Concept

Emil Holub

Summary
Emil Holub (7 October 1847 – 21 February 1902) was a Czech physician, explorer, cartographer, and ethnographer in Africa. Holub was born in Holice in eastern Bohemia (then within the Austrian Empire, now the Czech Republic), to the family of a municipal doctor. After studying at a German-language grammar school in Žatec (Saaz), he was admitted at Prague University where he obtained a degree as a doctor of medicine (1872). Inspired to visit Africa by the diaries of David Livingstone, Holub travelled to Cape Town, South Africa, shortly after graduation and eventually settled in Dutoitspan near Kimberley to practise medicine. After eight months, Holub set out in a convoy of local hunters on a two-month experimental expedition, or "scientific safari", where he began to assemble a large natural history collection. In 1873, Holub set out on his second scientific safari, devoting his attention to the collection of ethnographic material. On his third expedition in 1875, he ventured all the way to the Zambezi river and made the first detailed map of the region surrounding Victoria Falls. Holub also wrote and published the first book account of the Victoria Falls published in English in Grahamstown in 1879. After returning to Prague for several years, Holub made plans for a bold African expedition. In 1883, Holub, along with his new wife Rosa (1865–1958) and six European guides, set out to do what no one had done before: explore the entire length of Africa from Cape Town all the way to Egypt. However, the expedition was troubled by illness and the uncooperative Ila tribesmen and Holub's team was forced to turn back in 1886. Holub mounted two exhibitions, highly attended but ending up in financial loss, in 1891 in Vienna and in 1892 in Prague. Frustrated that he was unable to find a permanent home for his large collection of artefacts, he gradually sold or gave away parts of it to museums, scientific institutions and schools. Later Holub published a series of documents, contributing to papers and magazines, and delivering lectures.
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