Johnston, Sir Harry Hamilton


Johnston, Sir Harry Hamilton

▪ British explorer

born June 12, 1858, London
died Aug. 31, 1927, Woodsetts House, near Worksop, Nottinghamshire, Eng.
 British explorer, botanist, and pioneer colonial administrator. Widely traveled in Africa and speaking many African languages, he was closely involved in what has been called the scramble for Africa by 19th-century colonial powers. He published 40 books on African subjects and from 1891 to 1895 served as the first British commissioner in Nyasaland, now the Republic of Malaŵi.

      He gained his early African experience as a painter, natural-history collector, and free-lance journalist. He was in Tunis (1879–80), then traveled through Angola and up the Congo River (1882–83). On a botanical expedition to Kilimanjaro in eastern Africa, he obtained a land concession that helped draw the frontiers between British and German territories in that region. Joining the consular service in 1885, he spent three years administering a British protectorate in eastern Nigeria. Between 1888 and 1891 he exercised much influence on British African policy and obtained the treaties on which the United Kingdom based its claims to Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. Knighted in 1896, Johnston served two years as consul general in Tunis and then was special commissioner in Uganda (1899–1901).

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Universalium. 2010.

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