After various exploits in Ceylon and the area around the Black Sea, Samuel Baker (1821-93) travelled to Africa and embarked on his greatest adventure: to discover the source of the Nile. On 18 December 1862, Baker and his wife Florence departed from Khartoum on three vessels with a party of 98, including 45 armed men. Two months later in Gondokoro they met up with John Hanning Speke and James Augustus Grant, who were returning from their expedition up the Nile. Speke gave Baker his maps and information on a lake unknown to Europeans, and the party continued south, encountering hostility from slave and ivory traders and enduring the desertion of their men.
On 14 March 1864, they reached the shores of the lake Baker named Albert N’yanza after Queen Victoria’s late husband. They located the place where the White Nile entered the lake and not far upstream discovered and named the 120-foot high Murchison Falls. Baker and Florence were the first Europeans to reach this area (today’s northwestern Uganda), and their efforts finally solved the mystery of the White Nile’s route.
Baker’s principal works are: The Albert Nyanza (1866); The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia (1867); and Ismailia (1874).
First edition. 2 vols, 8vo, viii, 447; viii, 588 pp., 2 portrait frontispieces, numerous wood-engraved plates, 2 maps (1 large folding), contemporary crimsion morocco gilt extra, cream silk doublures, all edges gilt, a fine set.£2,500
Three-page autograph letter, signed, to an unnamed correspondent. Together with a photograph of Baker, framed and glazed.£1,750
First edition. 2 vols, 8vo, viii, 447; viii, 588 pp., 2 portrait frontispieces, numerous wood-engraved plates, 2 maps (1 large folding), original green cloth gilt, light wear to extremities, a fine example.£1,250