A rare first edition of a text on the exploration of the White Nile by Ignacij Knoblehar was published in German language in Ljubljana, today Slovenia. The author of the introduction was Vinzenz Ferrer Klun (Vincenz Ferrerius Klun), a Ljubljana-born editor, historian and geographer, who later worked in Vienna.
A Slovenian translation was published later in the same year.
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.
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-el-Abiad) 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.
The pamphlet is very rare. We could find four examples in Slovenian libraries and two abroad (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Haus Potsdamer Straße, Afriterra Library ).
References: OCLC 249850738. 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; ÖBL 1815-1950, Bd. 3 (Lfg. 15, 1965), S. 425.
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