Detailed map of the northern part of Africa, showing the route of Gerhard Rohlfs from 1861 to 1867.
The map records several of Rohlfs' earliest travels, including most notably his trek across Africa from North to South, where he bacame the first European to cross the continent.
In total, the map records the travels in Afrika of 5 explorers, Rohlfs (3 routes between 1861 and 1867), Clapperton & Lander (1825-27), Barth & Overweg (1850-53), Vogel (1853-55) and Baikie (1854).
Friedrich Gerhard Rohlfs (1831 - 1896) was a German geographer, explorer and adventurer. Rohlfs joined the French Foreign Legion and later served for some time as a personal physician to a Moroccan nobleman, before striking out on his own to explore the oases of Morocco. It was on this trip that he was attacked and left for dead, his leg almost severed from his body.
After recovery, Rohlfs became the first European to cross Africa north to south. His route took him from Tripoli through the Sahara desert, over Lake Chad, along the Niger River to the Gulf of Guinea from 1865-1867. He was the second European explorer to visit the region of the Draa River in the south of Morocco.
August Heinrich Petermann (1822-1878) is a renowned German cartographer of the nineteenth century. Petermann studied cartography at the Geographical Art-School in Potsdam before traveling to Edinburgh to work with Dr. A. Keith Johnston on an English edition of Berghaus’ Physical Atlas. Two years later he moved to London, where he made maps and advised exploratory expeditions as they set off to explore the interior of Africa and the Arctic.
In 1854, Petermann returned to Germany to be Director of the Geographical Institute of Justus Perthes in Gotha. There, he was the editor of the Geographische Mittheilungen and Stieler’s Handatlas. The Royal Geographical Society of London awarded him their Gold Medal in 1860. He continued his interest in exploration in Germany, fundraising for the German Exploring Expeditions of 1868 and 1869-70, which sought an open Arctic sea. Tragically, he committed suicide in 1878.