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October 20: The African Explorer

October 20, 2014
220px-Schnitzler,_Edward,_Emin_Pacha,_par_Carletti,_BNF_GallicaMehmet Emin Pasha, born Eduard Schnitzer to German Jewish parents who baptized him in the Catholic Church at the age of 2, died on this date in 1892, age 52, after a career as a physician, explorer, and colonial governor of Turkish-controlled northern Albania and British-controlled Equatoria (now South Sudan). He "contributed vastly to the knowledge of African geography, natural history, ethnology, and languages," according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "... made extensive and valuable surveys, and also brought an end to slavery in the region." During the Islamic jihadi uprising known as the Mahdi (in the 1880s), Emin was "rescued" by Henry ("Dr. Livingstone, I presume") Stanley, whose expedition went up the Congo River and through the Ituri Forest, an arduous journey that resulted in the loss of two-thirds of Stanley's expedition. According to the New York Times, however, "Emin Pasha didn't actually want to be rescued at all. Remote as his situation was, he was much better equipped than Stanley, who more or less had to force him to come out." Emin spoke Turkish, Albanian, and Greek as well as other European languages, and was widely regarded as a Muslim, although his actual conversion is in doubt. His death came at the hands of Arab slave-raiders in the Congo. "Though Emin Pasha published no books, he wrote many valuable papers on Africa for German journals and forwarded rich and varied collections of animals and plants to Europe." —Encyclopedia Brittanica