Richard Lemon Lander
Portrait by William Brockedon
|Born||Richard Lemon Lander
8 February 1804
6 February 1834
Cause of death
|Injuries from a musket ball wound|
Lander was the son of a Truro innkeeper, born in the Fighting Cocks Inn (later the Dolphin Inn). Lander's explorations began as an assistant to the Scottish explorer Hugh Clapperton on an expedition to Western Africa in 1825. Clapperton died in April 1827 near Sokoto, in present-day Nigeria, leaving Lander as the only surviving European member of the expedition. He proceeded southeast before returning to Britain in July 1828.
Lander returned to West Africa in 1830, accompanied by his brother John. They landed at Badagri on 22 March 1830 and followed the lower River Niger from Bussa to the sea. After exploring about 160 kilometres of the River Niger upstream, they returned to explore the River Benue and Niger Delta. They travelled back to Britain in 1831.
In 1832, Lander returned to Africa as leader of an expedition organised by Macgregor Laird and other Liverpudlian merchants, with the intention of founding a trading settlement at the junction of the Niger and Benue rivers. However, the expedition encountered difficulties, many personnel died from fever and it failed to reach Bussa. While journeying upstream in a canoe, Lander was attacked by African tribesmen and wounded by a musket ball in his thigh. He managed to return to the coast, but died there from his injuries.
In Truro, a monument to his memory by Cornish sculptor Neville Northey Burnard stands at the top of Lemon Street and one of the local secondary schools is named in his honour. The building of the column commenced in 1835. In 1832 he became the first winner of the Royal Geographical Society Founder's Medal, "for important services in determining the course and termination of the Niger".
To mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Lander and celebrate the Lander brothers’ remarkable achievements an 'Expedition of Goodwill' was sent in November 2004 to retrace their historic river journey.
- 1829 : Journal of Richard Lander from Kano to the Sea Coast
- 1832 : Journal of an Expedition to Explore the Course and Termination of the Niger, reprinted by Elibron Classics [mid-1990s?]
- "Lander Monument". West Briton. 27 May 1836. Retrieved 28 December 2012.