Paul Belloni Du Chaillu

Du Chaillu, Paul Belloni (pōl bĕlōnēˈ dü shāyüˈ) [key], c.1831–1903, French-American explorer in Africa. Born probably in Paris, he spent his youth on the west coast of Africa, where his father was a trader in Gabon. There he learned the native languages and became interested in exploring the interior. Arriving in the United States in 1852, he became a citizen and gained the support of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences for an expedition to explore Gabon. On his explorations (1855–59), he captured many rare birds and animals, some of them previously unknown to science. He brought back the first gorillas to be seen in America. His published account, Explorations in Equatorial Africa (1861), upset the previous ideas of the region's geography; Du Chaillu made a second expedition (1863–65) to prove the truth of his account. On this trip he visited many tribes hitherto unknown and verified previous reports of Pygmy people. His book, A Journey to Ashango-Land (1867), is an account of this expedition. His subsequent writings include Stories of the Gorilla Country (1867), Wild Life under the Equator (1868), My Apingi Kingdom (1870), and The Country of the Dwarfs (1871). He traveled in Scandinavia (1871–78) and published The Land of the Midnight Sun (1881) and The Viking Age (1889).

See biography by M. Vaucaire (tr. 1930).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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