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Slavic Explorers of Africa: Abuna Soliman

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A collection of poems describing the life of a Slovenian explorer and missionary in Africa Abuna Soliman / Ignacij Knoblehar was published shorty after his death 

8°, [1] lithographed portrait, 204 pp., [1] index, contemporary marbled boards with brown linen spine (slightly stained and with light foxing and water-staining in margins, title page with a repaired tear, old erased owner’s name on endpaper, sporadic old annotations, , binding slightly worn on edges, binding slightly rubbed).

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A collection of poems on the Slovenian missionary and explorer of the White Nile Basin Ignacij Knoblehar (Ignatius Knoblecher, 1819-1858), known by his nickname Abuna Soliman, was written by a 25 year old student of classical philology in Vienna Anton Umek – Okiški  (1838-1871), who later became a known author and poet.  .

Born in the Slovenia, which was in the 19th century a part of Austria, he was working and publishing mostly in Carinthia, where he died at the age of 33. Umek dedicated most of his poems to the expolrer Ignacij Knoblehar, who was born in a village close to his.

Umek’s collection of somehow overdramatic and romantic poems on 170 pages, describing the life of Abuna Soliman, who died only five years before, is his most famous work.

 

Ignacij Knoblehar – Abuna Soliman

Ignacij Knoblehar (Ignatius Knoblecher, 1819-1858), known by his nickname Abuna Soliman (Father Solomon) was a missionary in Africa and one of the first explorers of the White Nile Basin.
Ignacij Knoblehar was born in a village Škocjan in south Austrian region, in what is today Slovenia, and after studies of languages, natural science and theology in Ljubljana and Rome, travelled to Sudan as a  missionary to the Vicariate Apostolic of Sudan, which was established the same year, in 1846.  At the end of 1947 Knoblehar left Cairo in company of the Pro-Vicar Apostolic of Central Africa, and four other missionaries, and arrived at Khartoum, Sudan, in February 1848. There they established a school for young Africans whom they had purchased at the slave-market. Through these boys Knoblehar learned the language and they accompanied him on his later missions.

In the fall of 1849, Knoblecher made an expedition into the interior of Africa by the White Nile (Bahr-elAbiad) and was the first white person to penetrate in the land of the Bari people, as far as 4° 10  N.

In 1850, Ignacij Knoblehar travelled back to Austria to gather more missionaries and funds. When he returned to Africa two years later, Knoblecher founded a mission among the Bari tribe at Gondokoro, and in 1854 another among the Dinka or Jangeh people at Angweyn.

Knoblehar died suddenly at the age of 39, after returning to Rome. He left an enormous documentation on his travels, prepared dictionary of Bari language, and a vast ethnographical and ornithological collection, today kept in museums in Vienna and Ljubljana.

Worldcat does not list any examples outside Slovenian libraries.

References: OCLC 438984632. Ehrlich, L., Bohinec, V.: Knoblehar, Ignacij (1819–1858). Slovenska biografija. Slovenska akademija znanosti in umetnosti, Znanstvenoraziskovalni center SAZU, 2013. (4. november 2017).  Slovenski bijografski leksikon: 3. zv. Hintner – Kocen. Izidor Cankar et al. Ljubljana, Zadruzna gospodarska banka, 1928; Koblar, France: Umek, Anton (1838–1871). Slovenska biografija. Slovenska akademija znanosti in umetnosti, Znanstvenoraziskovalni center SAZU, 2013. (4. november 2017). Slovenski biografski leksikon: 13. zv. Trubar – Vodaine.Alfonz Gspan, Joze Munda in Fran Petrè Ljubljana, Slovenska akademija znanosti in umetnosti, 1982.

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