Benjamin Anderson (adventurer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Benjamin Joseph Knight Anderson (1834[a]–1910) was a Liberian traveller, politician, and educator. He is known for having ventured into the then little known city of Musardu and published an account of it.

Early life[edit]

Benjamin Joseph Knight Anderson was born 1834 in Baltimore, Maryland, United States.[2] His father was named Israel, his mother Henrietta. In December 1851, when he was still a teenager, his family, except for his father, relocated to Liberia on board the Liberia-Packet.[3] Liberia was where he received his education.[2]


Anderson was a member of Liberia's original military unit. His highest rank was Colonel. From 1864 to 1866, he served as the Liberian Treasury's Comptroller and Secretary.[2] However, in 1879 he was deemed guilty of embezzling money from the treasury.[3] On February 14, 1868,[4] he embarked on a journey to Musardu, a city in what is now Burkina Faso in the western part of the Mandingo region;[2] this made him one of the very first people to explore that area.[4] He is written to have convinced the Liberian government to focus on and develop the area more, because lots of natural resources could be found there and it was strategic for trading.[3] After ending the exploration a year later, he went there again some time later.[2] His accounts of Musardu were published in Narrative of a journey to Musardu: the capital of the Western Mandingoes (1870), which was reprinted a decade and one year later.[5] In his later life, he stopped exploring and settled down as a mathematics teacher at an educational institution in Liberia.[6] He retired in "the late 1890s".[2]

Personal life and death[edit]

Anderson was married with one child, a son named Benjamin John Knight. According to one source, he died during the middle of December 1910,[2] while another states that he died on June 27, 1910.[3]


  1. ^ One source erroneously lists his year of birth as 1805.[1]


  1. ^ Stanley A. Davis (1953). This is Liberia: A Brief History of this Land of Contradictions, with Biographies of Its Founders and Builders. William-Frederick Press. pp. 99–. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Elwood D. Dunn; Amos J. Beyan; Carl Patrick Burrowes (20 December 2000). Historical Dictionary of Liberia. Scarecrow Press. pp. 20–21, 128–129. ISBN 978-1-4616-5931-0. 
  3. ^ a b c d History in Africa. African Studies Association. 2007. pp. 43–54. 
  4. ^ a b Hollis Ralph Lynch (1967). Edward Wilmot Blyden: Pan-Negro Patriot 1832–1912. Oxford U.P. pp. 48–. 
  5. ^ Lamin Sanneh (2001). Abolitionists Abroad: American Blacks and the Making of Modern West Africa. Harvard University Press. pp. 275–. ISBN 978-0-674-04307-7. 
  6. ^ Mark R. Lipschutz (1989). Dictionary of African Historical Biography. University of California Press. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-0-520-06611-3.