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The Fateful Journey

The Fateful Journey: The Expedition of Alexine Tinne and Theodor von Heuglin in Sudan (1863-1864)

Robert Joost Willink
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 456
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  • Book Info
    The Fateful Journey
    Book Description:

    Bold, headstrong, and fabulously wealthy, Dutch traveller Alexine Tinne (1834-1869) made several excursions into the African interior, often accompanied by her mother, at a time when very few European women traveled.The Fateful Journeyfollows her trip with German zoologist Theodor von Heuglin, which took them through Egypt and Sudan in search of adventure and unknown regions in Central Africa.. Drawing upon four years of research in the Tinne archives, and including never before published correspondence, photographs, and other documents, Robert Joost Willink presents a compelling account of their journey and its tragic ending. This exciting volume not only sheds light on Tinne's life and times, it also offers captivating insights into the world of European adventurers in the 19th century.

    An enthralling mix of adventure and careful scholarship,The Fateful Journeycreates a powerful portrait of Alexine Tinne throughout her life, from her start as a rich heiress in the Netherlands to her end as the intrepid explorer who risked-and lost-everything on a daring, doomed quest.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1490-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Prologue
    (pp. 11-16)

    The storerooms all began to look alike to me. Doors were opened, and rack after rack came into sight with plates on which the names of continents and countries were written. While racks were being unrolled, new rows of exotic artefacts continued to loom before my expecting eyes. They seemed to be waiting there silently and secretly for someone or something to come along. On the ‘Africa’ rack, my brain almost automatically began registering all kinds of features. My eyes rushed from object to object and my internal database made searches of names of regions and people who had once...

  2. Introduction
    (pp. 17-26)

    From the end of January 1863 until mid-December 1864, the Dutch traveller Alexine Tinne and the German zoologist Theodor von Heuglin (hereafter: Heuglin) carried out an expedition to the vast region of the Gazelle-river, a western tributary of the White Nile also known as the Bahr el-Ghazal (the Arabian name). Their private fortune enabled Alexine and her mother, Henriette Tinne-van Capellen, to prepare and maintain an expedition of immense proportions. No expense was spared. A steamboat was engaged together with transport vessels for the accompanying people, beasts of burden, and provisions. Guides, attendants, crew, servants and soldiers were hired, together...

  3. CHAPTER 1 Sudan: the place for adventure, trade and science
    (pp. 27-60)

    On paper, Africa in the middle of the nineteenth century represented a mishmash of ancient kingdoms in decay (in the Congo regions so far known, Nubia and Darfour), some colonies (South Africa, Sao Tomé, the coastal areas of Angola and Mozambique), a huge blank spot in the centre as well as alongside the coasts.

    On the west coast, some European countries had created establishments running along the entire coastal area from Gabon to Benguella (nearly 2000 miles) that carried on trade with the inlanders. Until 1869 explorers, traders and missionaries only incidentally rounded the Cape of Good Hope. North Africa...

  4. CHAPTER 2 The White Nile and Khartoum
    (pp. 61-74)

    As soon as Henriette Tinne-van Capellen, Alexine Tinne and Adriana van Capellen arrived in Egypt for the third time on 22 August 1861, they began looking around for a fitting goal for a new journey southwards. They moved around in the diplomatic circles of Alexandria and Cairo and made the acquaintance of Ludwig Krapf, who had been a German missionary to the King of Shoa in Abyssinia, and had endeavoured to introduce Christianity into the distant region, recording with his companion Rebmann in 1848 the existence of the snow-crowned peaks of the Kilima Ndjaro under the very equator.¹ Krapf may...

  5. CHAPTER 3 Preparations for the journey
    (pp. 75-94)

    Heuglin’s reason for refusing Musha Pasha’s invitation to join him on his campaign to the east of Sudan was that he hoped to fulfill his growing desire to travel to the basin of the Gazelle-river. In his search for information regarding possible routes, he could choose from among the traders or explorers who were then in town and could be of importance to him. During the monsoon, from July to the end of September, Heuglin and his companion Steudner spent many evenings in the company of Europeans, in particular with Thibaut. Before he left for Mount Arash Kol on 29...

  6. CHAPTER 4 To the Bahr el-Ghazal
    (pp. 95-108)

    On 25 January at daybreak, Heuglin and Steudner sailed off from themoqrènas the lead of the expedition, accompanied by a volley of rifles from other boats moored in the bay. The northern wind was blowing inshore and at the junction of the Blue and White Nile they had to make use of their oars to keep the boat in the middle of the stream. While turning around the land point the sails unfolded and the broad bow of thenuggarcleaved the foaming waves of the White Nile.

    It was a fresh day and Heuglin relates how brightly...

  7. CHAPTER 5 Beyond the Bahr el-Ghazal
    (pp. 109-122)

    In their aim of procuring a sufficient number of pack animals, Heuglin and Steudner did not succeed; yet they proceeded on 23 March to Wau and the Kosanga mountains, hoping to hire the necessary number of porters and go back to the Meshra in order to move the whole Tinne expedition forward to Wau. While crossing over the river Rek and a smaller one, their boat suddenly could not go further, as it had become entangled by marsh plants. Holding the guns high in their right hands both men got out and waded through water and reed, following a route...

  8. CHAPTER 6 The reversal of fortune
    (pp. 123-162)

    Shortly before his transfer from the lake at Meshra el-Rek to the mainland on the evening of 4 June, Heuglin writes to Petermann: ‘I am still at the Lake Req and have since then lived through quite difficult days. My illness had increased in two days time to such an extent, that I had given up all hope of recovery. Now thank God it goes better.’ Besides dysentery he suffered from scurvy and a precarious swelling of his legs; thanks to Petherick’s attendance, however, a change for the better had set in and his courage for new enterprises had revived....

  9. CHAPTER 7 A pause in Cairo
    (pp. 163-176)

    Having been permanently sick since her arrival in Suez on 23 November, Alexine finally moved into a house in Cairo some three weeks later. Eager to leave Suez – this ‘miserable and cold place’ – she had ordered Heuglin directly after disembarking to search for a house outside the city, in ‘Old Cairo’, the quarter alongside the Nile embankment. Alexine’s outspoken wish of staying in the old quarter, at some distance from the city, was identical to her choice of not remaining in Khartoum itself after the return of the expedition. Here as well, too many memories of the near...

  10. CHAPTER 8 After Cairo
    (pp. 177-202)

    With the departure of Heuglin to Württemberg, the story of the Tinne-Heuglin expedition to the Gazelle-river comes to an end in mid-February 1865. Being restricted to this period of time, this book will only superficially glance at their lives before the expedition and after, when both our protagonists entered the last episode of their lives.

    Alexine must have left Cairo before the summer of 1865. At Alexandria she hired the steam yacht ‘Claymore’ and settled herself with her dogs, Arabs and ‘negroes’ and an Egyptian crew to visit Crete, Greece, Italy, France, Sardinia and Malta during the summer of 1865,...

  11. Epilogue: The Plantae Tinneanae
    (pp. 203-206)

    During the first stage of their journey, Theodor von Heuglin and Hermann Steudner often searched for good spots where they could gather samples of species of fauna and flora. As was usual in those days, scientists were engaged in the practice of acquiring knowledge about phenomena in several fields of science. Following the tradition of practically all other Africa travellers (until deep into the twentieth century), Heuglin was a lover of hunting, which was opportune in assembling zoological specimens. Although he regarded zoology as his principal field, he also devoted himself equally to the study of ethnographic and floral specimens....

  12. APPENDIX 1. The White Nile excursion of the Tinne party
    (pp. 209-216)
  13. APPENDIX 2. Khartoum in the summer of 1862
    (pp. 217-218)
  14. APPENDIX 5. Letters A. Tinne from Khartoum and Berber
    (pp. 235-244)
  15. APPENDIX 6. Tidings from Cairo
    (pp. 245-265)
  16. APPENDIX 7. Petermann’s maps of 1865 and 1869
    (pp. 266-276)
  17. Explanatory notes to the consulted sources
    (pp. 277-280)
  18. Catalogue. Ethnographic collections
    (pp. 301-324)

    From approximately 1860, the Western world became witness to an explosive growth in ethnographic data coming from all parts of the world. Known as the ‘dark continent’ on account of its unexplored regions, Africa presented an enticing challenge to European explorers attempting to gather information on peoples that had never before come into contact with European culture. Certain African regions were a treasure trove of scholarly material. Europeans were thirsting for information about the mysterious river named the White Nile, its effluents, its fauna, its flora, its geography and its people. Collecting ethnographic specimens in southern Sudan formed part of...

  19. An account of the description of the Tinne-Heuglin collections
    (pp. 325-325)
  20. Catalogue Alexine Tinne collection
    (pp. 328-385)
  21. Catalogue Von Heuglin collection
    (pp. 386-415)
  22. The Tinne collection. Appendix
    (pp. 416-442)