Wild Life under the Equator

WILDLIFE-FRONTCOVER-OPBy Paul du Chaillu. The second classic study of African wildlife, culture, and native tribes as they existed in the mid-1800s, written by the first European explorer to confirm the existence of gorillas and African pygmies.

Following on from his sensation “Stories from the Gorilla Country,” adventurer Paul du Chaillu describes in vivid detail African life before the advent of European colonization, and the astonishing practices, culture and environment which existed at this time.

This work is particularly valuable as it shows, without prejudice or favor, Africa as it was, as seen by one of the first European explorers to set foot inside the interior of the Dark Continent. Read of the “costumes of some African kings” (consisting of old torn shirts obtained from passing European ships, or European shoes handed down for two generations like a holy relic), African witchcraft,  and much more.

This book is another eye-opening account of Africa in its natural state, and contains many sobering lessons applicable to the present-day—if the reader has the vision to see and understand their meaning.

This is a hand-restored and re-set edition, complete with original illustrations.


Preliminary Chapter

Chapter II Parrot Island.—How the Parrots Build their Nests.—Parrot Soup.

Chapter III An African Creek.—A Leopard among the Chickens.—A Night Watch for Leopards.

Chapter IV Hunting Elephants and Buffaloes.—A Venomous Serpent.—A Snake Charmer.—He is Bitten.—He Commits Suicide.

Chapter V At Court in Africa.—Costumes of the Court.—An African Household.—A False Alarm.

Chapter VI Hunt For Gorillas.—A Large One Shot.—The Negroes Make Charms Of His Brain.—Mourning in a Bakalai Town.

Chapter VII An African Fireside.—A Camp by the Seashore.—The First Gorilla Hunter.—Negro Blarney.

Chapter VIII Hippopotamus Hunting.—We Kill One.—The Men Eat It.—Poor Beef.—What The Tusks Are For.

Chapter IX A Great Gorilla.—We See a Ship.

Chapter X Death in an African Village.—Lamentations.—The Funeral Ceremonies.—An African Cemetery.

Chapter XI A Tornado.—Before the Storm.—Thunder and Lightning.—After the Storm.

Chapter XII A Creek Infested by Snakes.—Snake in the Boat.—An Ugly Visitor.

Chapter XIII Drinking the Mboundou.—How Olanga-Condo Could Do It.—How the Mboundou is Made.—The Effect of the Poison.

Chapter XIV A Royal Feast.—On the Banks of the Ovenga.—Preparations.—The Bill of Fare.—A Taste of Elephant And a Mouthful of Monkey.

Chapter XV The Terrible Bashikouay.—March of an Ant Army.—They Build Bridges.—They Enter Houses.—Their Habits.

Chapter XVI The Sorrows of the Birds.—Curious African Birds.—The Barbatula du Chaillu.—The Barbatula Fuliginosa.—The Sycorbius Nigerrimus.

Chapter XVII On the Ofoubou River.—Elephants Bathing.—Pursuit through the Swamp.—Escape of the Elephants.

Chapter XVIII Njali-Coudié.—An African Town.—The Chief.—Courtship and Marriage in Africa.—Buying a Wife.—Quarrel Over the Spoils.

Chapter XIX The Feast of Njambai.—The Talking Idol.—Secret Proceedings.—The Women and Their Mysteries.

Chapter XX Sick in a Strange Land.—Adventure with a Snare.—How a Squirrel Was Charmed.

Chapter XXI Witchcraft.—Accusation of Pendé.—Result of His Trial.

Chapter XXII Gorilla Hunting.—Preparations.—We Kill a Male Gorilla.—Bringing Him to Camp.

Chapter XXIII In the Buffalo Country.—The Paradise of Flies.—The Various Species.

Chapter XXIV Elephant Pits.—A Captive.—Dividing the Meat.—The Alethe Castanea.

Chapter XXV A Deserted Village.—Fear of Death.—Wars between Villages.—African Wild Boars.—The Hunt.

Chapter XXVI In The Wild Forest.—Hostile Tribes.—An Intrenched Camp.—Forays For Provisions.

Chapter XXVII We Discover Human Footprints.—We Spy Out The Enemy.—A Female Gorilla.—Maternal Fondness.

Chapter XXVIII How We Were Received at Camp.—Threatened With Starvation.—A Night in Camp.—Malaouen’s Story.

Paul du Chaillu (1831–1903) was the son of a French trader who was stationed on the West African coast. In 1855 he was sent by the Academy of Natural Sciences at Philadelphia to explore Africa because of his knowledge of the local languages and customs. In two expeditions into the interior, he observed numerous gorillas, brought back dead specimens, and also confirmed the existence of African pygmies, becoming the first European to observe them in real life. Du Chaillu sold his hunted gorillas to the Natural History Museum in London and his cannibal skulls to other European collections. Later he specialized in the pre-history of Scandinavia, and died while doing research in St Petersburg, Russia.

Paperback, 170 pages, 6″ x 9″, $9.95

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