Park graduated from Edinburgh University as a surgeon and soon after was appointed medical officer on a ship. His travels took him to the East Indies where he furthered his studies of the flora and fauna of Sumatra and published a number of papers on the subject. The African Association in England was impressed and backed him in exploring the true course of the Niger River. In 1795, Park began his explorations at the mouth of the Gambia, but when he reached Senegal he was captured and imprisoned by Arabs. He escaped in 1796 and continued his journey over the next year. He returned to Britain in 1797 and published his accounts of his travels in Travels in The Interior Districts of Africa, which was very well received. Park returned to Scotland and practiced medicine for two years, before he was commissioned by the government to head a new expedition to the Niger. He and 40 followers travelled to Pisania (in The Gambia) and finally in August of 1805, reached Bamako (Mali). On this journey he lost 29 men. In November of 1805, together with 8 companions, he set sail from Sansanding and was never heard from again. A subsequent inquiry in 1812 found that the group had been attacked by natives roughly 1000 miles below Sansanding and Park had been drowned.
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Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa
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