Emin Pasha Relief Expedition

Administrative / Biographical History

The relief mission to aid Emin Pasha began in 1887. Emin Bey or Emin Pasha, born Edouard Schnitzer was the German-born Governor of southern Sudan's province of Equatoria, and a convert to Islam. He had been cut off from the outside world since the outbreak of a Muslim revolt six years earlier, in which the Sudanese revolted under the Mahdi against Egyptian rule. In 1886, various groups were considering action to rescue Emin Pasha. The British government was not prepared to fund the expedition, but was willing to `bless' a mission under private auspices. Thus, when Mackinnon came forward as the principal backer of an expedition to be headed by the African explorer, Henry Morton Stanley, the Foreign Office was supportive. Agreement was reached between Mackinnon and Lord Iddesleigh (Foreign Secretary) in November 1886. Mackinnon offered to raise £10,000 for the expedition, while the remaining costs were to be met by the Egyptian government. Mackinnon raised the money from his personal fortune and from contributions. Donors included P. Mackinnon, P. Denny, Baron & Baroness Burdett-Coutts, J. S. Jameson, Countess De Noailles, Gray, Dawes & Co., D. MacNeil, A. L. Bruce, James F. Hutton and the Royal Geographical Society. Stanley's plan for the rescue was follow a route along the Congo to reach the Emin Pasha, then headquartered on Lake Albert in what is now Uganda, from the west rather than approaching by the easier route, from the east. Stanley was commissioned by King Leopold II of Belgium to direct the development of the Congo Free State, and this route offered the advantage of exploring new territory. Stanley arrived at the mouth of the Congo River on 18 March 1887. The expedition divided into two groups, the advance and rear column. Stanley led the advance column up the Congo and Aruwimi River. Both the advance and rear columns suffered heavy losses due to disease and hunger. Stanley finally met up with Emin Pasha on 29 April 1888, only to discover that he did not feel in particular need of rescuing. After lengthy negotiations, Emin Pasha agreed to withdraw from Equatoria and accompany Stanley to Zanzibar. What little authority Emin Pasha held disintegrated when he informed his troops of his intention to withdraw, and a substantial number mutinied. They finally reached Zanzibar in December 1889. Emin Pasha entered the service of Germany in 1890, and died in 1892 on a mission to the interior.

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