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View Diary: Through the gates of Timbuktu (17 comments)

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  •  Thank you! (7+ / 0-)

    Very interesting!  I am going to republish this at Readers & Book Lovers and add tags...just because...

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    by cfk on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:42:37 PM PST

    •  Thanks very much (6+ / 0-)

      for stopping by and for the republish. :)

      •  I read this book a while ago (6+ / 0-)

        Race for Timbuktu: In Search of Africa's City of Gold by Frank T. Kryza


        In the first decades of the nineteenth century, no place burned more brightly in the imagination of European geographers––and fortune hunters––than the lost city of Timbuktu. Africa's legendary City of Gold, not visited by Europeans since the Middle Ages, held the promise of wealth and fame for the first explorer to make it there. In 1824, the French Geographical Society offered a cash prize to the first expedition from any nation to visit Timbuktu and return to tell the tale.

        One of the contenders was Major Alexander Gordon Laing, a thirty–year–old army officer. Handsome and confident, Laing was convinced that Timbuktu was his destiny, and his ticket to glory. In July 1825, after a whirlwind romance with Emma Warrington, daughter of the British consul at Tripoli, Laing left the Mediterranean coast to cross the Sahara. His 2,000–mile journey took on an added urgency when Hugh Clapperton, a more experienced explorer, set out to beat him. Apprised of each other's mission by overseers in London who hoped the two would cooperate, Clapperton instead became Laing's rival, spurring him on across a hostile wilderness...

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        by cfk on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:52:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  the race to timbuktu (7+ / 0-)

          seems like part of what made it so mysterious to europeans was its inaccessibility.  Even now, hundreds of years later, it's not easy to get to (unless of course you cheat and fly in).  The paved road ends long before you get there and the trail is one of rough rocks and sand.  I was a little terrified even knowing that our driver had done this route many times.

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