Hugh Clapperton was one of Africa's greatest 19th-century explorers. Seemingly forgotten for years, he is now brought to life in Jamie Bruce Lockhart's magnificent new biography. Clapperton was born in Annan in the Scottish borders in 1788. Like many Scots of his generation, he saw service at sea as the path to fame and riches in the British Empire. During the Napoleonic Wars, he served in the Mediterranean and the East Indies, and on the Great Lakes of Canada in the war with the United States. After his discharge as a lieutenant in 1817, boredom and thirst for adventure spurred him to exploration in Africa. He participated in two expeditions to map the Niger and the vast unexplored hinterland of the Guinea coast, and had command of the second of these - a full scale diplomatic mission to a region of huge importance to Britain's burgeoning political and commercial imperial interests. Jamie Bruce Lockhart has retraced Clapperton's footsteps and takes the reader through forest, desert and extremes of climate. In this vivid and sympathetic biography, the reader witnesses Clapperton's adventures, hopes, fears, misfortunes and his ultimately lonely fate.
Jamie Bruce Lockhart has edited three volumes of Hugh Clapperton's travel diaries and lectured on the historical background to Clapperton's African travels. He first become interested in the sailor turned explorer while working in Nigeria and has published several articles about Clapperton's life. He has worked in banking, as a government economist and as a member of the British diplomatic service throughout the world and now lives in Suffolk.