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Bruce (James of Kinnaid) Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, 1768-73, FIRST EDITION, 3 maps, 6 plans, 43 natural history plates and 12 other plates, 5 vols, thick 4to, contemporary polished calf, Edinburgh, 1790
Vol. 5 contains the natural history information which Bruce obtained during his travels in Egypt, Arabia, Abyssinia and Nubia.
Bruce spent five years in Upper Egypt, Abyssinia, and in the exploration of the Nile. The account of his travels provided important information. The plates, based on Bruce’s own and Balugani's drawings, include maps, botanical and zoological specimens, antiquities and artifacts and plans of monuments.
James Bruce (14 December 1730 – 27 April 1794) was a Scottish traveller and travel writer who spent more than a dozen years in North Africa and Ethiopia, where he traced the origins of the Blue Nile. Starting out as a wine importer he travelled to Spain & Portugal where he became interested in Antiquities and Arabic culture , geography and history. He travelled extensively throughout North Africa, Ethiopia and Egypt. As an explorer he wanted to discover the source of the Nile . He thus became the first European to trace the Blue Nile to its confluence with the White Nile. Bruce thought that the Blue Nile while smaller than the White Nile was the “Nile of the Ancients"
His history and description of Abyssinia are particularly valuable, as the country had been visited only once by a European (Poncet) in the previous one hundred and fifty years. Bruce immediately won the respect and admiration of the Abyssinians on account of his imposing physical appearance and manner, his courage, knowledge of Geez, and horsemanship, as well as his acquired skill in medicine, which allowed him to save some members of the royal family of Abyssinia from smallpox. His narrative also contains sections on the history and religion of Egypt, Indian trade.