Emil Holub

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Emil Holub (7 October 1847, Holice – 21 February 1902, Vienna)

In 1872 he obtained a degree in medicine at Charles University in Prague. Inspired by the African diaries of David Livingstone, he set off for Cape Town and settled near Kimberley, where he opened a medical practice. After eight months he joined a convoy of local hunters on a two-month expedition where he began to assemble a large natural history collection.

In 1873 he went on a second scientific expedition and focused on the collection of ethnographic objects. On his third expedition in 1875, he undertook a journey to the Zambezi River and drew the first detailed map of the region around the Victoria Falls. He wrote and published the first book account of the Victoria Falls published in English in Grahamstown in 1879.

Many years later he returned to Prague where, however, he again planned a large African expedition. In 1883 Holub and his new wife, Růženou, and six guides set off on a journey during which they wanted to cross the African continent from south to north. But Holub’s team was forced to end the expedition early and return in 1886 because it was troubled by sickness and hostile Ila tribesmen.

Upon his return E. Holub staged two very successful exhibitions, in 1891 in Vienna and in 1892 in Prague.

Late Holub published many documents, contributed to newspapers and magazines and delivered hundreds of lectures. He died prematurely in Vienna on 21 February 1902.

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