BLTC Press Titles

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The Characters of Theophrastus


Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll

Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)

My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse

Hausaland, or, Fifteen hundred miles through the central Soudan

by Charles Henry Robinson


Ruins Of Christian Church At Tbbessa . „ 21

Native House At Lokoja .... ,. 34

Native Bridge Across River Keraka . „ 4ti

Crossing A River ..... „ 67

Three Fulaiis ...... 84

Our Residence In Kano .... „ 99

Birds-eye View Of Kano. . . . „ 111

Shoes, Spoon, And Armlet ... „ 122

White Ants ...... „ 101

Hausa Manuscript . . . . . ,, 181

Mosque At Sokoto ..... 184

A Fulah „ 188

Hausa Dress „ 220

Nupe Beggar ...... 234

Canoeing From Wonangi To Bida . . ,, 258



Map Of Edrisi ........ 4

Rock At Busa ....... 6

HaUsa Pilgrims 15

Dr. T. J. Tonkin 22






"Africa," wrote a modern schoolboy, when asked to say what he knew of the Dark Continent, "is a large country chiefly composed of sand and elephants, the centre of which was uninhabited until that wicked man Stanley filled it up with towns and villages." It is of a portion of the continent which Mr. Stanley has not yet had the opportunity of filling with towns and villages, but which is none the less exceedingly well supplied with the same, that this book treats. So many travellers have crossed and recrossed Africa within the last twenty years, and so much light has, as a result, been shed even into its darkest recesses, that it seems scarcely credible that there should still remain a people so numerous as to form one per cent, of the whole


population of the globe, whose country and language .have remained up to the present almost completely ujfknowH,;atf least to the general public. Nor can .". \ thet"neglect with, which this people has so long been '"' "treated* be justified-by the fact that they were so low in the scale of civilisation, or their country so devoid of interest, that the study of them and of their surroundings might not unreasonably be postponed till the rest of the Dark Continent had been opened up. So far, indeed, is this from being the case that, in the opinion of all who have had the opportunity of instituting a comparison, the Hausas are superior, both intellectually and physically, to all other natives of equatorial Africa. Perhaps the truest explanation of the neglect above referred to is to be found in the fact that Hausaland, or the country inhabited by the Hausa people, has been, and to a large extent still is, cut off from intercourse with Europeans by two physical obstacles of more than ordinary magnitude. Hausaland proper extends, roughly speaking, from latitude 8°N. to 14° K, and from longitude 4°E. to 11° E. Of the two possible ways by which a traveller from the coast can approach this territory, the shortest and most obvious is to ascend the river Niger for about three hundred miles and then proceed overland; the distance to Kano, the most important town in the Hausa States, being about four hundred miles from it, or from the river Binue'. The reason why this route has so seldom been attempted is partly, because only within the present century has the lower portion of the river Niger been explored, and partly, because of the great loss of life which has been experienced since the opening up of this route, alike by missionaries, traders, and explorers, in their efforts to penetrate the interior by ascending the river from its mouth. The other possible way is by crossing the Great Sahara from the Mediterranean coast. The distance to Kano by this route is nearly two thousand miles, by far the greater portion of which is across an almost waterless desert. Apart from the difficulties of actual travel, the European, as experience has shown, is liable to be attacked by the Tuareks who infest the desert wells, and, to a large extent, support themselves by the plunder of the caravans, which are compelled to approach them. The difficulties moreover connected with this route have been greatly aggravated by the recent occupation of Timbuctoo by the French; indeed, owing to this and other troubles in the neighbourhood of Lake Tchad, which will be alluded to later on, this route is at present closed to Europeans altogether.

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