Born Apr. 14, 1831, in Vegesack, near the city of Bremen; died June 2, 1896, in Rüngsdorf, near the city of Bad Godesberg. German explorer of Africa.
In the period 1855–60, Rohlfs participated in many military campaigns with the French Foreign Legion in Algeria. He mastered Arabic and studied Islam. By posing as a Muslim, he entered the service of the sultan of Morocco (1861), who named him chief military doctor. Rohlfs spent three years traveling throughout the country, twice crossing the Grand Atlas Mountains. He explored the desert region of Tafilalet, whence he traveled in 1864 across the oases of the Algerian Sahara to the city of Tripoli. In the period 1865–67 he became the first to traverse North Africa, going from Tripoli south to Lake Chad, then southwest across Nigeria to the city of Lagos. In the years 1873–74, Rohlfs headed a German expedition to the western oases of Egypt, and in the period 1878–79 he studied the A1 Ku-frah oasis in the Libyan desert. From 1884 to 1885 he was the German imperial commissioner to the island of Zanzibar.
WORKSReisedurch Marokko. Bremen, 1868.
Quer durch Africa, vols. 1–2. Leipzig, 1874–75.
Kufra. Leipzig, 1881.
I. P. MAGIDOVICH