Mungo Park (1771-1806) was a Scottish surgeon and explorer. Encouraged by Sir Joseph Banks, he was sent by the African Association, in 1795, to explore the interior of Africa, forbidden to western traders. He is believed to have been the first European to reach the River Niger. His return was delayed by imprisonment and illness, and he did not arrive back in Scotland until December 1797, having been thought dead. He later went on a second expedition to Africa, and died there in 1806. This account of his earlier travels, published in 1799, was an immediate best-seller, with three editions in the first year. Park presents a straightforward account of his journey, together with observations about daily life in West Africa, with none of the arrogant superiority so often expressed by European travellers. The book includes a vocabulary of Mandinka words, plates and maps, and a geographical appendix.