Gustav Nachtigal

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Gustav Nachtigal
BirthplaceEichstedt, Kingdom of Prussia
Military surgeon
Commissioner for West Africa
Consul-general for the German Empire
Known for German explorer of Africa

Nachtigal, Gustav


Born Feb. 23, 1834, in Eichstätt, near the city of Stendal, Saxony; died Mar. 20, 1885, on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean, south of the Canary Islands. German military physician, explorer, and colonizer.

From 1869 to 1874, while serving as the Prussian emissary, Nachtigal explored the Tibesti massif, the region of Lake Chad, and the right-bank region of the Shari River. He was the first to explore the Wadai plateau. In 1884, as imperial commissioner, Nachtigal was sent on a gunboat to the Gulf of Guinea, and between July 5 and July 14, 1884, he established a German protectorate over Togoland and Cameroon.


Sahara und Sudan, vols. 1–3. Berlin-Leipzig, 1879–89.
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The monograph's centrepiece, however, is a detailed discussion of the travel writing by German nineteenth-century explorers in Africa such as Heinrich Barth, Georg Schweinfurth, Gustav Nachtigal, Gerhart Rohlfs, and Hermann von Wissmann.
He is best known for translating (with his father) Sahara and Sudan, the travel account by Gustav Nachtigal.