Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza

Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza
Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza by Paul Nadar.jpg
Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza photographed by Paul Nadar
Born(1852-01-26)January 26, 1852
Castel Gandolfo, Papal States
DiedSeptember 14, 1905(1905-09-14) (aged 53)
Dakar, Upper Senegal and Niger (French West Africa)
Cause of deathdysentery
NationalityItalian-born French
OccupationExplorer
Spouse(s)Thérèse de Chambrun
RelativesAdolphe de Chambrun (father-in-law)
Pierre de Chambrun (brother-in-law)
Charles de Chambrun (brother-in-law)
René de Chambrun (nephew)

Pietro Paolo Savorgnan di Brazzà, then known as Pierre Paul François Camille Savorgnan de Brazza (French pronunciation: ​[pjɛʁ savɔʁɲɑ̃ də bʁaza]; 26 January 1852 – 14 September 1905[1]), was an Italian explorer. With the backing of the Société de Géographie de Paris, he opened up for France entry along the right bank of the Congo that eventually led to French colonies in Central Africa. His easy manner and great physical charm, as well as his pacific approach among Africans, were his trademarks. Under French colonial rule, the capital of the Republic of the Congo was named Brazzaville after him and the name was retained by the post-colonial rulers.

Early years

Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, by Félix Nadar
Drawing of de Brazza (23 February 1895)

Born in Castel Gandolfo in the Papal States, near Rome, Pietro Savorgnan di Brazzà was the seventh son of Count Ascanio Savorgnan di Brazzà, a nobleman of Udine with many French connections, and his wife Giacinta Simonetti. Pietro was interested in exploration from an early age and won entry to the French naval school at Brest.[2] He graduated as an ensign and sailed on the French ship Jeanne d'Arc to Algeria, where he took part in the crushing of the Mokrani Revolt.[3]

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