Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile

Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile

"Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772 and 1773" is an multi-volume account of the Scottish traveller James Bruce of his journeys in the Horn of Africa, which includes an eye-witness account of Ethiopian history and culture, as well as a description of that country and the neighboring kingdom of Sennar and the Ottoman province of Habesh.

Bruce and his sensational stories were received with incredulity upon his return to London in 1774 after more than a dozen years of travel in North Africa and Abyssinia (Ethiopia) where he traced the Blue Nile.

His "Travels" was issued in 1790, after he retired to his home at Kinnaird, at the urging of his friend Daines Barrington. It was published in five octavo volumes, lavishly illustrated, but was ridiculed by scholars and other travellers as being exaggerated nonsense. The substantial accuracy of his Abyssinian travels was later confirmed, and it is considered that he made a real addition to the geographical knowledge of his day.

Bruce also wrote an autobiography, part of which is printed in editions of his "Travels", published in 1805 and 1813, accompanied by a biographical notice by the editor, Alexander Murray. The best 19th century edition of the "Travels" is the third (Edinburgh, 1813, 8 vols.).

Of the 19th century abridgments, the best is that of Major (afterwards Sir Francis) Head, the author of a well-informed "Life of Bruce" (London, 1830).

elected Editions

* "Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772 and 1773". Five Volumes, G.G.J. and J. Robinson, London, 1790.
* "Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772 and 1773", Second edition, Ed., Alexander Murray, 1805.
* "Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772 and 1773", Third edition, 8 volumes; Ed., Alexander Murray; Edinburgh, 1813.
* "Travels". Abridged edition, by Major Francis Head, 18??.
* "Travels". Abridged edition, by C.F. Beckingham. Horizon Press, New York, 1964.

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