Niger River - Encyclopedia

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NIGER, a great river of West Africa, inferior only to the Congo and Nile among the rivers of the continent, and the only river in Africa which, by means of its tributary the Benue, affords a waterway uninterrupted by rapids, and available for shallow-draught steamers, to the far interior. Rising within 50 m. of the sea in the mountainous zone which marks the N.E. frontiers of Sierra Leone and French Guinea, it traverses the interior plateaus in a vast curve, flowing N.E., E. and S.E., until it finally enters the Gulf of Guinea through an immense delta. Its total length is about 2600 m. About 250 m. from its mouth it is joined by the Benue, coming from the east from the mountainous region of Adamawa. From its mouth to the limit of navigability from the sea the river is in British territory; above that point it flows through French territory.

The source of the Niger lies in 9° 5' N. and 10° 47' W., and the most northerly point of the great bend is about 17° N. The area of the Niger basin, excluding the arid regions with a slope towards the stream, has been calculated by Dr. A. Bludau at 584,000 sq. m. The river is known locally under various names, the most common being Joliba (a Mandigo word meaning Great River) and Kworra or Quorra. By the last name the Niger was known in its lower reaches before its identity with the upper river was established. The stream considered the chief source of the Niger is called the Tembi. A narrow watershed separates it from the headwaters of the o P streams flowing south-west through Sierra Leone. The birthplace of the Niger is in a deep ravine 2800 ft. above sealevel. From a moss-covered rock a tiny spring issues and has made a pool below. This little stream is the Tembi, which within a short distance is joined by two other rivulets, the Tamincono and Falico, which have their origin in the same mountainous district. After flowing north for about roo m., the river turns eastward and receives several tributaries from the south. At its confluence with the Tankisso (a northern tributary), 2 10 m:'from its source, the river has attained dimensions sufficient to earn for itself the title Joliba. Taking at this point a decided trend northward, the Niger, roo m. lower down, at Bamako - the first considerable town on its banks - has a depth of 6 ft. with a breadth of 1300 ft. Seven or eight miles below Bamako the Sotuba rocks mark the end of what may be considered the upper river. From this point the navigable portion of the Niger begins. Thirty miles below Sotuba are the rapids of Tulimandio, but these are navigable when the river is at its highest, namely from July to October. A little lower down is Kulikoro, from which point the bed of the stream for over r000 m. is fairly free from impediments.

The river here turns more directly to the east and increases in volume and depth. At Sansandig the stream is deep enough to permit of steamers of considerable size plying upon the river. After Sansandig is passed the banks of The the stream become low and the Niger is split up into a number of channels. Mopti is at the junction of the main stream with a large right-hand backwater or tributary, the Bani or Mabel Balevel, on which is situated the important town of Jenne. The banks of the Niger below Mopti become swampy and treeless, and the first of a series of lakes (Debo) is reached. These lakes are chiefly on the left of the main stream, with which they are connected by channels conveying the water in one direction or the other according to the season. At high water most of these are united into one general inundation. The largest lake, Faguibini, is nearly 70 m. long by 12 m. broad, has high shores and reaches a depth exceeding, in parts, r60 ft. It is not until Kabara, the port of Timbuktu, is reached, a distance of 450 m. from Sansandig, that the labyrinth of lakes, creeks and backwaters ceases. Below Kabara the river reaches its most northerly point. At Bamba it is shut in by steep banks and narrows to 600 to 700 yds., again spreading out some distance down. At Barka (200 m. from Timbuktu) the stream turns south-east and preserves that direction throughout the remainder of its course. At Tosaye, just before the bend becomes pronounced, the Baror and Chabar rocks reduce the width of the river to less than Soo ft., and at low water the strength of the current is a serious danger to navigation. Below Timbuktu for a considerable distance the Niger receives no tributaries; from the north none until the region of the Sahara is passed. In places the desert approaches close to the river on both banks and immense sand dunes fill the horizon.

At Ansongo, 430 m. below Timbuktu, the navigable reach of the middle Niger, in all 1057 m., ends. Four huge flint rocks bar the river at Ansongo and effectually prevent further navigation except in very small vessels. From Ansongo to Say, some 250 m., the river flows through several rocky passes, the current attaining great velocity. Throughout this distance the river is a hopeless labyrinth of rocks, islands, reefs and rapids. From Say, where the stream is about 700 yds. in breadth, to Bussa, there is another navigable stretch of water extending 300 m. After the desert region is past the Niger receives the waters of the river Sokoto, a considerable stream flowing from the northeast. Some distance below this confluence are the Bussa rapids, which can only be navigated with considerable difficulty. These rapids - though not such a hindrance to navigation - are of a more dangerous character than any encountered between Ansongo and Say. "In one pass, some 54 yds. wide, shut in between two large reefs, a good half of the waters of the Niger flings itself over with a tremendous roar" (Hourst). The rapids extend for 50 m. or more; in a less obstructive form they continue to Rabba, but light-draught steamers ascending the stream during flood season experience little difficulty in reaching Bussa. A little above Rabba the river makes a loop south-west, at the head of the loop being (right bank) Jebba. Here the river is bridged by the railway from Lagos. Sixty miles lower down is the mouth of the (left hand) tributary the Kaduna, a river of some magnitude which gives access to Zungeru, the headquarters of the British administration in Northern Nigeria. The head waters of the Kaduna are not far from Kano. Below the mouth of the Kaduna, on the right bank of the Niger, is Baro, the starting-point of a railway to Kano. In 7° 50' N. 6° 45' E. the Niger is joined by its great tributary the Benue. At their confluence the Niger is about three-quarters of a mile broad and the Benue rather more than a mile. The united stream forms a lake-like expansion about 2 m. in width, dotted with islands and sandbanks; the peninsula at the junction is low, swampy, and intersected by numerous channels. On the western bank of the Niger at this point is situated Lokoja, an important commercial centre. The stream, as far south as Iddah (Ida), a town on the east bank, rushes through a valley cut between the hills, the sandstone cliffs at some places rising 150 ft. high. Between Iddah and Onitsha, 80 m., the banks are lower and the country flatter, and to the south of Onitsha the whole land is laid under water during the annual Delta. floods. Here may be said to begin the great delta of the Niger, which, extending along the coast for about 120 m., and 140 or 150 m. inland, forms one of the most remarkable of all the swampy regions of Africa. The river breaks up into an intricate network of channels, dividing and subdividing, and intercrossing not only with each other but with the branches of other streams, so that it is exceedingly difficult to say where the Niger delta ends and another river system begins. The Rio Nun is a direct continuation of the line of the undivided river, and is thus the main mouth of the Niger.

From the sea the only indication of a river mouth is a break in the dark green mangroves which here universally fringe the coast. The crossing of the bar requires considerable care, and at ebb tide the outward current runs 51knots per hour. For the first 20 In. (or as far as Sunday Island, the limit of the sea tide in the dry season) dense lines of mangroves 40, 50, or 60 ft. in height shut in the channel; then palm and other trees begin to appear, and the widening river has regular banks. East of the Nun the estuaries known as the Brass, Sombrero, New Calabar, Bonny, Opobo (or Imo), &c. (with the exception, perhaps, of the first-named), seem to derive most of their water from independent streams such as the Orashi, rising in about 6° N., which is, however, linked with the Niger by the Onita Creek in 52° N. Behind the town of Okrika, some 30 m. up the Bonny river, the swampy ground gives place to firm land, partially forest-clad. West of the Nun all the estuaries up to the Forcados seem to be true mouths of the great river, while the Benin river, though linked to the others by transverse channels, may be more properly regarded as an independent stream. (See Benin.) In this direction the largest mouth is the Forcados, a noble stream with a safe and relatively deep bar. Its banks in its lower course are densely wooded, but the beach is sandy and almost free from marsh and malaria. The mouth is 2 m. wide. It has supplanted the Nun river as the chief channel of communication with the interior. There are 17 to 19 ft. of water over the Forcados bar, as against 13 ft. at the Nun mouth. Moreover the Forcados bar shifts little laterally, and within the bar is a natural harbour with an area of 3 to 4 sq. m. having a depth of 30 ft. at low water spring tides. From the mouth of the Forcados to the main stream is 105 m., with a minimum depth in the dry season of 7 ft. A northern arm affords ocean-going vessels access to Wari and 675 Sapele. The other western mouths of the Niger have as a rule shallow and difficult bars. The delta is the largest in Africa and covers 14,000 sq. m.

The Benue is by far the most important of the affluents of the Niger. The name signifies in the Batta tongue "Mother of Waters." The river rises in Adamawa in about 7° 40' N. and 13° 15' E. a little north of the town of Ngaundere, at a height of over 3000 ft. above the sea, being separated by a narrow water parting from one of the headstreams of the Logone, whose waters flow to Lake Chad. In its upper course the Benue is a mountain torrent falling over 2000 ft. in some 150 m. With the Chad system it is connected by the Kebbi or Mayo Kebbi, a right-hand tributary whose confluence is in about 91° N., 131° E. The Kebbi, fed by many torrents rising in the eastern versant of the Mandara Hills, issues from the S.W. end of the Tuburi marshes. These marshes occupy an extensive depression in the moderately elevated plateau east of the Mandara Hills, and are cut by 10° N., 15° E. The central part of the marshes forms a deep lake, whence there is a channel going northward to the Logone and navigable for some months during the year. The Kebbi flows west, and soon after leaving Tuburi passes through a rocky barrier marked by a series of rapids and a fall at Lata of 165 ft. Below these obstructions the Kebbi to its junction with the Benue has a depth of not less than 6 ft. In places, as at Lere and Bifara, it widens into lake-like dimensions.

Below the Kebbi confluence the Benue, now a considerable river, turns from a northerly to a westerly direction and is navigable all the year round by boats drawing not more than 21 ft. For some 40 m. below the confluence the river has an average width of 180 to 200 yds., and flows with a strong steady current, although a broad strip of countr y on each side is swampy or submerged. It is here joined by the Faro, which, rising in the Adamawa Mountains S.E. of Ngaundere, flows almost due north. About 50 m. below the junction of the Faro is Yola, the capital of Adamawa. It lies on the southern side of the Benue, some 850 m. by river from the sea and at an altitude of 600 ft. Here the width of the stream increases at flood time to woo or 1500 yds., and though it narrows at the somewhat dangerous rapids of Rumde Gilla to 150 or 180 yds., it soon expands again. About 50 m. below Yola the Benue receives, on the right bank, the Gongola, which rises in the Bauchi highlands and after a great curve north-east turns southward. It is over 300 m. long, and at flood time is navigable for about half of its course. The Benue receives several other tributaries both from the north and the south, but they are not of great importance. It flows onwards to the Niger with comparatively unobstructed current, its valleys marked for the most part by ranges of hills and its banks diversified with forests, villages and cultivated tracts. But though exceptionally free from obstruction by rapids, the river falls very low in the dry season, and for seven to eight months is almost useless for navigation. The Benue lies within British territory to a point 3 m. below the mouth of the Faro, in about 13° 8' E. East of that point the river is in the German colony of Cameroon.

As the Niger and the Benue have different gathering grounds, they are not in flood at the same time. The upper Niger rises in June as the result of the tropical rains, and decreases in December, its breadth at Turella expanding from between 2000 and 2500 ft. to not less than 11 m. The middle Niger, however, reaches its maximum near Timbuktu only in January; in February and March it sinks slowly above the narrows of Tosaye, and more rapidly below them, the level being kept up by supplies from backwaters and lakes; and by April there is a decrease of about 5 ft. In August the channel near Timbuktu is again navigable owing to rain in the southern highlands. The Benue reaches its greatest height in August or September, begins to fall in October, falls rapidly in November and slowly in the next three months, and reaches its lowest in March and April, when it is fordable in many places, has no perceptible flow and at the confluence begins to be covered with the water-weed Pistia Stratiotes. The flood rises with great rapidity, and reaches 50, 60, or even 75 ft. above the low-water mark.

The two confluents being so unlike, the united river differs from each under the influence of the other. Here the river is at its lowest in April and May; in June it is subject to great fluctuations; about the middle of August it usually begins to rise; and its maximum is reached in September. In October it sinks, often rapidly. A slight rise in January, known as the yangbe, is occasioned by water from the upper Niger. Between highand low-water mark the difference is as much as 35 ft.

The geological changes which have taken place in the Niger basin are imperfectly known. The French scientists E. F. Gautier and R. Chudeau, summing up the evidence available in 1909, set forth the hypothesis that the existing upper Niger and the existing lower Niger were distinct streams. According to this theory the upper Niger, somewhat above where Timbuktu now stands, went north and north-west and emptied into the Juf, which in the beginning of the quaternary age was a salt-water lake, the remnant of an arm of the sea which in the tertiary age covered the northern Sudan and southern Sahara as far east as Bilma. Lake Fagubini is regarded as a remnant of the ancient course of the upper river. When the upper Niger had this direction, the Wadi Taffassassent, now a dried-up river of the central Sahara, which rose in the Ahaggar mountains, is believed to have formed the upper course of the existing lower Niger. While the upper and lower parts of the Niger have all the appearance of ancient streams, the middle Niger is the result of a "recent" capture; "it has no past, it scarcely has a present" (see R. Chudeau, Sahara soudanais, Paris, 1909).

Vague ideas of the existence of the river were possessed by the ancients. The great river flowing eastward reached by the Nasamonians as reported by Herodotus can be no other than the Niger. Pliny mentions a river Nigris, and ex- ploration. of the same nature with the Nile, separating Africa and Ethiopia, and forming the boundary of Gaetulia; and it is not improbable that this is the modern Niger. In Ptolemy, too, appears along with Gir (possibly the Shari) a certain Nigir (NL'yap) as one of the largest rivers of the interior; but so vague is his description that it is impossible definitely to identify it with the Niger.' Arabian geographers, such as Ibn Batuta, who were acquainted with the middle course of the river, called it the Nile of the Negroes. At the same time contradictory opinions were held as to the course of the stream. It was supposed by some geographers to run west, an opinion probably first stated by Idrisi in the 12th century. Idrisi gave the Nile of Egypt and the Nile of the Negroes a common source in the Mountain of the Moon. Fountains from the mountain formed two lakes, whence issued streams which united in a very large lake. From this third lake issued two rivers - the Nile of Egypt flowing north, and that of the Negroes flowing west (see R. Dozy and M. J. de Goeje's Edrisi, Leiden, 1866: Premier Climat, 1st 4 sections). From Idrisi's description it would appear that he regarded the Shari, Lake Chad, the Benue, Niger and Senegal as one great river which emptied into the Atlantic. 2 That the Niger flowed west and reached the ocean was also stated by Leo Africanus. The belief that a western branch of the Nile emptied itself into the Atlantic was held by Prince Henry of Portugal, who instructed the navigators he despatched to Guinea to look for the mouth of the river, and when in 1445 they entered the estuary of the Senegal the Portuguese were convinced that they had discovered the Nile of the Negroes (see Azurara's Discovery and Conquest of Guinea, Beazley and Prestage's translation, vol. ii., London, 1899, chaps. lx. and lxi., and introduction and notes). The Senegal being proved an independent river and the eastward flow of the Niger assumed, the theory that it ran into the Nile was revived, and almost to the very year in which the course of the river was actually demonstrated geographers and travellers, such as J. G. Jackson in his Empire of Marocco, first published in 1809, fought zealously for the identity of the Nile of the Negroes with the river of Egypt. The highest scientific authority of the day, Major James Rennell, believed, however, that the Niger ended, by evaporation, in the country of "Wangara" - a region located by him, through a misreading of Idrisi, far too much 1 Sir Rufane Donkin in a curious and learned work, A Dissertation on. .. the Niger (1829), made the Niger join the Gir, which last stream he calls the Nile of Bornu. The united river ran north, disappeared underground in the Sahara and reached the Mediterranean at "the quicksands of the gulph of Sidra." Donkin believed that the desert, advancing eastwards, would overwhelm the Egyptian Nile also in its lower course. "The Delta," he exclaims, "shall become a plashy quicksand, a second Syrtis ! and the Nile shall cease to exist from the Lower Cataract downwards." 2 The hydrography of northern central Africa as now known largely explains the medieval belief in a connexion between the western rivers and the Egyptian Nile. Leaving out of account the Welle-Ubangi (and Idrisi's description of the two Niles may infer a knowledge of that stream, which was supposed by Schweinfurth to form part of the Chad system), there is an almost continuous waterway from the mouth of the Senegal to that of the Nile. The upper waters of the Bakoy branch of the Senegal and those of the navigable Niger are less than 40 m. apart; the Niger communicates directly through the Benue, Lake Tuburi and the Logone with the Shari; the easternmost affluents of the Shari and the most western tributaries of the Bahr el Ghazel affluent of the Nile are within 20 m. of one another. With but three short porterages a boat could be navigated the whole of this distance. Moreover, from the confluence of the Ghazel the Nile is navigable (at high water) the entire distance to the Mediterranean. (See also Shari.) to the east, between 15° and 20° E. (see Rennell's map in Hornemann's Travels, 1802). To Rennell the Benue was an eastflowing continuation of the Niger.' The imagined existence of mountains - called Kong in the west and Komri (Lunar) in the east - stretching in a high and unbroken chain across Africa about 10° N. long prevented geographers from thinking of a possible southern bend to the Niger. That the vast network of rivers on the Guinea coast, of which the Nun was the chief, known as the Oil Rivers, formed the delta. of the Niger does not appear to have been suspected before the beginning of the 19th century. Consequently it was from the direction of its source that the river was first explored in modern times. In 1795 Mungo Park was sent out by the African Association, and was the first European to see and describe the upper river. Park landed at the Gambia, and struck the Niger near Segu (a town some distance above Sansandig) on the 10th of July 1796, where he beheld it "glittering in the morning sun as broad as the Thames at Westminster and flowing slowly to. the eastward" (Travels, 1st ed. p. 194). He descended the river some distance, and on his return journey went up stream as far as Bamako. In 1805 Park returned to Africa for the purpose of descending the Niger to its. mouth. He started as, before from the Gambia, reached the Niger, sailed down the river past Timbuktu, and on the eve of the successful accomplishment of his undertaking lost his life during an attack on his boat by the natives at Bussa (Nov. or Dec. 1805). Park held to the opinion that the Niger and Congo were one river, though in 1802 C. G. Reichard, a German geographer, had suggested that the Rio Nun was the mouth of the Niger. 4 Owing to Park's death the results of his second journey were lost, and the work had to be begun afresh. In 1822 Major A. G. Laing (who had reached Timbuktu by way of Tripoli) obtained some accurate information concerning the sources of the river, and in 1828 the French explorer Rene Caillie went by boat from Jenne to the port of Timbuktu. In 1826 Bussa was reached from Benin by Hugh Clapperton, and his servant Richard Lander. On Clapperton's death Richard Lander and his brother John led in 1830 an expedition which went overland from Badagry to the Niger. Canoeing down the river from Yawri-60 m. above Bussa - to the mouth of the Rio Nun they finally settled the doubt as to the lower course of the stream. In 1832 Macgregor Laird established the African Steamship Company, and Richard Lander and R. A. K. Oldfield (as members of its first expedition) ascended the Niger to Rabba, and the Benue as far as Dagbo (80 m.). In 1841 an expedition, consisting of three steamers of the British navy, under Captain (afterwards Admiral) H. D. Trotter, went up to Egga (Egam), but was forced to return owing to sickness and mortality.

Heinrich Barth (1851-1854) made known to Europe the course of the river from Timbuktu to Say. Barth sailed down from Saraiyamo (situated on a tributary stream south-west of Timbukutu) to Kabara; then skirted the left bank to a small town called Bornu in 16° N., and the right thence to Say. In1880-1881the German E. R. Flegel ascended the Niger to Gomba opposite the confluence of the Sokoto river with the main stream, and about 70 m. below Barth's southmost point. Zweifel and Moustier, sent out by M. Verminck, a Marseilles merchant, discovered (1879) the sources of the Falico, &c., and in 1885 the Tembi source was visited by Captain Brouet, a French officer. Indeed the additions to the knowledge of the Niger during the last two decades of the 19th century were largely the work of French officers engaged in the extension of French influence throughout the western Sudan. From 1880 onwards Colonel (afterward General) Gallieni took a leading part in the operations on the upper river, where in 1883 a small gunboat, the Niger, was launched for the protection of the newly established French posts. In 1885 a voyage was made by Captain Delanneau In 1816 James McQueen correctly divined that there was a great west-flowing tributary (the Benue) to the Niger, and that after its confluence the river ran south to the Atlantic. See his View of Northern Central Africa (1821) and Geographical Survey of Africa (1840).

4 See Ephemerides ge'ographiques, vol. xii. (Weimar, Aug. 2803).

past the ruins of Sansandig, as far as Diafarabe. In 1887 the gunboat made a more extended voyage, reaching the port of Timbuktu, and correcting the mapping of the river down to that point. In1894-1895attention was directed to the middle and lower Niger, to which several expeditions started from the coast of Guinea. A still more important expedition was that of Lieutenant Hourst, who, starting from Timbuktu in January 1896, navigated the Niger from that point to its mouth, executing a careful survey of the river and the various obstructions to navigation. A voyage made in 1897 by Lieutenant de Chevigne showed that at low water the section between Timbuktu and Ansongo presents great difficulties, but the voyage from Timbuktu to Say was again successfully accomplished in 1899 by Captain Granderye. In 1901 Captain E. Lenfant ascended the river with a flotilla from its mouth to Say, and he demonstrated the "normal practicability" of the route, despite the Bussa rapids. The delta of the Niger has been partially surveyed since it became British territory by various ship captains, officials of the Royal Niger Company and others, including Sir Harry Johnston, sometime British consul for the Oil Rivers.

In addition to the main stream, the Niger basin was made known by exploration during the last quarter of the 19th century and the early years of the loth. The journeys of the German traveller G. A. Krause (north from the Gold Coast, 1886-1887) and the French Captain Binger (Senegal to Ivory Coast, 1887-1889) first defined its southern limits by revealing the unexpected northward extension of the basins of the Guinea coast streams, especially the Volta and Komoe, a fact which explained the absence of important tributaries within the Niger bend. This was crossed for the first time, in its fullest extent, by Colonel P. L. Monteil (French) in 1890-1891. At the eastern end of the basin much light has been thrown on the system of the Benue. In 1851 Barth crossed the Benue at its junction with the Faro, but the region of its sources was first explored by Flegel (1882-1884), who traversed the whole southern basin of the river and reached Ngaundere. Other German travellers added to the knowledge of the southern tributaries, the Tarabba, Donga and others, which in the rains bring down a large body of water from the highlands of southern Adamawa. British travellers who have done work in the same region are Sir W. Wallace, L. H. Moseley, W. P. Hewby, P. A. Talbot and Captain Claud Alexander. The last-named two were members of an expedition led by Lieut. Boyd-Alexander, who himself crossed Africa from the Niger to the Nile. Messrs Talbot and Claud Alexander surveyed the country between Ibi on the Benue and Lake Chad, mapping (1904) a considerable part of the Gongola.' In 1854 the Benue itself was ascended 400 m. by the "Pleiad" expedition, and in 1889 to 131° E., and the Kebbi to Bifara by Major (afterwards Sir Claude) Macdonald, further progress towards the Tuburi marsh being prevented by the shallowness of the water. The upper basin of the Benue was also traversed by the French expeditions of Mizon (1892) and Maistre (1892-1893), the latter passing to the south of the Tuburi marsh without definitely settling the hydrographical question connected with it. This was accomplished by Captain Lenfant in 1903. He ascended the Kebbi and discovered the Lata Fall, continuing up the river to its point of issue from Tuburi. Crossing the marshes he found and navigated the narrow river leading to the Logone. Save for the porterage round the Lata Fall the whole journey from the mouth of the Niger to Lake Chad was made by water. The Benue in the neighbourhood of Yola was mapped in1903-1904by an Anglo-German boundary commission.

From 1904 onwards the French undertook works on the Niger between Bamako - whence there is railway communication with the Senegal - and Ansongo with a view to deepening the channel and removing obstructions to navigation. In 1910 the British began dredging with the object of obtaining from the mouth of the river to Baro a minimum depth of 6 ft. of water.

1 Captain Claud Alexander died of fever in northern Nigeria on the 30th of November 1904. His brother, Lieut. Boyd Alexander, in a subsequent expedition across Africa was murdered in Wadai on the 2nd of April 1910.


- Mungo Park, Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa. .. in the Years 1 795, 1 79 6 and 1797 (London, 1799). A geographical appendix by Major James Rennell summarizes the information then available about the Niger. R. and J. Lander, Journal of an Expedition to explore the Course and Termination of the Niger.. . (3 vols. London, 1833); H. Barth, Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa.. ., vols. iv. and v. (London, 1857-1858); Gen. J. S. Gallieni, Mission d'exploration du Haut Niger . (Paris, 1885); E. Caron, De Saint Louis au Port de Timbouktou; Voyage d'une cannoniere francaise (Paris, 1891); M. Hourst, Sur le Niger et au pays des Touaregs (Paris, 1898), English translation, French Enterprise in Africa. .. Exploration of the Niger (London, 1898). The political references in this book are marked by jealous hostility to the British. Col. J. K. Trotter, The Niger Sources . (London, 1897); Sir H. H. Johnston, "The Niger Delta," Proc. R.G.S. (December 1888); Sir F. Lugard, "An Expedition to Borgu on the Niger," Geo. Jnl. (September 1895); E. Lenfant, Le Niger; voie ouverte a notre empire africain (Paris, 1903), chiefly a demonstration that the Bussa rapids are not an absolute bar to navigation.

The foregoing books deal almost entirely with the Niger. For the Benue see, besides Barth's Travels, A. F. Mockler Ferryman, Up the Niger; Narrative of Major Claude Macdonald's Mission to the Niger and Benue Rivers ... (London, 1892); L. Mizon, "Itineraire de la source de la Benoue au confluent des rivieres Kadei et Mambere" and other papers in the Bull. Soc. Geog. Paris for 1895 and 1896; C. Maistre, A travers l'Afrique central du Congo au Niger (Paris, 18 95); E. Lenfant, La Grande Route du Chad (Paris, 1905); Col. L. Jackson, "The Anglo-German Boundary Expedition in Nigeria," Geo. Jnl. (July 1905); P. A. Talbot, "Survey Work by the Alexander Gosling Expedition: Northern Nigeria 1904-1905," idem (February 1906); Boyd Alexander, From the Niger to the Nile, vol. i. (London, 1907). The British Blue Books, Correspondence relating to Railway Construction in Nigeria (1905) and Further Correspondence, &c. (1909), contain information about the navigability of the lower Niger and of the Kaduna. The best maps are those published by the French and British War Offices; an Atlas du tours du Niger de Tombouctou aux rapides de Boussa in 50 sheets on the scale of I: 50,000, by Lieut. Hourst and others, was published in Paris in 1899. (F. R. C.)

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