Saturday, September 19, 2009
Caillié was born at Mauzé sur le Mignon, Poitou, the son of a baker. He was born in to the lowest levels of European society. The orphaned son of a prison convict, uneducated, frail, and thin, he was the anti-hero of the traditional military commander adventurer. The reading of Robinson Crusoe kindled in him a love of travel and adventure, and at the age of sixteen he made a voyage to Senegal whence he went to Guadeloupe. Returning to Senegal in 1818 he made a journey to Bondu to carry supplies to a British expedition then in that country. Ill with fever he was obliged to go back to France, but in 1824 was again in Senegal with the idea of reaching Timbuktu. The Paris based Société de Géographie was offering a 10,000 franc reward to the first European to see and return alive from Timbuktu, believed to be a rich and wondrous city.
Read René Caillié's book, Travels Through Central Africa to Timbuctoo: And Across the Great Desert, to Morocco, free from Google Books.