Who was Hugh Clapperton?
Hugh Clapperton was a Scottish explorer and naval officer who was the first European in West Africa to return with a firsthand and authentic account of the region known today as Hausaland or northern Nigeria.
He was also the first European eat Miyan Kuka in December 1823 at Kuka (now Kukawa), the capital of Borno Empire. Miyan Kuka, also known as Luru soup, is a type of Nigerian dish from the northern region of Nigeria.
Hugh Clapperton disclosed how he ate the fruit of baobab tree and the soup made of the leaves of the tree, according to Denham Dixon’s “Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa in Years 1822, 1823 and 1824”.
Clapperton, alongside explorers Dixon Denham and Dr Walter Oudney, crossed the Sahara from Tripoli to discover Northern Nigeria (then known as the far end of Central Soudan). After a quarrel with co-traveller Dehman and the death of Dr Oudney at Murmur near Katagum, Clapperton proceeded with the expedition alone, visiting Kano, Katsina, Zaria and Sokoto. He returned to England as a hero on June 1, 1825.
In December 1825, Hugh Clapperton with his servant and companion, Richard Lander, travelled back to Africa, this time, on sea. He landed at Badagry in the Bight of Benin for land journey to Sokoto. After spending more than a year in Sokoto, Sultan Bello refused him permission to leave Sokoto for Kuka (Capital of Borno) to renew ties with Shehu El-Kanemi because of the war between Sokoto and Borno.
Hugh Clapperton later died of malaria and dysentery in Sokoto on Friday, April 13, 1827, leaving his servant Lander the only survivor of the expedition. Lander returned to the coast, and at Fernando Po by extraordinary coincidence met Clapperton’s old rival, Dixon Denham, who relayed the news of Clapperton’s death to London.
A street in Sokoto (Clapperton Road) was named after him. His Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa in the Years 1822–1823, and 1824 was published in 1828. Lander published Records of Captain Clapperton’s Last Expedition to Africa in 1830.
- Hugh Clapperton: BRITISH EXPLORER, Encyclopedia Britannica
- Jaafar Jaafar
- Miyan Kuka (Baobab Leaves Soup) – All Nigerian Recipes
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