René Caillié

René Caillié
René Caillié.jpg
Portrait by Amélie Legrand de Saint-Aubin
Born(1799-11-19)19 November 1799
Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon, Deux-Sèvres, France
Died17 May 1838(1838-05-17) (aged 38)
La Gripperie-Saint-Symphorien, Charente-Maritime, France
Cause of deathTuberculosis
Known forVisit to Timbuktu in 1828
Spouse(s)Caroline Têtu (m. 1830)
Postcard by Edmond Fortier showing the house where Caillié stayed in Timbuktu as it appeared in 1905–06

Auguste René Caillié[a] ([ʁə.ne]; 19 November 1799 – 17 May 1838)[3] was a French explorer and the first European to return alive from the town of Timbuktu.

Caillié was born in western France in a village near the port of Rochefort. His parents were poor and died while he was still young. At the age of 16 he left home and signed up as a member of the crew on a French naval vessel sailing to Saint-Louis on the coast of modern Senegal in western Africa. He stayed there for several months and then crossed the Atlantic to Guadeloupe on a merchantman. He made a second visit to West Africa two years later when he accompanied a British expedition across the Ferlo Desert to Bakel on the Senegal River.

Caillié returned to Saint-Louis in 1824 with a strong desire to become an explorer and visit Timbuktu. In order to avoid some of the difficulties experienced by the earlier expeditions, he planned to travel alone disguised as a Muslim. He persuaded the French governor in Saint-Louis to help finance a stay of 8 months with the nomadic people in the Brakna region of southern Mauritania where he learned Arabic and the customs of Islam. He failed to obtain further funding from either the French or the British governments, but encouraged by the prize of 10,000 francs offered by the Société de Géographie in Paris for the first person to return with a description of Timbuktu, he decided to fund the journey himself. He worked for a few months in the British colony of Sierra Leone to save some money, then travelled by ship to Boké on the Rio Nuñez in modern Guinea. From there in April 1827 he set off across West Africa. He arrived in Timbuktu a year later and stayed there for two weeks before heading across the Sahara Desert to Tangier in Morocco.

On his return to France, he was awarded the prize of 10,000 francs by the Société de Géographie and helped by the scholar Edme-François Jomard, published an account of his journey. In 1830 he was awarded the Gold Medal by the Société de Géographie.[4]

Caillié married and settled near his birthplace. He suffered from poor health and died of tuberculosis aged 39.

Early life

René Caillié was born on 19 November 1799 in Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon, a village in the department of Deux-Sèvres in western France.[5][b] His father, François Caillé, had worked as a baker but four months before René was born he was accused of petty theft and sentenced to 12 years of hard labour in a penal colony at Rochefort. He died there in 1808, at the age of 46. René's mother, Élizabeth née Lépine,[c] died three years later in 1811 at the age of 38. After her death, René and his 18-year-old sister, Céleste, were cared for by their maternal grandmother.[9]

Other Languages
العربية: رينيه كاييه
български: Рене Огюст Кайе
español: René Caillié
Esperanto: René Caillié
français: René Caillié
italiano: René Caillié
русский: Кайе, Рене
српски / srpski: Рене Каије
татарча/tatarça: Рене Калье
українська: Рене Огюст Кайє