PARK, Al UN(70 (1771-1800). An eminent African explorer. He was born near Selkirk, in Scotland. was educated in Edinburgh Univer sity, and devoted his attention particularly to the study of surgery, In 1792 he went to the East Indies as a surgeon in the sea service of the East India Company. Returning from his first voyage, he offered his services to the African Association, which for half a eentury was the chief promoter of the exploration of Africa. Under its auspices, in 1795, at the age of twenty four, he went to the Cambia River with instruc tions to reach the Niger River and to ascertain its source, its course, and, if possible, its ter mination. After acquiring some knowledge of the Mandingo language, he set out for the in terior in December, 1795, crossed the Senegal, and finally reached the Niger at Sego in July, 1796. Ile went down the river until lie was within fifteen days' travel of Timbuktu, which he could not reach on account of the tropical rains and because he had entered the country of merciless and fanatical Mohammedans. After having been in the interior for nineteen months lie returned home and wrote Travels ire, the In terior of Africa (1799; frequently reprinted).
The achievements of this solitary white man in inner Africa excited the widest interest. lie had brought to light more important facts re specting the geography of Western Africa than had any former traveler. By pointing out the
positions of the sources of the Senegal and Gambia, he showed where to look for the elevated parts of the country, and for the water-partings between the Gambia and Niger, and between the fertile country and the desert. The success of his first journey induced the British Government to employ him to complete the discovery of the course of the Niger. lie received a captain's commission, and was accompanied by his brother in-law, Anderson, and forty-five English soldiers, besides natives. Ile started into the interior in April, 1805. The employment of white soldiers soon proved a fatal mistake. Many died, and, when the party embarked in canoes on tile Niger to float down to its mouth, it had dwindled to seven men. Anderson died in October. Un daunted by his misfortunes, Park was resolved to find the month of the Niger. He sailed more than 1000 miles, but, entering a stretch of rapids below Yuri on the lower river. while both shores were lined with hostile natives, the boat was wrecked, and Park and his three surviving com rades were downed. The journal he sent home and information obtained by later explorers give all the facts known about his last expedition. An "Account of the Life of Mango Park," by Wishaw, was published in Park's Journal of a Mission to the Interior of Africa (1815).