Travels in Africa, Egypt and Syria

W G Browne’s undoubted prowess as an explorer, was however, not matched by his literary skill, and his concise, yet rather dry account of his travels, was not popular with a public used to flowery eloquence from their travel writers. Undeterred by his travelogue’s public reception, Browne left Britain with the purported intent of finding a route to Samarkand. After travelling through Asia Minor, he was lost, murdered on the road to Tehran, and this journey was later published by Robert Walpole from Browne’s surviving notes.


Printed for T. Cadell Junior, and W. Davies, Strand; and T.N. Longman and O. Rees, Paternoster-Row, London, 1799. Layton Collection 6911.

  • Born in London, Browne used the opportunity of an inheritance to quit his studies at Oxford and pursue his dream of a life as gentleman explorer. Making for Africa, he joined the great annual caravan from Egypt to Darfur, at that time the primary East African export hub of goods from the continent’s interior. The result is an invaluable primary source of a county and culture which was, until that time, seldom visited by Europeans. Missing out on his dream of visiting Ethiopia, as a result of being incarcerated by Darfur’s sultan, he eventually extricated himself and returned to London after a journey of six years.


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