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Born in Truro in 1804 with a strong ambition to travel, explorer Richard Lander, the son of an innkeeper had his first trip to Africa at the age of 19 when he visited the River Niger.

Five years later he went on a government expedition to discover the mouth of this river and with his brother he travelled hundreds of miles along the Niger in a small canoe.

He took two travelling medicine chests on this amazing journey, one of which is now on display at the Royal Cornwall Museum. Visitors can now examine the medicine chest, discover which medicines were most needed by this intrepid traveller, all whilst listening to excerpts from Lander's journal.

Tracing the course of the Niger opened up valuable trade links between West Africa and the rest of the world; trade links which still result in economic benefit today.

Ian Wall Director of Royal Cornwall Museum says: "Richard Lander left his mark on Africa when he named Truro Island in the Niger River. He also gave a hill on the river bank the name of Cornwall Mountain. He is one of county's best known sons and we are privileged to be able to tell his story and show his life-saving medicine chest to visitors."

For further PRESS information or interviews please contact Sophie Meyer DL 01872 245174, or


Lander was awarded the first gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1832, the year in which he published the account of his and his brother's Nigerian expedition. Soon after this they set out on a further exploration of the region. Sadly, Richard Lander died in Fernando Po, at the age of twenty nine.

Royal Cornwall Museum

The Royal Cornwall Museum (which also houses the Courtney Library: Cornish History Research Centre) is a wonderful place to find out about Cornwall, its history and its cultural heritage.

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7:54am | 20th October 2017