A View of a Bridge over the Ba-Fing or Black River
This engraving shows a man with a donkey and a group of people with sacks on their heads crossing a bridge over the Senegal river. People on the banks of the river watch. Park described "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). Based on a sketch made by Mungo Park (1771–1806), who was a Scottish explorer and member of the African Association. He travelled across the Western Savanna to map the course of the Niger, which he erroneously theorized merged with the Congo river. On his second expedition, he was killed about two-thirds of the way down the Niger at Bussa in Borgu.
Mungo Park, Travels in the interior districts of Africa: Performed under the direction and patronage of the African Association, in the years 1795, 1796 and 1797 (London: Nicol, 1799), facing p. 338.
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