Crossing a Bridge, Western Sudan, 1790s


Mungo Park, Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa . . . in the years 1795, 1796, 1797 (London, 1799), facing p. 338. (Copy in Special Collections, University of Virginia Library)


Captioned, A view of the bridge over the Ba-Fing or Black River, this engraving was based on a sketch made by Park. He crossed this river (a branch of the Senegal river) on a bridge of bamboos, of a very singular construction . . . two tall trees, when tied together by the tops, are sufficiently long to reach from one side to the other; the roots resting upon the rocks, and the tops floating in the water. When a few trees have been placed in this direction, they are covered with dry bamboos, so as to form a floating bridge, with a sloping gangway at each end, where the trees rest upon the rocks. This bridge is carried away each year by the swelling of the river in the rainy season, and is constantly rebuilt by the inhabitants . . . who on that account expect a small tribute from every passenger (p. 338). See also image vile-188 on this website.


Park, Mungo

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