Barth, Heinrich (hĪnˈrĭkh bärt) [key], 1821–65, German explorer in British service. After traveling (1845–47) through the Levant and N Africa, he entered the service of the British government. He joined (1849) an expedition to the W Sudan. He visited the Fulani and the Hausa and discovered the upper Benue River. After exploring the Chad region he turned westward and made his way through Kano and Sokoto to Gwandu, in N Nigeria. Barth's interest in the Islamic culture of W Africa led him on to Timbuktu where he stayed eight months before returning (1855) to England. His Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa (5 vol., 1857–58, in English and German) is a masterpiece of narrative and geographic research.
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