was notorious for capriciously executing people or leaving them to languish in his dungeons, he decided to present himself as a British agent on a diplomatic mission, forging a letter to that effect, in hopes that the amir would be unwilling to offend the British government. On 3 January 1855 he entered Harar. The amir received him courteously, although Burton spent an uneasy ten days in the city before being allowed to depart... As was becoming customary with Burton, his experience translated directly into a book, First Footsteps in East Africa, or, An Exploration of Harar (1856). The experience also whetted Burton's appetite for further African exploration." (Jason Thompson, ODNB).

Penzer p.60-63

Stock ID: 37189

£3,000.00

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