Werner Münzinger (1832-1875), a native of Switzerland, studied physics, chemistry and geography at Solothurn and Bern, then modern and oriental languages at Munich and Paris. He was the first European to penetrate the land of the Bogos, Abyssinia, inland from Massawa. He made an ethnological study of the Bogos, marrying a local widow and adopting her son. He joined a further expedition in 1860, to El Obeid and then Massawa via the Abyssinian plateau. During the 1860s he published a number of works on Abyssinian languages and geography. At the same time he was appointed French Vice-Consul to Abyssinia and the Sudan, and, in 1865, British Consul. In 1867 he undertook a trek across the salt desert towards the Abyssinian table land and re-discovered the River Ragolas. Meanwhile, as British Consul, he was able to aid the British in their Abyssinian campaign of 1868. Despite being wounded in an ambush in Bogo country in 1869, he accompanied a British expedition to Saudi Arabia the following year as well as mapping the northerly outliers of the Abyssinian plateau. In 1871 he was appointed Governor of Massawa by the Viceroy of Egypt, and Pasha in 1872. He resigned in 1875 when Egypt sent an expedition against Abyssinia, to which he was opposed, and was killed, with his wife, at the oasis of Aussa by Galla tribesmen.
Article by Sir Edward Peck on the life of Werner Münzinger, 1994.
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Münzinger | Werner | 1832-1875 | anthropologist explorer Pasha of Massawa
Ethiopia | History | 19th century
Ethiopia | Discovery and exploration