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Excellent biography of the discoverer of the Blue Nile
on 3 June 2002
This is the story of James Bruce, an extraordinary Scot (like so many of them!)who in a private capacity and at his own expense set out in the late 18th century to discover the source of the Nile, which had been a quest of rulers and geographers from the earliest times of mankind.
He was following in the steps of a Spanish Jesuit, Pedro Páez, who had been there two centuries earlier. Discoveries not being the primary purpose of Páez's mission, the Jesuits had not given much publicity to the feat (although Bruce knew about it).
The book is a thrilling account of Bruce's travels; of his lengthy stay in Northern Ethiopia, then (as almost always) in the throes of civil war, never knowing whether he'd live to see the next day; and of his return to Europe by the difficult and bandit-infested Nubian desert. Whilst in Ethiopia, among other things he was appointed governor of a border state and later given the command of an Ethiopian cavalry squadron.
Bruce had discovered the source of the Blue Nile, which carries most of the water. The world would have to wait another hundred years for Speke and Burton to discover the source of the White Nile. The two make junction in present day Khartoum.
When Bruce returned to England and Scotland, his accomplishments had been so extraordinary that they were not believed! He was only fully vindicated many years later.
Unless you want to read first-hand the lengthy account of his travels in his book "Travels", this one is highly recommended!