Charles Darwin's theories incorporated observations of Sierra Leone traveler
Discover Sierra Leone
Charles Darwin, the English naturalist whose
evolution of species theory changed the world of science, used the observations
in Sierra Leone of William Winwood Reade in some of his works.
In 1869, a restless, great explorer wannabe and Oxford
drop-out Reade was in Freetown contemplating which unknown places to explore
when he happened to read Travels in the Timannee, Kooranko and Soolima
Countries, in Western Africaa
narrative of Alexander Gordon Laing's 1822 visit to Falaba. Becoming the first
European to reach the source of the Niger River became Reade's objective after
he read about Laing being thwarted from doing the same by Soolima Chief Asana
Reade's observations about attraction and marriage among
the Sierra Leonean tribes he encountered were extensively used in Darwin's book
on human evolution, Descent of Man (1871).
Reade visited Falaba twice in 1869 passing through
Port Loko, Bumban, Cabalah (Kabala) and Kafogo, all in the Northern Province.
Reade's correspondence with Darwin while in Sierra
Leone included whether Susu, Mandingo or Temne women could choose their own husbands.
Scroll down to read some of Reade's letters from Sierra Leone here.
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