Edward Robert Flegel - Encyclopedia

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EDWARD ROBERT FLEGEL (1855-1886), German traveller in West Africa, was born on the 1st of October 1855 at Wilna, Russia. After receiving a commercial education he obtained in 1875 a position in Lagos, West Africa. In 1879 he ascended the Benue river some 125 m. above the farthest point hitherto reached. His careful survey of the channel secured him a commission from the German African Society to explore the whole Benue district. In 1880 he went up the Niger to Gomba, and then visited Sokoto, where he obtained a safe-conduct from the sultan for his intended expedition to Adamawa. This expedition was undertaken in 1882, and on the 18th of August in that year Flegel discovered the source of the Benue at Ngaundere. In 1883-1884 he made another journey up the Benue, crossing for the second time the Benue-Congo watershed. After a short absence in Europe Flegel returned to Africa in April 1885 with a commission from the German African Company and the Colonial Society to open up the Niger-Benue district to German trade. This expedition had the support of Prince Bismarck, who endeavoured, unsuccessfully, to obtain for Germany this region, already secured as a British sphere of influence by the National African Company (the Royal Niger Company). Flegel, despite a severe illness, ascended the Benue to Yola, but was unable to accomplish his mission. He returned to the coast and died at Brass, at the mouth of the Niger, on the 11th of September 1886. (See further Goldie, Sir George.) Flegel wrote Lose Blotter aus dem Tagebuche meiner Haussaafreunde (Hamburg, 1885), and Vom Niger-Benue. Briefe aus Afrika (edited by K. Flegel, Leipzig, 1890).

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