Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DU CHAILLU, Paul Belloni (dusha'yu'), traveler, born in Paris, France, 31 July 1835. He early went to live in the French settlement at the mouth of the Gaboon, on the west coast of Africa, where his father held a consular appointment, and was at the same time engaged in commerce. He was educated in one of the Jesuit institutions in that country, and acquired knowledge of the native languages, learning from trading expeditions much of their habits and mode of life. In 1852 he came to the United States with a cargo of ebony, and soon after published in the New York " Tribune"a series of articles on the Gaboon country, which elicited much attention. After becoming citizen of the United States, he sailed in October 1855, from New York for Africa, with the intention of making a thorough exploration of the region on the west coast, lying between latitude 2° N. and 2° S.
He spent nearly four years in this task, penetrating to about longitude 14° 15' E., traveling on foot, unaccompanied by any white man, upward of 8,000 miles. During this time he shot and stuffed over 2,000 birds, of which 60 were previously unknown, and killed over 1,000 quadrupeds, among which were several gorillas, never before shot and probably never before seen by a white man, and 26 other species of animals previously unclassified. He returned to New York in 1859.bringing a large collection of native arms and implements, and numerous specimens in natural history, which were publicly exhibited, and many of which were afterward purchased by the British museum. The history of this expedition was published under the title of " Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa" (New York and London, 1861; new ed., enlarged, 1871).
This volume is a valuable contribution to the geography, ethnology, and zoology of western Africa, but many of its statements were received with distrust, because they were inconsistent with the maps of Henrich Barth and August Petermann. A bitter controversy arose concerning the accuracy of Du Chaillu's statements, Professor John E. Gray, of the British museum, attacking his veracity with much asperity, while Professor Richard Owen and Sir Roderick Murchison defended him. As Du Chaillu had made his observations from compass bearings only, their correctness could not be definitely proved, and he resolved to vindicate his reputation by a second expedition. For this he prepared himself by a course of scientific study, learned the use of astronomical and other instruments, and acquired the art of practical photography.
Meanwhile the French travelers Serval and Griffon du Bellay, who, in charge of a govermnent expedition, explored the OgobM River and the neighboring country, established his accuracy. The English traveler, Captain Richard F. Burton, verified his statements concerning the cannibalistic habits of the Fan tribe. Du Chaillu, notwithstanding his vindication, determined to prosecute his expedition, for which he had made thorough preparation, He freighted a schooner with goods for presents to the natives, and sailed from England in August 1863. Early in October he reached the month of the Ogobai, and there met with a severe loss by the swamping of the canoe containing his scientific and photographic apparatus. He was obliged to send to England for a new supply, and he occupied his time in hunting excursions, during which he again had an opportunity of studying the habits of the gorilla. In September 1864, his instruments having arrived, he set out for the interior, accompanied by ten Commi Negroes. He revisited some of the scenes of his former explorations, took many accurate observations, and penetrated among tribes and through portions of country previously unknown.
In September of the following year he was forced to return to the coast in consequence of an unfortunate conflict with the natives, in which he lost everything but his journals. These contained all of his astronomical observations that verified his previous statements, and added much to the geographical knowledge of western Africa. He published an account of this expedition under the title of "A Journey to Ashango Land" (London and New York, 1867). After spending some years in the United States, where he appeared as a public lecturer, he visited Sweden, Norway, Lapland, and Finland, in 1872'3, returning to New York late in 1873. Du Chaillu has published the following: "Stories of the Gorilla Country" (New York, 1868); " Wild Life under the Equator" (1869); "Lost in the Jungle" (1869); "My Apingi Kingdom" (1870); "The Country of the Dwarfs" (1871); " The Land of the Midnight Sun" (1881); and "The,Viking Age" (1887).
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