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Mungo Park, surgeon, botanist, and explorer, was born in Scotland into a society increasingly fascinated with the dark and largely uncharted continent of Africa. Following his medical training, Park first broke new ground as a botanist, discovering eight new species of fish off the coast of Sumatra. It was in 1795, however, at the tender age of 23, that Park truly made his name, leading an expedition that consisted only of himself and local guides. Travels in the Interior of Africa is the explorer's own account of this momentous attempt to chart the course of Niger river, and the perils and wonders that accompanied his journey. The bare facts of this expedition into a land both hostile and savage, welcoming and lavish, seemed stranger than any fiction, and yet remain simply observations upon the most intrepid of adventures.
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Mungo Park was born on 10 September 1771, at Foulshiels, Scotland. He excelled academically, studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh. His first major contribution was to be in the field of natural science, discovering eight new species of fish off Sumatra. His travels in Africa however, and his courageous attempts to map the course of the Niger river sealed his place in history. Many conflicting reports exist regarding Park's death, but it is generally accepted to have been in January 1806, on the Niger.
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