American Museum of Natural History Logo link: Congo Expedition Main Page

Return to Annotated Bibliography List

Off to the Congo

History of the Congo

The history of the Congo as expressed through published resources would seem to begin not much earlier than the late 1870's, when Henry Morton Stanley went on his famous expedition (funded by the New York Herald) to find the explorer David Livingstone. In fact, the Portuguese had "discovered" the mouth of the Congo River in 1482 but for almost three centuries Europeans never ventured very far inland. Chapin might have spent some time reading Duarte Lopes's Report on the Kingdoms of Congo from 1597 and might have picked up Abbe Proyart's 1776 account of the history of the kingdoms of the Congo. Captain James Tuckey's 400-page account of his 1816 exploration of the river was available in the Columbia library, but little else was published on the Congo until Stanley took off in the 1870's.