Saturday, August 29, 2015

Carpe Diem #808 Ripon Falls, the source of The Nile?

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We have arrived at our final destination of our trip over The Nile. This month we made in a way a time-travel along The Nile, we visited historical places in Egypt, Sudan and Uganda. Finally we are there .... at the source of The Nile.
Today our prompt is Ripon Falls, the source of The Nile, there is a long history about the exploration and discovery of the source of The Nile. Several explorers tried to find it. Here is an overview of that history.

Owing to their failure to penetrate the sudd wetlands of South Sudan, the upper reaches of the Nile remained largely unknown to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Various expeditions failed to determine the river's source. Agatharcides records that in the time of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, a military expedition had penetrated far enough along the course of the Blue Nile to determine that the summer floods were caused by heavy seasonal rainstorms in the Ethiopian Highlands, but no European of antiquity is known to have reached Lake Tana.

Credits: Tabula Rogeriana (upside down)

The Tabula Rogeriana depicted the source as three lakes in 1154.
Europeans began to learn about the origins of the Nile in the 15th and 16th centuries, when travelers to Ethiopia visited Lake Tana and the source of the Blue Nile in the mountains south of the lake. Although James Bruce claimed to be the first European to have visited the headwaters, modern writers give the credit to the Jesuit Pedro Páez. Páez's account of the source of the Nile is a long and vivid account of Ethiopia. It was published in full only in the early 20th century, although it was featured in works of Páez's contemporaries, including Baltazar Téllez, Athanasius Kircher and by Johann Michael Vansleb.

Europeans had been resident in Ethiopia since the late 15th century, and one of them may have visited the headwaters even earlier without leaving a written trace. The Portuguese João Bermudes published the first description of the Tis Issat Falls in his 1565 memoirs, compared them to the Nile Falls alluded to in Cicero's De Republica. Jerónimo Lobo describes the source of the Blue Nile, visiting shortly after Pedro Páez. Telles also used his account.

The White Nile was even less understood. The ancients mistakenly believed that the Niger River represented the upper reaches of the White Nile. For example, Pliny the Elder wrote that the Nile had its origins "in a mountain of lower Mauretania", flowed above ground for "many days" distance, then went underground, reappeared as a large lake in the territories of the Masaesyli, then sank again below the desert to flow underground "for a distance of 20 days' journey till it reaches the nearest Ethiopians." A merchant named Diogenes reported that the Nile's water attracted game such as buffalo.

Credits: John Hanning Speke (1827-1864)

Lake Victoria was first sighted by Europeans in 1858 when the British explorer John Hanning Speke (1827-1864) reached its southern shore while traveling with Richard Francis Burton to explore central Africa and locate the great lakes. Believing he had found the source of the Nile on seeing this "vast expanse of open water" for the first time, Speke named the lake after the then Queen of the United Kingdom. Burton, recovering from illness and resting further south on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, was outraged that Speke claimed to have proved his discovery to be the true source of the Nile when Burton regarded this as still unsettled. A very public quarrel ensued, which sparked a great deal of intense debate within the scientific community and interest by other explorers keen to either confirm or refute Speke's discovery. British explorer and missionary David Livingstone pushed too far west and entered the Congo River system instead. It was ultimately Welsh-American explorer Henry Morton Stanley who confirmed Speke's discovery, circumnavigating Lake Victoria and reporting the great outflow at Ripon Falls on the Lake's northern shore. Ripon Falls at the northern end of Lake Victoria in Uganda was formerly considered the source of the river Nile. In 1862–3 John Hanning Speke was the first European to follow the course of the Nile downstream after discovering the falls that his intuition had marked as the source of the Nile. (Source: Wikipedia)

Credits: Ripon Falls, according to J.H.Speke the source of The Nile (photo by J.H. Speke)

Wow .... what a story ... it's still not clear that The Nile starts there by the way. It's still a mystery ... maybe this mystery will be solved once ...

This was our last "regular" episode of this month. Tomorrow (August 31st) we will have our last CD Special by Laura Williams (a.k.a. Lolly of Lovely Things), the winner of our last kukai "summertime".

After that last CD Special of August we will start with our new journey ... a space odyssey ... we will explore space trying to understand the mythology behind several constellations. I have published our new prompt-list you can find it in the menu.

we conquered The Nile
back to the future

© Chèvrefeuille

Not a very strong haiku, but it gives closure to this wonderful journey in our full sailed papyrus boat over The Nile .... I hope you all did like the trip ....

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until September 1st at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, Lolly's 6th CD Special, later on. For now, have fun!

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