Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa: Being a Journal of an Expedition Undertaken Under the Auspices of H.B.M.'s Government, in the Years 1849-1855.
London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts, 1857-58. First English edition. Five volumes. 8vo. Contemporary tan full calf, spines with raised bands, original red title labels with sympathetically renewed green author and volume labels, loss of gilt to the other compartments, all edges and endpapers marbled. Gift inscription to the half title of volume I from George Taubman Goldie to Lady Florence Norman with a later inscription in her son Ronald's hand beneath stating that "These volumes Belonged to [Goldie] founder of Nigeria... It was through reading these, as he told me, that his attention was first directed to Africa". 60 lithographed plates, 15 folding maps and 1 folding woodcut plan plus further woodcuts in the text. A small nick to the title label of volume I, neat repairs to the joints of each volume, a very good set. George Taubman Goldie (1846-1925) was an unconventional character who by circumstance and opportunity developed British commercial and political interests in the Niger region in the 1870s and 1880s. In the scramble for land being contested with the French, Goldie sought and gained chartered status from the British Government for his enterprises, initially as the National African Company and subsequently as the Royal Niger Company. Thus he secured British rule in the area and, for a time, a near commercial monopoly for his company. Goldie's earlier life was somewhat more romantic. After leaving military service he moved to Egypt and on falling in love with an Arab woman he settled in Sudan for several years. At this time he "read most of what was written about the savanna belt of Muslim territory stretching across to the Atlantic" (ODNB), presumably including this important work. Abbey, Travel, 274. Item #23883