Walter Oudney

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Walter Oudney (1790 – 12 January 1824) was a Scottish physician and African explorer.

In 1817 he received his medical doctorate at Edinburgh.[1]

In 1819 he became a member of the Wernerian Natural History Society alongside his friend and colleague James Robinson Scott.[2]

A few years afterwards he was appointed by the British government as consul for promotion of trade to the Kingdom of Bornu in sub-Saharan Africa. In early 1822 he departed from Tripoli with explorers Dixon Denham (1786–1828) and Hugh Clapperton (1788–1827), reaching Bornu in February 1823, and thus becoming the first Europeans to accomplish a north-south crossing of the Sahara Desert.

Stricken by illness, Oudney died on 12 January 1824 in the village of Murmur, located near the town of Katagum.[3] On the journey he collected regional plants, and after his death Scottish botanist Robert Brown (1773–1858) named the botanical genus Oudneya from the family Brassicaceae in his honor.

In 1826 the two-volume "Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa in the years 1822, 1823, and 1824" was published, describing the African exploits of Oudney, Denham and Clapperton.[4]


  1. ^  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1895). "Oudney, Walter". Dictionary of National Biography. 42. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 354. 
  2. ^ Memoirs of the Wernerian Natural History Society, vol 3, p.539
  3. ^ "Oudney, Dr, Walter". The Annual Biography and Obituary for the Year 1825. vol. 9. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green. 1825. pp. 446–447. 
  4. ^ Denham, Dixon; Clapperton, Hugh; Oudney, Walter (1926). Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa: In the Years 1822, 1823, and 1824 (2 volumes). London: John Murray.  Scans: Volume 1, Volume 2
  5. ^ IPNI.  Oudney.