How I Crossed Africa, Major Serpa Pinto -1881

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How I Crossed Africa: From the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, through Unknown Countries; Discovery of the Great Zambesi Affluents, &c. in two volumes. Vol. I–The King’s Rifle. Vol. II–The Coillard Family by Major Serpa Pinto; Alfred Elwes (translation): J. B. Lippincott & Co, Philadelphia, 1881. 8vo up to 9½” tall. 337 and 388 pages with full page plates; half page and smaller illustrations; maps; and facsimile pages of Pinto’s diary and field notes. Dark brown half leather over marbled paper boards; banded spine with gilt titles; marbled endpapers; all edges marbled. Minimal wear to boards; contents are in fine condition and appear unread. There is no evidence of the ‘pocket map’ as referenced in the contents. Its’ absence may have been intentional or by error. Lippincott issued both a cloth bound edition and this higher priced edition at the same time and may have chosen to exclude the pocket map in the leather set. A beautiful and rare set.
Alexandre de Serpa Pinto (1846-1900) was a Portuguese explorer and colonial bureaucrat in southern Africa. “He was the fourth European explorer to cross Africa from west to east, and the first to lay down a reasonably accurate route between Bié (in present-day Angola) and Lealui”. Pinto’s journey across Africa was described as ‘one of the most exciting undertakings of modern times.’ Pinto received several honors including membership of the French Académie des Sciences’ Astronomy and the Founders’ Medal of the Royal Geographical Society of London. King Carlos gave him the noble title Viscount; several Portugal streets and towns bear his name and stamps and banknotes, his portrait.